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Pilots to Win Exemption From Full-Body Scans, Junk-Touching

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With Americans growing increasingly creeped out by the new X-ray nudie-picture machines and extra-intrusive alternative pat-downs that are sweeping U.S. airports, it looks like the Transportation Security Administration is ready to cave on one point: Pilots will soon win exemption from the intrusive measures.

According to Bloomberg, TSA and airline officials will meet today to discuss hurrying implementation of a program called CrewPASS, which would allow pilots who’ve passed a background check to bypass the scanners.

It seems no one at TSA had a response to aviators’ oft-cited objection to the logic of screening them: If they really wanted to bring down the plane, they wouldn’t need a weapon — they’ve got the controls. Plus, recently retired folk hero Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger has been piping up on behalf of pilots who want out of screenings, and who wants to argue with that guy?

Still, passengers shouldn’t start getting any ideas about the TSA going soft. Remember John Tyner, the “don’t touch my junk” guy, who blogged a cell-phone video of his argument with airport security after refusing the groin pat-down over the weekend? Well, TSA officials in San Diego announced yesterday he’s now under investigation for “leaving the security area without permission.”

And that $10,000 fine an airport official could be heard threatening in his video? That was no empty threat — it was a lowball figure, said Michael Aguilar, San Diego TSA chief. Tyner is actually facing a $11,000 civil penalty.

“That’s the old fine,” Aguilar said. “It has been increased.”
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