Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Says TSA Doesn’t Make Travel Safer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS/AP) — A Tennessee pilot who says he’s tired of being manhandled by security agents is waiting to see if he will lose his job because he refused a full body scan.

ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says he also refused a pat-down and went home.

The 35-year-old Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be “harassed or molested without cause.”

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen says a person was turned away after refusing to follow federal security procedures but declined to say if it was Roberts, citing privacy considerations.

Roberts says he has safety concerns, but called TSA a “make-work” program that doesn’t make travel safer.

“I just kind of had to ask myself ‘Where do I stand?’ I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal security agent every time I go to work,” he told the Commercial Appeal.

Earlier this week, CBSNewYork reported that full-body scanners have not yet been installed at New York City area airports, despite plans that were in place to have them installed at Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia airports by September.

The Transportation Security Administration told The Star-Ledger of Newark the installation is complex and the scanners would arrive “in the coming weeks.”

Passengers who prefer not to be scanned can choose to be patted down and pass through a metal detector.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney with Rep. Bill Site Pascrell

TSA spokesman Ann Davis says passengers are no less safe. She says the scanners are designed to be faster and less physically intrusive than metal detectors and pat-downs.

The TSA has installed 259 scanners at 59 airports nationwide.


One Comment


    I am pointing.




    …………………..BUILDING SEVEN__

    I am pointing,
    am saying look.
    I am saying try to wake up, and think.
    and you “notamuslim210” CRITICIZE ME FOR POINTING AT THE FACTS.

  2. EMBRAER_F0 says:

    The Transportation “Security” Administration is simply an ineffective organization created by our government to compensate low skill-workers with salaries that far exceed the level of service they provide. As an Airline Pilot, I am always frustrated as I enter the security line and view the utter lack of professionalism demonstrated by these workers that often have at most a GED education. To make matters worse, after having spent tens of thousands of dollars on my college education and flight school, I am paid less than TSA agents. I can understand how this First Officer finally couldn’t take it anymore.

  3. LibertyWatchdog says:

    Not really a solution, but it might me amusing to submit to a “grope”-down, and then start moaning and groaning, “Oh yeah”, “That’s the spot”, etc.

  4. justmy2cents says:

    Here’s why they might need to scan a pilot for a weapon. Say he is not one of those authorized to carry a firearm and he brings his own person firearm for protection. If the plane goes down due to an accident, and they find a firearm in the wreckage, they have a diagnostic problem as to the cause of the crash. Also, A firearm can be lost or stolen once onboard and so the TSA needs to account for every firearm on board. Just my 2 cents.

    1. LibertyWatchdog says:

      “Say he is not one of those authorized to carry a firearm…” Solution? Allow all pilots to carry firearms DUH. 9/11 would have never happened with such a common sense solution.

      1. justmy2cents says:

        I’m all for that.

  5. Louie says:

    Pilots are already exposed to enough radiation cruising around 6 miles above the surface of earth for hours a day 4 or 5 days a week. I would not want to get zapped by these machines every day on top of that. The government is out of line taking naked pictures of the flying public. What becomes of these images? Do they all get saved and who all gets to see them?

  6. Marlin Spike says:

    This is beyond stupid. A pilot could go through security NAKED and still has the capability to destroy the aircraft and anything he wanted to prang it into. He has the flight controls in his hands and is behind a locked door. Gasp! Better get rid of the pilots! Pilots don’t need a weapon, they are paid to operate one. Pilots through security is beyond useless, just gets ’em upset. Who wants to fly with an upset pilot?

    1. Spuddy says:

      Are you serious? How much time have you spent thinking about this? Not much, I hope. You do realize that a pilot or airline employee could carry a weapon into the secured area and then hand it to someone else, right? Seeing that you’ve figured out how to operate a computer, you’re minimally smart enough to have figured this out yourself: Everyone must be screened.

  7. Larry Croft says:


  8. Warren says:

    TSA =
    1) Thousands Standing Around
    2) Taking Scissors Away
    3) Trying to Stay Awake
    4) Touching Sensitive Areas

    Mostly losers who have given power they should not have.
    “Papers Please”

  9. Burnet1187 says:

    Darn right! Take a look at any group of TSA agents at any airport. Most are minorities, and they are many times jiving and carrying on with each other. Like the post office, these “workers” are entitlement recipients. And of course they will harrass white, authoritative travelers.

    Fire the bums. Hire agents based on their experience, education, and abilities. Stop screening grannies and pilots, and start taking close looks at muslims. After all, the ones who are trying to kill us are ALL muslims, so it makes sense to screen for muslims.

