Michael Roberts, Express Jet Pilot, For President in 2012

For the past year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, along with Members of Congress from both parties and the Obama Administration, have been demanding Americans give up our basic civil liberties and our fundamental right to privacy, by submitting to a full-body scan — amounting to a virtual strip search – simply because we need to fly on a commercial airliner. At least one American hero – Express Jet pilot Michael Roberts – has said “enough is enough,” and refused to participate any longer in this demeaning security charade.

Although not ubiquitous at all commercial airports across the country, the scanner machines are appearing with increasing frequency at airports large and small.  Despite claims that the devices will detect all manner of hazardous substances; there also is evidence to support the argument that full-body scanners are ineffective, and serve as not much more than very costly security theater. Of course, this has not stopped TSA from transmitting nude images of American, even children, under the banner of protecting us from “terrorism.” And though the government has insisted these images are reviewed and then immediately destroyed, recent reports to the contrary have forced some agencies to admit retaining images.

Tellingly, after this privacy-infringing technology was installed recently at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who claimed that scanners “represent an important way to stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat that faces the aviation sector,” declined to walk through the machines. She instead gave the floor to volunteers to demonstrate the scanners.  Mere mortal air travelers, however, do not enjoy such personal discretion.

Many air travelers, believing that being made to feel safer is the same thing as being made safer, submit to the intrusive devices with a shrug of the shoulders because they are “willing to do what it takes to be safe from terrorists.”  There is, however, a growing number of Americans who may submit to the Big Brother scanning machines only because there is oft times no real alternative and they have deadlines to meet in catching their flights. Many of these grudging participants are quietly seething at the prospect of either having their nude image ogled by a faceless and nameless federal employee in another room, or being publicly groped by a TSA employee who is peeved that the passenger had the audacity to decline their offer of a free scan.

But Michael Roberts, Express Jet Airlines pilot, refused to go along.

Recently, even after passing through normal security measures at Memphis International Airport en route to his assigned flight, Roberts was selected for a full-body scan.  This was demanded of the pilot notwithstanding he had passed through security at the very same airport for the last four years without being subjected to additional screening. He refused, and also turned down a “pat-down,” the only other alternative left to him by TSA as the prerequisite to boarding the flight he was scheduled to pilot.

Roberts’ stand is very simple, as he explained in an interview with Good Morning America, “The Fourth Amendment [protection against unreasonable searches and seizures] is there for a reason.”  Unfortunately, and unlike Napolitano, his stand for his privacy and desire not to be treated like a criminal may ultimately cost him his job.

Roberts, a true patriot, is still not sitting by idly. He is suing in hopes of changing these unconstitutional procedures. His heroic stand against an intrusive government, and his refusal to surrender his liberty on the Altar of Security is an example we should admire and emulate. And in my eyes the courage he exhibited in this instance, and his demonstrated understanding of the Bill of Rights, places him in the top tier of candidates seeking the office of President of the United States in 2012.

45 comments Add your comment

Orange Alert: its not just for midterms anymore

November 1st, 2010
6:34 am

Last year’s issue presented with this year’s ignorance. Lets see, if they had Dopplar Radar imaging when Chicken Little cried, “The sky is falling”, then maybe the wind shear woulda showed up, proving the little guy right, and then HE would have been our president.

Now I’m worried: Bob Barr is starting to make sense to moi.

Atlanta flyer

November 1st, 2010
7:15 am

The right to board an airplane is not guaranteed by the Constitution, Bob. And I ain’t got nothin’ the TSA hasn’t seen before. If you wanna fly, then you need to pony up and shut up. Extolling someone who uses the Bill of Rights to shield his vanity? Oh, please.


November 1st, 2010
7:30 am

Bob, I am often critical of your screeds, but your use of the words “theatre” and “charade” are spot on. Unfortunately for Americans, unlike the First Amendment, which also affords Americans the “freedom” to change the channel or not attend a performance; the full body scan requires ALL Americans traveling by commercial airline to purchase ticket, whether we find the show entertaining, amusing or not.


November 1st, 2010
7:34 am

Sorry Atlanta flyer, Mr. Barr is right on this one. Bravo to Mr. Roberts! As pointed out, the problem for most people is there’s no alternative (or chance to debate or take exception), unless you do what he did.


November 1st, 2010
8:08 am

The Fourth Ammendment does protect us from unreasonable search and seizure. Unfortunately, reasonable is the last thing you would call radical muslims who blow up airplanes. My Fourth Ammendment rights will not mean much if I am blown up on an airplane. When religous nuts come after you, protect yourself any way you can.

Common Man

November 1st, 2010
8:34 am

Much of what the TSA does is for dramatic effect. Evidenced by the recent attepmts to smuggle bombs on planes in toner cartridges, the “security” money would be best spent scanning or searching cargo and not grandma and the kids.

