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.

Comments (586)
  1. Phil says:

    Well done, sir. Don’t let the terrorists win. We’ve wasted countless dollars and time doing stuff that doesn’t make us an ounce safer. Time to stand up to idiotic policies. Hopefully more people will follow.

  2. rbcintexas says:

    They have no problem basically strip searching each one of us yet refuse to profile terrorists for who they are. I am sick and tired of people trying to make profiling a evil term when a lot of our problems would be eliminated by profiling but our Government wants to sue states that are trying to protect their citizens by asking residence of people only after probable cause has been established. It is a freaking shame that our government has given more rights and protection to terrorists and illegal aliens that what we have a citizens. And they wonder why US citizens are so mad.

  3. Joe Public says:

    This is a product of Liberals taking over with political correctness. They can’t imagine why political correctness is cauing all of these stupid wierdo issues. In fact they like it. Why? Because they moronically turn around and blame the conservatives for all of it. Just listen to Obama. It’s all the Republican’s fault, eh? Ok Obama. Whatever you say, man. Cause you so smart. Well, I can tell you that I don’t need to fly anywhere that bad. And so the Liberals with their stupid political correctness are destroying one industry after another. Yup. I guess that fits into their Big Plan, somehow. I wonder what that Big Plan actually is… I just can’t guess… uh huh.

  4. Zenman says:

    Lawl !1!1!

  5. frequent flyer says:

    This man has DONE what most people in the aviation industry THINK about doing. In the airline industry, the TSA is viewed as yet another government joke–the common reference is: “Do you know what TSA stands for? THOUSANDS STANDING AROUND!”

    Take a tip from the Israelis–trained security people do a non-invasive interview with passengers. They are courteous and thorough–and EL AL has one of the best safety records.

  6. FedUp389 says:

    neither safe nor secure

  7. Zedek says:

    I decided long ago to quit flying. It’s time passengers and pilots together said, “We’re not putting up with this invasive personal overreach.” If I have a choice, I will not fly. If we all did this, the system would correct itself.

  8. Joe says:

    I hate the government.

    1. TJ says:

      I love my country; it’s the government I don’t trust.

  9. Gate Matthews says:

    So TSA figures that the pilot might slip by with a box cutter? LOL. Haven’t they figured it out the the pilot doesn’t need a weapon to slam the plane into a building anytime he chooses to do so. TSA is a work project for the unemployable, and for those with low self-esteem.

  10. Susan says:

    We no longer fly to our destinations and most family members have also given up flying. It’s not worth the expense, rude TSA employee who are lazy (i.e. the 3 TSA Agents standing right there watching me forget me cellphone in a bowl. They stand mute like idiots and let the passenger behind me gently remind me “not to forget my phone.”Our famaily vactions may take 12-24 hour drives, but we now get to see more of wonderful country and fellow citizens.

  11. says:

    I sat in the Portland Airport for three hours recently, and the food court is right by the TSA. They claim they don’t profile, but in three hours, the only people searched were women, aged 18 to 25. No men. No unattractive women. No minority or non American women.

    And the inspector was a woman….

  12. Peter Gozinya says:

    More T&A, Less TSA!

  13. kingofchatalot says:

    I want to see the full body scan of TSA spokesman Ann Davis………….

    I mean, if her name is Ann why is she called a spokesMAN?

    Let’s do a scan……………..then post the results……….

  14. Who's wit me? says:

    More T&A, less TSA, that’s my motto!

  15. Greycoat says:

    What idiocy putting pilots through body scans and/or pat downs. Piolets have the wheel. They don’t need explosives, then can just drive the plane into a mountainside or into the ground if they wanted to, so what in the hell is the point of patting them down?

    Our government is a collection of idiots.

  16. Patrick Henry says:

    Funny that we are in a supposed “War on Terror” and the government refuses to secure the border where terrorists can and do come into the country at will.

    They won’t secure the border but they will make you dehumanize and humiliate you to get you accustomed to obey.

    Did you ever ask yourself how the Patriot Act was voted on roughly a week after 9/11? Perhaps it was already written?

  17. Thomas Jefferson says:

    Congratulations!!…if every pilot was as liberty loving as Mr. Roberts and refused to fly, even for just one day, we could get rid of the TSA Gestapo once and for all…and we’d all be better off for it…

  18. Who's with me? says:

    More T&A, less TSA, that’s my motto!

  19. Warmblood says:

    This is governments way of degrading the people and playing psychological games with them. You are cattle being herded. They are letting you know who’s boss. You are a subject who needs to be controlled. It’s all a mind game. EVERYONE who flies should refuse the scanners and take the pat down. Think how that will tie up air travel if no one goes through the scanner. The airports will quickly decide that this is not working.