    Otherwise we are idiots.

  10. Duh says:

    wkenddad, Does the copilot get a weapon to stop the pilot? What if the pilot is bigger than the copilot?

  11. Roberto says:

    You can put a quadraplegic on a wheelchair like hawkins and still be scrutinized…is riduculous.

  12. desertpro says:


  13. Max says:

    He will loose his job if he continues to refuse because the Marxists have all power now and no one will ever be free in terms of freedom of conscience or association anymore in any of these Marxist or Islamic nations, as all must submit and obey the authority elites or will be punished.

  14. Federal Reserve says:

    JEWS DID 9/11 .

  15. USA gets what they choose says:

    America is cursed and you all get what you deserve for letting your country be slowly taken over by the Marxists in the last few decades and their deviant agendas. You all get what you deserve so don’t be surprised now that none of you have any power to change anything anymore and now you are just another slave the the UN Marxist agendas and propaganda.

  16. Duh says:

    Patrick said it all. End of subject!!!

  17. Rose Santos says:

    TSA = Totally Sucks Agency

  18. chuck says:

    Yeah, and the ones you say are laughing are dying in bomb explosions every day. And no, we don’t “look like complete bozos to the rest of the world”. Your insecurities are showing. I live and work in Afghanistan and, believe me, they don’t laugh at us.

    1. Mike says:

      Maybe they are not laughing at us in Afghanistan, or other war torn regions, but in the rest of the Western world they are laughing at us.

      “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. B. Franklin

    2. John Conner says:

      What do you do? process or ship the opium/heroin???

    3. Brian says:

      Really Chuck? Where do these explosions occur “every day” because people in the rest of the world don’t take their shoes off to get on airplanes?

    4. Tommy says:

      you live and work in a war zone… of course it’s different. I travel throughout East Asia (and they’re not dieing in bomb explosions in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, etc.) and the ONLY time I have to go through taking my shoes off or having my bags searched is when I’m flying BACK to the USA. And frankly, they do a half-a$$ed job at it so it really isn’t helping. I hate traveling in the USA now as the TSA agents are, for the most part, asinine minimum wage earners that are employed for the sake of being employed and not much more.

    5. Bill says:

      Oh, the pain! You work in Afgan.. good for you. I’m a cop and I will tell you that TSA is a joke. Hell, the shop/food service workers at DFW (mostly foreign) walk though a door that goes around security and are NEVER checked. So feel safe and keep flying.

      1. Spuddy says:

        Bill, I dare you to provide your real name. I guarantee you’ll be outed as a liar or will end up in jail for a long time. You will know who I am immediately. Do you have the balls?

    6. MDog says:

      funny guy Chuck… Great example.. Afganistan. We are bozos.. and we aren’t any more safe with/without these TSA, Ex-McDonald’s employees patting our arses and asking us with our electronic devices do.

    7. Smith says:

      Funny…I don’t remember hearing of any explosions in Canada. I might as well be from Mars, from the looks that I get, when I forget and remove my shoes there. TSA is staffed by an astounding number of power-drunk idiots, who know that, barring a criminal act on their parts, they are on the government payroll, for the rest of their lives, no matter how inept they are.
      Also, your Aghani neighbors know that all they have to is wait and stir up just enough trouble, and eventually we’ll get tired of being there, just like every other invader for the past couple of thousand years, and we’ll leave, just like every other invader. They’re laughing at you (us). They’re just not doing it to your face. To pretend otherwise is just foolishness.

    8. Andrew says:

      This is a ridiculous thing to say. As a survivor of 9/11, I find it incredibly insulting that our individual rights have been violated all in the name of “safety.” I bet you not one single person who crafted the idea of installing full-body scanners was even remotely close to the World Trade Center that dreadful Tuesday morning.

      And no, you moron, the ones laughing are NOT “dying in bomb explosions every day.” Terrorism can only be stopped by taking out credible threats – not by making random, innocent citizens into potential suspects. Having recently been through Europe and taken several inter-EU airplane flights, I was so relieved and stunned by the safe, efficient, and calm means by which Europeans have the luxury of flying each and every day. The United States, like usual, has displayed an enormous amount of incompetence in handling the true nature of the problems it faces. I feel so sad for not just my country, but all the helpless people who also call it home.

    9. chuck says:

      oh, are you over there shooting women and children for israel?

    10. benth164 says:

      Hey Chuck, you live and work in a WAR ZONE. Of course they don’t laugh at us. “Dude” was implying, THE REST OF THE WORLD…..