Dr. Pangloss

November 1st, 2010
8:44 am

Gee, remember when seat belts in cars were an infringement of our rights? We got over that one, and a lot of lives are now being saved.


November 1st, 2010
9:31 am

It’s Bush’s fault.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 1st, 2010
9:44 am

The obvious and “tried and true” solution to the underlying problem – profiling – is too objectionable to the mindless, so we will continue to surrender our freedoms, for the sake of political correctness.

Native Atlantan

November 1st, 2010
9:56 am

But wait….I thought the Patriots were all for keeping us safe….I’m so confused….


November 1st, 2010
10:17 am

I would think that there would be a feeling of “togetherness” among the passengers. When one passenger looks at another knowing that they have “given it all up” in the interests of safety. As for the pilot, obviously, he was too modest. I see full body scans and pat downs as a new beginning. A transparent society where real freedom reigns supreme. It is funny that it should start with the airlines.
I saw on the “tube” last night Mitt Romney is going coach on flights. He wants to be with the other passengers and know what is going on with everyday people. That is a fine beginning to a new openeness in government.


November 1st, 2010
10:21 am

The full body scans are indeed “security theater,’ designed to provide a “show” to quiet the unthinking public. The facts are — the scanners show details of the genitals, the machines have the capacity to store the images, generally children are not scanned, liquids are not detected and anything hidden in a body cavity is obscured. So many loopholes for determined terrorists- store the explosives in a vagina or rectum (what next, rectal and vaginal probes by TSA?) or bring along a child to do the dirty deed.


November 1st, 2010
10:23 am

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Since we cannot “legally” dis-robe Muslims in full gear who are flying on our planes, we must use these scans to see under said gear (and the libs cry racist/bigot in 3, 2, 1…). If the TSA agents want to get their jollies on by saving images of the scans, price we pay for a more secure fight.

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interested observer

November 1st, 2010
10:44 am

I drive more and fly less not out of fear of terrorists, but because of the hassle – and now the indignity – that has become part of commercial aviation.

Human nature being what it is, you can be assured that TSA screeners do save and do share some of those photos. At my age and with my build, I’m probably immune to that, but it’s only a matter of time until someone’s body scan becomes the latest internet sensation. Privacy? That’s long gone.

Infrequent flyer

November 1st, 2010
11:14 am

This has moved my minimum to 10 hours. Less than a 10 hour drive and I’ll drive. More than 10 and I’ll consider flying – and I still may drive. Or I may just cancel the trip.

I wonder… do you get scanned if you fly yourself in a private plane?


November 1st, 2010
11:28 am

Mike is the pilot, for crying out loud! He’s at the freakin’ controls! If he decided to nose it over, the plane would impact from 30K feet in about six seconds. He doesn’t need a weapon. He’s piloting one!

The TSA Gestapo already has too much authority. Just go watch the goons in Customs some time. Now they want to fondle my ‘nads? No thanks The Constitution means more to me than whether I ever fly again.


November 1st, 2010
11:36 am

Never ever thought that the world would become such a dangerous place to exist. In many ways mankind was safer when only sticks and stones were available for weapons. No one should be decapitated for not accepting another persons ideas regarding religion.


November 1st, 2010
11:44 am

See, if you’d skinny dipped in high school you’d be over this by now.
Romney in coach? He’ll get over that fast. Put him in coach for the Atlanta to Orlando run and see how he does.


November 1st, 2010
11:49 am

Here’s two ways to combat the whole TSA/commercial aviation thing:

1. EVERYONE, and I mean every single person passing though security, should refuse the scanner and opt for the pat-down.

2. EVERYONE should wear some sort of necklace that is large enough to trigger the metal detectors which forces a pat-down.

This will grid lock the TSA checkpoints and freeze commercial aviation. Every single flight will be delayed, a lot will be canceled, and BILLIONS of dollars will be lost. This is civil disobedience at it’s finest, and will force a change. Corporations (with their high-dollar lobbyists) will not stand by idly while they lose billions. We have to hit them where it hurts (pocketbook) and then clean up the mess (elect people that value liberty).

The problem is, people like “Atlanta flyer” (it is flier, BTW, not flyer) readily take whatever injustice is thrown their way and ask for more. It’s time to push back, folks.


November 1st, 2010
12:03 pm

What would the GOP use if it didn’t have fear and its flock were cowards? Tax cuts ?


November 1st, 2010
12:08 pm

I wonder if those machines will detect my merkin…


November 1st, 2010
12:23 pm

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano displays the typical elitism of the progressive democraps that the Obama’s show with their children going to elite private school while the Obama’s and their socialist teacher unions want to do away with private religion based schools and home schooling for the majority of us.


