Southwest Airlines's 9,400 flight attendants just sent word: They don't wanna be scanned. And they don't wanna be gate-raped. That's the gist of the missive Transport Workers Union Local 556 President Thom McDaniel sent to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John J. Pistole, which you can read in its entirety on TWU 556's website. An excerpt:
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Flight attendants have submitted to the same finger printing and 10-year FBI background check as pilots. Flight attendants have completed required FAA mandated initial training and annual recurrent training in safety and security. Flight attendants have voluntarily taken additional TSA crew-member self-defense training on our own time and at our own expense since the Federal Government refused to make that training mandatory and fund it. Flight attendants are FAA certified safety and security professionals.
In spite of the invaluable role that flight attendants play in air security, flight attendants are now being subjected to Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or "enhanced" body patdowns that are not only invasive, but humiliating and embarrassing for front line security professionals who put their lives on the line every day. Enhanced TSA screening of flight crews is not only unnecessary; it is a waste of TSA resources that should be directed at the real security risks.