  19. TSAisaJOKE says:

    Being married to a pilot, who has to go through security in outstations, I find it incredulous that flight crews, who are FLYING THE FRICKING AIRPLANE, are subjected to searches and disrobing after presenting valid ID and SIDA badges. I mean seriously, I know the TSA is a government jobs program, but for crying out loud, give the flight crews a break. I don’t mind as a passenger being screened and frisked, but pilots and flight attendants don’t need to be frisked, wanded and have their luggage rifled through if they are flying the next leg. GET OVER IT TSA and START PROFILING! And while I’m on my rant, I don’t see the need for children and grandmas to be frisked either. Sheesh.

    1. Chris says:

      It is that attitude why the terrorist would use children and grandma’s. The terrorists know that our culture frowns upon searching the elderly or young and counts on your attitude to defeat the security systems. Just recently a elderly female came across the mexico borderswith over ten kilos of drugs tapped to around her body. What they can do with drugs you can do with explosives and a lot less.

  20. Oremus says:

    Drug mule

  21. CaptainSFO says:

    This young pilot has more brains and courage than most everybody flying on an airliner today. I quit my job as a Senior Wide Body Captain at American Airlines, primarily due to complicit airline management, conforming travel industry, and wimpy Pilot representatives, allowing non-citizen wierdos to rifle through the luggage of American citizens and Flight Crews.I will never fly on an airliner again. I wish America would follow until we properly identify the purpose and mission that is what we call security. This current process is absolutely ridiculous. I commend this young man for bringing the story back to the front page.

  22. SallyHutchinson says:

    I went through a full body scanner once. I never wanted to do it but it was early and before I knew which line I was in I was standing in the damn thing with my hands over my head.
    Immediately after I was zapped I became flustered and didn’t know which direction to proceed to to gather my things.
    Then I started shaking as if something was very wrong. I got that instinctual gut feeling that something was VERY wrong and I sat down and started to cry. During this time I developed a horrible headache and felt as if I had become instantly medicated.
    I few moments after that I went to the ladies room and threw up.
    I work for an airline and I have never experienced something like this.
    It took about 3 hours until I felt “normal” again and stopped jittering.

    I have never physically felt more violated in my entire life. The full body scanner is horrible for your energy fields and health. I don’t care what anyone says, I know what I experienced.


    1. SallyHutchinson says:

      And no I was not pregnant.

    2. justmy2cents says:

      You sound like a complete hypochondriac nut -job. Energy fields?! Did they frisk your aura?

  23. wkenddad says:

    Some of the 9/11 hijackers were pilots.
    What’s to stop a extremist form becoming a pilot?
    If he tried to deviate from the flight plan the co-pilot could intervene, unless the unscreened pilot had a weapon.

  24. Sam says:

    Every time some threat occurs in the US our Uncle Sam responds with a SOCIAL SERVICE hiring windfall. More of the LEAST of us gets to administer to the best of us and join public unions to steal all they can. Hope and CHANGE and spread the wealth. I’ve been to some small-town airports where 20 TSA agents stand about as 7 people go through to get on a commuter flight. Sell them safety and freedom goes out the window and marginally skilled people cash in. Sad evolution.

  25. Sitinandgrinin says:

    Uh, Patrick, I believe that the planes that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were flown by, yes, pilots. If you’re trying to eliminate as much possible risk as possible, you can’t exclude a pilot who has been brainwashed into dying for his cause. Who would have thought that a U.S. Army officer would shoot up Fort Hood?

    1. Jacko says:

      Actually Patrick makes a great point. The pilot is FLYING the plane. If he wants to do something, he doesn’t need a concealed nail file to do it. So there’s no real point in putting a pilot through a security check.

    2. Brooks says:

      hmm……now let me see , what did the “pilots” as you called them and the shooter at Fort Hood have in common…

    3. Dan says:

      They weren’t airline pilots, they ony had pilot training and were passengers on those flights. Pilots have extensive security checks. If a metal detector isn’t good enough, then they better do something about the thousands of them out there at airports around the world.

    4. wes says:

      The planes were taken over by terrorists, not pilots. Patting down, scanning, or cavity searching pilots wouldnt have prevented that. Patricks point was that the pilot can simply crash the plane, so why scan them for weapons. Thats the point for which you failed to respond.

    5. Captain Incredulous says:

      They weren’t pilots employed by the airline. Most only had ground flight training and very little time outside of simulators. Again,and to Patrick’s point, our pilots can choose to be armed and all that is needed is to verify their identity and work schedule.