November 1st, 2010
12:39 pm

Its clear that Republican fear-mongering with the assistance of the media has worked well on too many on this blog. You do not care about liberty and do not deserve to call yourselves americans. You belong in the former Soviet Union or East Germany. The TSA must be shut down, and the sooner the better.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 1st, 2010
1:19 pm

I wouldnt mind a pat-down as long as its adminstered by a sexy female. The body scan does bother me however. Im afraid pictures of may anatomy might find their way on to the internet then between the pages of some porno Mag for which I would receive no financial reimbursement.


November 1st, 2010
1:40 pm

I just returned from San Francisco. From the time I left the hotel, till I arrived home, it was 11 hours. I don’t plan to fly ever again. I have passed through security with a small pocket knife in my carry on that I had forgotten. I’m not too sure security is very effective.


November 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

I forgot. One time coming home from Portland, ME, I had a glass bottle of Jack Daniels in my carry on. It passed through security with no trouble.

A. J. C . Smith

November 1st, 2010
1:59 pm

Airplanes are the new buses; they are dirty, smelly, slow, and overpriced. I can do without either thank you.


November 1st, 2010
2:19 pm

Airplanes are wonderful. They go 500 miles per hour. Dirty, not so much, really. Smelly? Only if you are sitting in the very back of an MD88 at the end of the day. Suck it up, it’s only an hour. Amateurs make me crazy.


November 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

9/11 is the linchpin of the conservative movement. Thus, it’s quite interesting that “patriots” reject security measures that would have prevented hijacking of the 4 planes.


November 1st, 2010
3:23 pm

Ahh this security was started under the republican administration and if you don’t want to go through it, try driving where you need to go. And the true partiots are those soldiers over in Iraq and afgahnistan pounding their way through the sand everyday. Not some goober who has a problem going through security like everyone else.


November 1st, 2010
3:26 pm

Yet you support the Patriot Act. More partisan B.S.


November 1st, 2010
3:39 pm

Hey Bob, here’s a scenario: Under your design a 4:00 pm flight from ATL to New York requires only minimal searching. The 5:00 pm flight from ATL to New York would require a full body scan plus all the bells and whistles of searching. You can take the 4:00 pm flight, I’ll happily take the 5:00 pm flight.

My body is not one of those body builder types (maybe yours is) so I really don’t give a damn whether some obscure TSA agent sees my vitals or not. I got over that stuff long ago.


November 1st, 2010
3:53 pm

Bob, Bob, Bob, in congress and when you ran you were a knee-jerk Republican, now a man of liberty. Opportunism is a terrible thing to waste

Mr Chips

November 1st, 2010
4:19 pm

Forget the merkin, I’m afraid it will detect my gherkin.


November 1st, 2010
4:22 pm

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Ben Franklin

Orange Alert: its not just for midterms anymore

November 1st, 2010
4:22 pm

Look, if a unsuspecting TSA Agent gets a load of what’s making me feel good all under, it could ruin sex for him for the rest of his life. Why doesn’t anybody see that?

Vote no on Grope, Spread and Probe, (GSP), at the airport.


November 1st, 2010
4:45 pm

I’m quite partial to Jefferson seeing as I am a fellow red head ;) same with Washington :P

Mr Chips

November 1st, 2010
6:54 pm

Stephen, the TSA will be able to tell us if you’re a REAL red head.

Ima Crook

November 1st, 2010
6:55 pm


November 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

I am one of the ignorant ones who didn’t realize the whole body scanning thing. I flew this summer, and was selected to stand and wait by myself in a booth until I was told I could come out, and I had “passed” the random security thing. Does that mean they were ogling me through a scanner??? Oh well, whatever floats their boat! Airport security is just one of the many things that are supposed to keep us “Safer” post 911. Who knows if it really does- along with the other security crap that has come since then… oh, what would happen if a few Greyhound busses, or Amtrak trains got blown up- would they “fix” security there as well???


Jeff Pruett

November 2nd, 2010
11:46 am

Yes, he is a hero! What is being done to Americans in the name of security by poorly trained, obnoxious, officious security guards is a violation of all our rights!

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November 4th, 2010
12:09 pm

Oh how my country has changed. By early 1942 Japanese Americans were being rounded up from our west coast and moved east or concentrated in internment camps… all in the name of securing the homeland! Years later ‘we the people’ ie our government, figured out this was wrong and publicly apologized. Fast forward 68 years and the pendulum has swung completely in the other way. Rather than mistreat the few, the suspected, those that fit the profile…. ‘we the people’ are now ALL subjected to civil rights & bill of rights violating procedures. Is this progress? When did common sense cease to be applied to our problems? Why is my country so screwed up? Why wouldn’t Janet Napolitano walk through the check-point? Of course these are all questions no one in our government will answer, relegating us to ‘the wee people’ rather than ‘we the people’!


November 7th, 2010
8:10 pm

Janet won’t go through-why should we? To be molested by a minimum wage earner in a public place is insane. This government has gone to far in violating our rights. If a dog committed a crime why search all the birds?