They’re Grabbing and Groping: Pilot Says


Michael Roberts, 35, a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, said, “No” to a full-body scan last week at a Transportation Security Administration check-point at Memphis International Airport- Memphis, Tennessee.

He’s the pilot who refused to submit to a full body scan, or the pat down going through airport security.

“Pat down is misleading,” Roberts explained. “They concentrate on the area between the upper thighs and torso, and they’re not just patting people’s arms and legs, they’re grabbing and groping and prodding pretty aggressively.”

Roberts pointed-out that the Transportation Security Administration’s measures are ineffective, and cited concerns for his rights and privacy in refusing the procedures.

Roberts said he had been going through security at Memphis without incident for 4 ½ years. Friday was his first time at the check-point since new scanning equipment was installed.

“I’m not trying to throw down the gauntlet with the federal government per se,” he said. “I just want to be able to go to work and not be harassed or molested without cause…. I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal security agent every time I go to work.”

The incident was the first of its kind at the Memphis airport since the agency began advanced imaging technology, or full body X-ray scanners, at the airport in September, Transportation Security Administration’s spokesman Jon Allen.

Roberts is waiting to find out whether his protest would cost him his job.