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Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Pat Down at Tenn. Airport, Calls TSA a "Make-Work" Program

Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Pat Down at Tenn. Airport, Calls TSA a "Make-Work' Program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS/AP) Michael Roberts, a commercial airline pilot, may lose his job after he refused a pat down and full body scan, because he says he's tired of being manhandled by security agents.

The ExpressJet Airlines first officer was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says after refusing the full body scan, he refused a pat-down and then went home.

Roberts had gone to the airport to board a flight to Houston. He was then scheduled to fly out of that city.

"I'm not trying to throw down the gauntlet with the federal government per se," Roberts told The Commercial Appeal.

Roberts said Friday was the first time he has used the security checkpoint since new full-body scanning equipment was installed. He said he has gone through security at the Memphis airport without incident routinely for more than four years.

The 35-year-old Memphis pilot told the l newspaper he wants to go to work and not be "harassed or molested without cause."

Transportation Safety 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 said tight security is important to protect air travelers, but he doesn't believe TSA efforts are effective.

"I have those concerns as well, but I don't believe this approach is a necessary or effective way to mitigate the threat," Roberts said.

He also called the TSA a "make-work" program.

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