      And as for the Ft. Hood shooter….there were so many red flags with that dude that were simply ignored in the name of being PC.

    6. chuck3 says:

      Who would have thought that a U.S. Army officer would shoot up Fort Hood? Ummmm, all the Army Officers and Doctors who worked with him and advised their superiors about his questionable behavior and were BLOWN OFF DUE TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

    7. DoD says:

      Who would’ve thought that about the Army Officer? A lot of people who reported his behavior and their reports were ignored….

      And how on earth does a body scanner or pat-down screen someone for ideology? Pilots would not have weapons or bombs strapped on–they’re flying the stinkin’ plane!

    8. jon says:

      Uh, Stinandgrinin, I believe the pilots thay flew into the World Trade Center were NOT employed by any airlines, but pilots. The article is about active, EMPLOYED airline pilots.

    9. Duguider says:

      Uh, Sitinandgrinin, those said “pilots” were passengers who had pilot training, not the pilots of the flight. If a pilot is “brainwashed” he is going to put the plane into a nose dive while screaming “Allah Ackbar!” There is no pat-down techniques or body scans that can detect that kind of evil. Screen them and exclude them.

    10. MDB says:


      If you do your research you’d discover that what you believe happened is a complete fabrication. Both at the WTC and Fort Hood.

      1. SLIDINGINTOIT says:

        NO. THATS A LIE.


        BUILDING 7, IS A FACT.





        1. SLIDINGINTOIT says:

          MNB, EXCUSE ME MNB.


          MY BAD.

        2. Zonie says:

          Infowars is not a credible site. That said, building 7 is very troublesome to anyone who bothers to go slightly deeper than simply accepting what they are spoonfed. Just don’t kid yourself. Alex Jones is no different than the people he rips on…..

    11. Drano says:

      They were not pilots – hey were muslim terrorists trained only enough to get in the air and hit the buildings.
      As for Hasan, the radical muslim who murdered the American soldiers in Texas, almost anyone familiar with his rantings against the west and America would have believed he was a threat but the military was too PC to investigate what was known and deal with him.

  26. Jack says:

    I too applaud this pilot. TSA is bunch of “make-work”, low class, opportunistic thieves with authority. I do not state this lightly, I have had my personal property stolen by TSA imps in the past. A word to the wise: Always carry anything of value on board and watch it like a hawk when in TSA control. I do not put any trust, nor do I feel any more secure knowing TSA is on the job.

  27. shawn says:

    contact express jet and tell them Michael Roberts is a hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 832-353-1000

  28. walter12 says:

    If the nation would do a little, serious, and educated profiling, that is all that is required and needed. Patting down little old ladies from Iowa is silly and a waste of time. The Leftists in our country have created this political correctness madness which is completely without any common sense. All of the aircraft and airline terror attacks of the last 25 years have been implemented by Muslim men.

  29. shawn says:

    If you support Michael call Express Jet and tell them he is a hero and you want to fly with them as long as they hire pilots like him.

  30. snuffy says:

    knucklehead. all the pilot has to do is crash the plane.

  31. notamuslim210 says:

    I guess I won’t let you have the last word after all. The facts that you so carefully cherrypick from your conspiracy theory nutjob website infowars have been distrorted so far out of whack as to be unrecognizable to those that made the original statements. Try to read something beyond the one site and perhaps you will see the actual physics say it happened as reported and for the reasons reported. But you won’t believe that because it suites you to rage on about the conspiracy that is your only joy in life. OK now you can tell me how I’m a stooge and uninformed etc.

  32. notamuslim210 says:

    I guess I won’t let you have the last word after all. The facts that you so carefully cherrypick from your conspiracy theory nutjob website infowars have been distrorted so far out of whack as to be unrecognizable to those that made the original statements. Try to read something beyond the one site and perhaps you will see the actual phisics say it happened as reported and for the reasons reported. But you won’t believe that because it suites you to rage on about the conspiracy that is your only joy in life. OK now you can tell me how I’m a stooge and uninformed etc.

  33. Mike V says:

    The pilot gets a pat down for free. Passengers, on the other hand, pay for this invassion. Until something better comes along, like the device that blows up explosives on a person in a sealed booth, this is how it is going to be.

    1. mike says:

      Are you saying pilots don’t pay taxes?

  34. ScottyG. says:

    Paid to fondle? True, but you forgot the best perk-paid to steal. Stuff is always missing from my bags-I now do a photo inventory before packing! Give them the right to open every bag, and they think it’s license to steal.