  20. Brian says:

    The Pilot is correct. TSA is a completely un-necessary government agency that wastes billions of dollars and has yet to show any public benefits or positive results from all that spending. Unfortunately, wasting money and being worthless are the “perpetual; motion machinery” which ensure that a government program or agency will continue forever.

    1. CG says:

      Excuse me, but I must have missed another commercial aircraft being flown into a building. Oh, that’s right…there haven’t been any! I would expect this attitude from an pompous glorified bus-driver-with-wings but not from the flying public who are most at risk.

      You had better pray every day that the TSA is successful in their mission. They have to get it right every time while the terrorists only have to get it right once.

      1. John Spiers says:


        You are missing the point… the airlines would do a better job of protecting their own aircraft and passengers than the TSA, at a tiny fraction of the cost. That the TSA motivations and incentives are different than the airlines make them ineffective, and worse, an opportunity for terrorism. Terrorists know the TSA manual and how to get past. Airline security would be trade secret and constantly changing, a vital process in security. Remember, it was because the 9/11 hijackers knew the FAA rules on pilots giving up their craft upon being “hijacked” that all of those people died. 9/11 was made possible by the FAA in charge of security. All we want is to be safe for once when we fly.

      2. ChrisRJFO says:

        CG – Had you done more with your own life, you wouldn’t make remarks like that. It’s a real shame that you are so insecure about your lack of personal achievement.

      3. ablubud says:

        Where are the Wal-Mart security inspectors?

      4. Takeresponsibility4yourself says:

        CG you are right and it’s so sad how self-absorbed these people truly are. If they did their homework they would know that it was the airlines fault this all happened. If people weren’t so worried about customer service we wouldn’t be in this mess. Look up the rules before you fly and maybe your experience would be a lot better. Dealing with lazy people who can’t find the time to look online and check the rules/regulations before flying is very tiresome and old. Just follow the rules and it wouldn’t be so bad.

      5. thorschariot says:

        the pilot doesn’t need a gun or bomb, sport. he has complete control of a multi-ton aircraft loaded with several thousand pounds of fuel. you know, like the ones flown into the Twin Towers. this is like patting down soldiers for guns before they get into a tank.

  21. Josh says:

    This is exactly we my family no longer flies. Tired of being mistreated by TSA government employees who have no incentive to act appropriately. If we can’t drive the distance, then we don’t go there. Period. I’m sure we’re not the only ones. How’s that working out for all you airlines?

  22. mac thorne says:

    i do not fly anymore>I am also tired of being molested by TSA Goons. One felt me off (my balls-it hurt)

  23. johanne says:

    TSA employees are nothing but a bunch of high school drop-outs. They are NOT professionals and they routinely harass fliers and abuse their power. Fire them all!

    1. Spuddy says:

      You are clueless. Check the requirements for the job before you post such nonsense.

  24. Ariel says:

    Not only is the TSA a make work program, it’s also a “feel safe” program that refuses to do what’s really effective to promote security (but politically incorrect).

    The Israelis don’t do airport security the “TSA way.” I wonder why.

    1. marylou says:

      Maybe because they know it doesn’t work and they have a better way?

  25. Bob says:

    Way to go! I am glad this pilot has the courage to stand up. I wish ALPA and the AFA had the stones to make this a bigger issue. Their membership is forced to undergo physical assault every day just to get a paycheck. And when they get to work, they actaully are the ones in total control of the aircraft. Silly.

  26. Charikar says:

    Why is it after the shoe bomber we all have to take our shoes off, yet after the underwear bomber we are all allowed to get on the plane fully clothed?

  27. Gary says:

    The terrorists are running our government. Seriously, is anything more dangerous to America than the government/media/banking complex?

    1. craig says:

      No, you are 100% correct and I am Reagan Republican and started feel that way under Bush even though I voted for him.

  28. Hargoosh says:

    Spot on Michael! I flew for many years as a flight attendant, after 911, the TSA “used” the flight crews to convince the traveling public how great a job they were doing…. squeezing out toothpaste and expensive lotions, every trip! Taking away our tweezers… snooping into our underwear, all in open display of the “passengers’ watching… that did NOT have to go through this ‘search’… After 30 years, it was too much, it added to the post 911 post traumatic stress and I know many of us up and quit from the abuse, now, years later, it has only gotten worse!
    TSA is a total joke… in many cities, they are MUSLIMS, the women wearing the head cover and all…. real secure, real smart (not!)

  29. ed says:

    The American people are like sheep being led to slaughter. Only difference here is that we are being deprived of our liberties.

  30. Finagler says:

    A LEO can bypass security packing heat and with a belt full of goodies designed to inflict human harm. And the Officers assigned to Airport duty are usually the ones who have had problems on the beat. Not trusting your pilot is BS!

    1. chuck says:

      Airport police work for the Feds, not the city the airport is in. Your assertion is idiotic.

