Politics

"Don't Touch My Junk" Flier Unlikely to Face Fine

Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole doubts the "don't touch my junk" traveler, John Tyner, will face the $10,000 fine allowed by law.

"I don't anticipate anything coming from that," Pistole said.

Tyner secretly recorded his TSA pat down experience on a cell phone camera and has become one of the voices in a chorus of angry Americans protesting the new security procedures in place at the nation's airports.

And if you're traveling soon, consider yourself forewarned: Even the man in charge of the TSA's aggressive new procedure says he was "uncomfortable" the first time he received a pat down.

"It is clearly more invasive," Pistole admitted to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee Wednesday. He insisted that he receive a pat down before deploying it as a security technique nationwide.

But that doesn't mean the public outcry over the pat downs and scanners is going to lead to a scaling back of the tactic.

The TSA has deployed 385 "advanced imaging technology" scanners at 70 of the nation's largest airports. Another 100 are expected to be installed by the end of the year and 500 more (1,000 total across the country) by the end of 2011 as the TSA ramps up its focus on the latest technology.

Promising to provide for the "best possible security" while balancing travelers' privacy, Pistole made no apologies for the stepped up screening measures.

Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) wondered about the effectiveness of behavioral evaluation programs already in use at some airports. "The focus has to be on safety," LeMieux said, "but there has to be a balance. What can we do?"

Pistole reported "some good findings" when it comes to behavior detection.