    1. Mark says:

      You need to travel with a firearm. Get a BIG hardcase for your checked luggage, declare the firearm stick it in that case, LOCK it up wth NON TSA locks. Now only YOU can open the case and TSA can’t inspect it without you being present because of the firearm.

    2. JB says:

      ScottyG.. you are right on. A friend mine was just pilfered his laptop from his checked bag. A “courtesy” TSA post card was left in its place! Can you believe that?!

  35. Captain Steve says:

    TSA is a joke. Proof? The 4 oz. liquid rule. Does anybody think that if you need 12 oz. to make a bomb the terrorists aren’t smart enough to use 3 or 4 smaller bottles and combine them after they go through screening?

    The one thing they could do that would work is profiling. They refuse. It’s easier to harass pilots.

  36. Scotty G. says:

    Aren’t Pilots allowed to carry guns now (after training, background check,etc)? So, what’s the point of scanning them? Check ID-verify they are indeed the pilot,etc. scheduled to work that flight,and let them go to work! I personally don’t want a full body scan even once a year due to radiation levels (despite what they say, never trust the government when they say it’s safe-their track record stands for itself!)

    1. Max Entropy says:

      if you’re going to worry about radiation, researech how much radiation you get on a 5 hour flight at 30,000 ft. You won’t worry about full body scanners as much.

  37. notamuslim210 says:

    Either way you may have the last words. I am done with this.

  38. rich says:

    TSA is a joke!

    BRAVO to this pilot!
    Finally someone with some sense

    We support him in multiples……BRAVO!

  39. HATE TSA says:

    I’m so tired of being molested with ‘the back of someone’s hand’. I absolutely hate flying in the USA. It might be ok if it actually made us safer but it doesn’t. I’d love to fly wearing just a trench coat–why not show the security for what it really is?

  40. james says:

    2 1 0 – Easy on the kickback jokes . All of this survallance isn’t for the cave men . Its for the americans as the banks rob us. Is that so hard to get . PEACE OUT.

  41. Lana says:

    Bravo for this pilot. Flying has become such a hassle,and now they are x-raying us and humiliating us. If asked to go through full body scanner I would refuse too.

  42. james says:

    2 1 0 EASY ON THE KICKBACK JOKES . All of the survallance is for americans as the banks rob us . Is that so hard to get. peace.

  43. Bob says:

    This is type of pilot I want piloting my plane. Someone who can think and act for themselves rather than blindly following a checklist. The whole thing is absurd as I thought we all learned that the biggest weapon is the aircraft itself. If the pilot smuggles on board his big weapon a teenier tinier weapon .. who cares?!?

  44. jef says:

    And the rag head terrorists are treated with belly rubs and warm milk by Eric Holder and Hussein. This has got to stop, it’s time for a revolution!!!!

  45. Chestr says:

    “faster and less physically intrusive than metal detectors and pat-downs” is a lie. My home airport has one installed in its one-and-only security line and it slows things way down. To add insult, most people who pass through it STILL get a pat down. I opt out every time and I get through security faster. This whole thing is nothing but a lie and a scam and as a frequent flyer I agree with the pilot 100%.

  46. TJ says:

    Oh Please! Patrick was speaking specifically of pilots who,by the nature of their job you genius, already have the plane in their hands! You must be a government employee with your ‘logic’, a fool w/ no understanding how to rationally reason or think. No one said they shouldn’t be “checked” – just that they should not have to be submitted to the mindless & demeaning entry point security screening. Pilots have thorough background checks and should be randomly updated. No one uses common sense anymore – that was the point.

  47. robert says:

    The pilot is right. If you pay attention to the policies of TSA you will realize they do little to make you safe and are more a mechanism to invade individual privacy.

    From the perspective of 911 that started all of this. Box cutters already on the plane. How does any TSA policy stop that? The underwear bomber that brought us full body scanners. Caused by unenforced immigration policy and lax security in another country. How does a full body scanner in the US stop that? I do not mind a basic security scan, but the mission creep and continuous unnecessary policies are based on threats TSA policy wouldn’t have stopped anyway. Remember when you could only be searched if you were suspected of a crime and going to be arrested?

  48. Dan says:

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    But what did he know! We’re from the 21st century and so much smarter now. I guess some lessons are better learned first hand.

  49. notamuslim210 says:

    to: James – P.S. your caps lock is stuck in ALL CAPS (most people see that as screaming when used to post online) So why would you be screaming here?

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