      1. BrassPair says:

        That is NOT true.

      2. RetiredPoliceChief says:

        Chuck you are wrong. The airport police officers are members of the city or county where in the airport is located. In the event of a necessary arrest, the local police do the arresting not TSA. Know your facts before posting!

        Retired Police Chief who had officers assigned to the airport detail.

      3. Mike says:

        City police patrol an airport and if you are arrested for a non-terrorism related thing (being drunk, shoplifting etc.) it will be by the local police who did indeed pass through the scanner with their weapons. Police are the weakest link in our society and I trust any cop far less than any pilot. Most cops do not have the IQ for passing a pilot’s exam, and they receive less drug and alcohol testing than a pilot.

      4. Spuddy says:

        Chuck, you’re a moron. TSA are not the same as airport police.

  31. inspectorudy says:

    I am a retired airline pilot and I can feel this pilots pain. I easily went through six or seven airports on a daily basis and the treatment we as air crews got from the TSA was abusive and illogical. As stated above if a pilot flying the plane wants to crash it there is nothing the TSA can do about it.

  32. sean patriot says:

    If the terrorists infringe on our freedoms with this type of behavior from TSA then they won. “Those that want safety over freedom, deserve neither”

  33. Doug Thompson says:

    PS: Since its my understanding Airline Pilots can be armed with a deadly weapon, and that if it was their intention to destroy an aircraft all they would have to do is push the stick forward. What purpose does it serve to subject a pilot to such an examination? Only in the USA.
    I believe Winston Churchill said, “you can count on the Americans to do whats right only after they have tried every other way first.”

  34. Mark says:

    Leave the pilots alone- they don’t need a weapon to kill everyone on board their flights. Fully fueled plane at take off speed works better than just about anything else. Stop hasseling them.

    Watch out for the TSA worker with family in another country that could easily look the other way or lose their family or may want to help the cause.

    What good will a body search do when it would take nothing to make a weapon that looks just like the extender handles on all of the carry on bags with wheels. Look around at an airport next time- almost all of them are made of aluminum or some other metal.

  35. Bob says:

    Totally Correct!!!

    1. SLIDINGINTOIT says:

      __________BUILDING 7___________


  36. Warmblood says:

    Plenty of overtime for the airport workers. Are they a union?

    I hope these workers are aware of the mega doses of radiation they are receiving on a daily basis. Dental workers must hide behind a wall and patients get a lead apron when they are xrayed. These scanners have alot more radiation than the dentists office! Nice knowing ya.

    David Chertoff, former director of Homeland Security, owns the company that makes these scanners. Hmmm. They are scheduled to be in all airports and even on the streets of cities. I wonder if he’s making a few bucks?

  37. Doug Thompson says:

    Congratulations to the Pilot. Its about time someone stood up for our rights.
    How many pilots, veterans, senior citizens, have ever tried to destroy an aircraft. NONE. Its time for some common sense but you’re not likely to find
    any of that in Washington, D. C.

  38. Geo Williams says:

    Most of the TSA agents in Atlanta probably have trouble finding their way home. When you see the dread-locs, 4-inch fingernails and body piercings/tatoos, you really wonder who should be checking who.

    1. sean patriot says:

      HAHA, right on.

  39. J says:

    Good for the pilot! Those idiots that work for TSA are trash that were picked up off the streets. At least thats how they are at PIttsburgh.
    I refuse to step foot into a full body scanner- what are the long term affects? What if I am pregnant?
    I would be a thousand dollars that they would not treat a muslim the same way they treated this pilot.
    Im so tired of this kind of treatment!

  40. FormerUSAFofficer says:

    Think about it – – – a pilot is in complete control of his aircraft . . . meaning if he wanted to cut the engines off, flip the aircraft over & put it into a dive, and/or throw the engines in reverse in mid-air the TSA/U.S. government has given him the green light since he past the TSA full-body scan or the “feeling-up” by the TSA prior to entering the aircraft.

    1. Mark Matis says:

      Better watch out! They’ll be coming after you for aiding and abetting terrorism by giving them ideas on how to succeed! After all, you DO fit the DHS terrorist profile – you’re former military!

    2. james says:

      Formerusa – Bingo its about training us to be slaves.

    3. kasteer says:

      This is how you make flying safer and get rid of the TSA… Allow any USA citizen to open or conceal carry pistols onboard the plane! Terrorists will not know who is carrying a weapon and this scare tactic will cease.

      1. Spudd says:

        Yes! Because terrorists are afraid to die. Well thought out plan, kasteer!

    4. Michael says:

      Excellent point.

    5. Piper says:

      Exactly! All of this extra “security’ is designed to make us feel safer when it actually doesn’t make us any safer. If someone wants to do harm, they will. What would truly make us safer would be to change our foreign policy focus to one of investment in people and basic infrastructure.

  41. zombierocket says:

    I wish the underwear bomber would have been PROFILED. Then none of this would be happening. This TSA nonsense is ALL the result of Political Correctness run amok!

  42. Heather says:

    LOLOL……….. 😀

  43. sly1138 says:

    We are allowing our liberties to be taken one small piece after another small piece. We need to take a stand now. What is needed is a boycott. Don’t fly, just like this pilot did. The only thing that works is to hit them in the pocket. The only way to take our rights back is to take a stand.

  44. dude says:

    He’s not losing much. You would be shocked at how little these commuter pilots make. They make less than a Starbucks employee. Thats why I won’t fly a commuter jet.

  45. zombierocket says:

    Three cheers for the pilot… about time for some common sense!!

  46. David says:

    Join Us, do you think a pilot actually needs to “take through” anything to a plane to destroy a plane he is flying? Get a clue!

    1. H says:

      Excellent observation, and well put! It is the absolute idiocy of the Federal Government getting involved in a way that neither increases our security, or even makes us feel safer. This is an example of the harm that is done when people think they are safer, when in fact they are NOT!

    2. johnk144 says:

      David, that is awesome. I hadn’t even thought of that.

    3. DUMPTSA says:

      It ceased to be about logic LONG ago my friend. It’s about generating government employees and the potential for more union members. These people don’t have an IQ over their age.

  47. Kathy says:

    What surprises me is that this pilot’s actions are the exception, not the norm. Why are people submitting to this outrageous violation of our most basic rights? Why isn’t everyone refusing to comply? Do you actually think this is making us safer? LOL.

    1. Deacon Blues says:

      I haven’t flown because I refuse to participate in such draconian measures.

      1. Sheri says:

        I refuse to comply by not using airplanes as my method of transportation anymore. There are other ways to travel.

    2. Spuddy says:


      The body scanners are optional. The pat down search is an “outrageous” violation of your rights? What is the sacrifice here?

    3. Sharon Tosten says:

      I agree we should boycott Disney too. They think they have a right to search our bags when we pay to attend their theme park. What’s next serching civilians when they go into a supermarket?

      1. Yeziam says:

        Boycot away, like most of you goofs with hair brained ideas, you’re just do nothing whiners because you feel inconvenienced. Whaaaaa!

  48. Debra C says:

    I couldn’t agree more! TSA in Orlando regularly forces my 81 year old father, a native Floridian and old farmer, to take off his shoes and belt, then pats him down. They offer no assistance redressing and he can’t get his shoes on by himself…they are a bunch of Nazis!

    1. GorBud says:

      It has nothing to do with security. Most do a good job under difficult conditions. But for some it is getting even with everyone who did better then them in life. It is payback time in the little minds of some “security officials.” They seem to be unprofessional, uneducated dopes. Given unaccountable power over anyone who comes into their world they use it to humiliate individuals they KNOW present NO threat. Their tone of voice and bullying attitude give them away for what they are. Just part of the unaccountable government bureaucracy. Wait until you have to deal with the NEW Obamacare system. The TSA will look like a walk in the park.

  49. johnk144 says:

    I’m with you. I stopped taking flights when they started forcing everyone to take their shoes off. Terrorists everywhere must laugh their a$$es off knowing that because of one terror attempt, little old ladies and boy scouts and WW2 veterans, and every one of us are dehumanized just to get on a flight.

    1. sean patriot says:

      Its PC BS run amok, and it sickens my sense of freedom.

    2. atlpcug says:

      I also stopped flying whenever possible as a result of intrusive TSA. It’s not for shyness, rather to avoid a dehumanizing experience. I regularly drive from Atlanta to New York, though the gas costs as much as the airfare. I’ve also driven this year to Denver, Reno and Toronto. I also won’t visit Disney World because they insist on taking fingerprints for admission.

      1. Yez says:

        Today’s world is rife with people who think they’re so important they can’t tolerate what’s others do without thinking about it. I’m a “question authority” kind of guy, but you guys need to remember that pride cometh before the fall and you’re so dang impressed with yourselves it’s sad. 1) I don’t fly, cause blah, blah, blah 2) Why I even drove to blah, blah, blah.

        It’s a free country, travel how you please, just don’t bore us with how macho you are.

        1. Kirk Patrick says:

          Hey Yez Man, don’t bore us by how cowardly you are. I bet on 9/11 you said “resolve” and during the H1N1 vaccine push you got vaccinated and said “just doing my part”. You’re a sheep with an attitude, a subservient wuss who hates to think that anyone else has the courage that he does not. Real men still have courage and will defend the real country – based on the concept of people being innocent until proven guilty, and having a right to avoid unlawful search or seizure.

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