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DAVE COOK: Our guest this morning is John Pistole, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. This is his first visit with the group and we thank him for coming during such a busy time. He was sworn as TSA Administrator in July after a distinguish 26 year career at the FBI, which culminated in his serving as deputy director. He joined the FBI in 1983 after graduating from Aniston University and from the Indiana University School of Law. During his long FBI career, Mr. Pistole served in the Minneapolis and New York divisions, came to Washington to work in the Organized Crime section. While assigned to the Boston office in 1999, he helped lead the investigative effort following the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990 off the coast of Rhode Island. Our guest also helped lead a working group that addressed security issues raised by the arrest of Robert Hansen, the FBI agent who was working for Moscow, in a story that was told in the movie "Breach." So much for biography and filmography. Now onto the ever-popular process portion of our program. As always, we're on the record. Please, no live blogging or tweeting or other means of filing while the breakfast is underway. There is no embargo when the session ends. With the goal of maintaining the Breakfast's reputation for civility, if you'd like to ask a question, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle non-threatening signal. I'll happily call on one and all. We'll start off by offering our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments, and then we'll to questions from around the table. And with that, thanks again for coming. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Thanks much, Dave. I'll just be brief. I would just like to say that the challenge that we are facing in TSA and really the U.S. government is how do we deal with a determined, resourceful enemy who has proven adept at the designing, concealing and implementing of bombs that can kill not only hundreds of people on passenger aircraft, but also cargo aircraft to disrupt the economic lifeline of that industry, as we saw with the most recent plot. So the challenge that we face is how to use the latest intelligence and the latest technology, along with our protocols, to provide the best possible security for the traveling public, while also respecting the privacy and the dignity of each passenger, and trying to do that in a layered security fashion. So with that, I'd be glad to take your questions. MR. COOK: Let me do one or two and then I will start with Sharon Weinberger and move around the table. In your Sunday statement, you said that you would try to make screening as "minimally invasive as possible," and that there was "a continual process of refinement and adjustment to ensure that best practices are implied." So without giving away more than you feel you can give for security reasons, if somebody comes through a screening station today as a result of your statement, how will it be different than if they came through yesterday morning? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: What I indicated yesterday is one is to asses our current screening as part of the ever-evolving protocols that we use. We're always looking for the best ways to identify and disrupt plots obviously, as part of that layers of security for the whole U.S. government. What I recognize is the -- that as we do things in a partnership with the American people, we need to have that partnership intact, and given the concerns raised by many members of the traveling public, members of Congress hearing from their constituents, that we need to find the best possible way of achieving both the layered security with the privacy. The goal is to be as at least as invasive as possible, while still detecting the type of bombs that we saw on Christmas Day or even the well-designed concealed devices in toner cartridges, if those could be on a person or in bags. So that is a challenge, and that's my goal, is to find those least intrusive means, while still providing the best possible security. MR. COOK: So I'm not trying to be obnoxious, but in terms -- ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So as far as today, yeah, again the focus is on how can we best detect that, and recognizing that we face challenges with additional holiday travelers and trying to make sure that we are getting everybody safely and security to their destination on a timely basis. MR. COOK: So it's a more prospective thing. Let me ask you one other, and then we'll go, as I say, to Sharon and to James Meek. Do you -- sort of more philosophically, do you feel that we have either reached or are close to the end of the current security approach, given public reaction? Other than hiring proctologists and gynecologists and screeners, is there anything -- have we reached the end of the line basically, given the uproar? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, I think you know, it's fine to theorize and philosophize about security applications. What it comes down to we know the threats are real. We have this determined enemy. So what can we best do to blend the security and privacy? So I won't opine on where we are on that continuum, other than to say that everybody wants to know that everybody else on each aircraft they're on has been thoroughly screened, and yet everybody wants their privacy also. So it's that tension, that dynamic, if you will, between those two, that we try to address on an evolving basis. MR. COOK: When you say not opine on the continuum, is it safe to assume, then, that you think there's more room on the continuum that would be acceptable? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: What I am saying is I think reasonable people can disagree as to that precise point of security screening for each individual. I've had a number of unsolicited comments saying "You know, you've gone way too far. You've reached a tipping point, and so you need to back off." I've also received a number of unsolicited comments saying "this is exactly what we need to be doing. We should have done this earlier." So it really comes down to each individual person's perspective as it applies to them. Again everybody, if this is a plane, we all want to make sure that everybody else has been properly screen. But when it comes to me, I know I'm not a terrorist, I know that you're not a terrorist. So how do we reach that balance? That's again that tension that we deal with daily. MR. COOK: Sharon. MONITOR BREAKFAST: It seems like most people are focusing on privacy. But you also mentioned effectiveness. To take one specific TSA program, the behavior detection officer program, there have been a number of reviews of not just the program but the underlying science that have said there's just no science to it. It doesn't work. There's no proof. It was just sort of glued together from different underlying people. Have you, do you believe the behavior detection officer program is effective, and more generally, for all of these screening procedures, how do you know that they're effective? What are the tests or outside reviews you do to determine that this is an effective way of catching or stopping a terrorist? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Given my nearly 27 year career with the FBI, I strongly believe in behavior detection as being one layer in the multiple layers of security. It should never be a single point of failure, the only type of screening that is one. But I think the Israeli model that we've heard so much about using behavior detection very effectively. We have a number of behavior detection officers who have identified suspicious activity, usually because people are either drug or cash couriers or carrying some type of contraband. So that's part of the outcomes that we see. So I'm a firm believer as one of the multiple layers of security. Now that being said, we have to use the latest intelligence that we have about individuals. For example, if somebody is on a watch list, then clearly that's a use of intelligence. So there's somebody on no fly or selectee, that person either doesn't fly or gets additional security screening. So we use intelligence. It's a question of how do we do that in an informed fashion, that does not exceed the privacy civil liberty concerns that we have here in the U.S., and to stay away from profiling that is used in other areas. MR. COOK: James. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Thank you, Director Pistole. A two-part question. Part one. Yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton, who probably hasn't gone through a magnetometer or had a pat-down in 18 years, said that she understands that people view this as an offensive procedure, pat-downs. She said, asked if she would want it done to her, she said no, who would? Can I ask you to react to that, and I have a follow-up question. Do you agree with her? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, so let me start with the fact is that pat-downs are a secondary screening tool that are used on a very small percentage of people. So it seems like the media has been reporting all these horrendous episodes of pat-downs, as if every person has been patted down. So since we instituted this policy the 1st of November, we've had over 34 million people travel, and a very small percentage, I can't tell you the exact number of percentage, very small number actually patted down, and it's a result of alarming on a walk-through metal detector and you can't resolve that alarm, or an advanced use of technology, where you have those machines, or they've opted out. Of course, we're trying just to address the Abdul Matalibs of the world, who have that non-metallic bomb. They opt out of AIT because they know they won't be picked up on a walk-through metal detector. So we do a thorough pat-down to ensure we dont' have a bomb, a suicide bomb get on that plane. So I think the Secretary expressed the views of a number of people. I think that because this is a new security regimen, that there's some uncertainty about it. Everybody agrees that we want thorough security and screening, and so how do we best achieve that balance. MONITOR BREAKFAST: So the follow-up question, sir, is you just said this is a new security procedure. It raised hackles and became a media story in the last month since the AQAP air cargo bombs. But you've said in testimony and you said on CNN yesterday that this is a new procedure that's in response Abdul Matalib. Now the underwear bomb was last Christmas. I've been told that the reason it took so long to start doing pat-downs in response to that incident was because DHS was waiting for you to be confirmed, because they wanted the leadership in place to put the policy in place. But do you think that that was too long to wait to start implementing a policy in reaction to an Al-Quaeda attempted almost successful bomb attack almost a year ago? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: The specifically TSA, but the DHS actually started working on this on Christmas Day last year. So once we learned about the plot, the experts started assessing how can we modify our security screening procedures to address this type of plot. So it's actually been in the works quite well, like I say, since Christmas Day. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: I'm sorry? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Not in practice until recently? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: No, no, not in practice until recently. You know, that was my decision, based on not only the intelligence about Abdul Matalib, but AQAP especially continued interest and attempt in using these well-designed concealed non-metallic bombs. That, coupled with the GAO, IG and our TSA Office of Inspection covert testing, which goes back at least to '05, where they have successively gotten through security, and some of that is classified at the Secret level. But the ones I can comment on basically say one of the common denominators is for the lack of thorough pat-downs. So this goes back to '05. So it raises a question as to what can we do to deal with that covert testing, which has been successful. We have Christmas Day which but for the grace of God, in my opinion, seeing the forensics, knowing all about that plot from my FBI days, that we were very, very fortunate on Christmas Day to not go out, along with the continued threat stream. Look, we have a travel advisory to Europe right now because of the threat stream about Europe. There's also intelligence about continuing interest in hitting the U.S. and clearly the cargo plot, the two U.S. cargo carriers, designed to effect the economy of the U.S. So the totality of all that led me to the decision to move forward with this, but we had to make sure that we had the training done properly, that the workforce understood here are the standard operating protocols. Make sure you follow these, be calm and professional, give clear guidance and direction to people. Again, this very small group of people, percentage who are actually receiving the pat-down, make sure they understand what you're doing and why. MR. COOK: Dave. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) travelers who might travel by plane just once a year, who might not be following everything's that been in the news about these new procedures. How are you guys going to accommodate the procedures to that crush of travel, and then what do you expect from this op-out day that's been promoted on the Internet? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: We've encouraged, through a number of public service messages, and there will be new messages at the airport I believe today. Instead of the one that says the current threat level is orange, you know, Department of Homeland Security. We're replacing that. It's up to airports to do that. But we're replacing that with a public service message from me saying this is basically this a partnership. Let's work together, you know, something new and look, we're dealing with threats. We're dealing with new procedures. Let's work through this. We've also tried to direct people to the tsa.gov website to say if you are traveling, look at this, because the best passenger from our perspective is a well-informed passenger, as to here are the security protocols, especially if you're going to one of the 70 airports that had the advanced engine technology, which require you to empty your pockets completely, in addition to your jacket off and your belt off and things like that. So that's new and different for a lot of people. So we have a lot of information on our website. We have additional signs at airports to say if you go this route, then this is what you should be prepared for. So that's your first question. As to the second question, you know, one of the great things about America is that people can protest; they can do things that they want to bring attention to. My real concern for this is that vast majority of travelers who are simply trying to get home to be with loved ones for the holidays, if they miss a flight because a group of people are blocking access or because they're taking extended periods of time, I feel bad for those people who would not be protesting and just want to get home, again, to have time with loved ones for the holidays. So we are fully staffed. We will have everybody available working. We have a number of people on standby who are not, for more of an administrative role just to help, for example, moving the bins and things. Not to do the screening, but just to help facilitate the throughput, the moving the people and goods, and so we'll see what happens. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Do you expect it to be an issue of process this weekend? Obviously, there's a potential for a lot of problems. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, I think there is potential there. That would be potentially complicated by a group of people protesting. If there are no protests, then obviously we'll have just the normal crush of holiday travels. I mean the two busiest days of the travel year are tomorrow, Wednesday and next Sunday, or three, I should say. So we have that challenge. So people should anticipate or just plan on some more time, just in the normal Thanksgiving rush. I mean I'd say that whether you're traveling by air or you're traveling up, you know, the turnpike in New York or wherever you're traveling. Obviously, you need to allow more time than you would on a non-holiday travel time. MR. COOK: Francine? MONITOR BREAKFAST: We know that terrorists don't have any qualms about using body cavities to store and detonate explosives, and we know that these machines don't detect body cavities, and from what we've heard from the TSA so far, there isn't any plan to start going in that direction. So why the ramp up to these machines when there's obviously a big loophole that TSA is not in a position to do anything about? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: We're in the risk management business, being a risk-based intelligence driven organization. The information that I have seen out in the public about body cavities for bombs, I think, is perhaps not accurate. There's been reporting about at least one incident involving Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi Deputy Minister of Interior. The forensics on that are not dispositive as to it being a body cavity, and there's stronger indication in findings that that was actually an Abdul-Matalib type, being more underwear actually strapped to the upper thigh, as opposed to be being a body cavity. That being said, even if it is a body cavity, you still have to have an initiator. You have to have some external device to cause that initiation, such as Abdul Matalib's, have the TATP, which was close to the PE-10, and that had the syringe, the modified syringe. There's got to be something external that you can then initiate the device. That's what the advanced imaging technology machine will pick up. Any anomaly outside of the body. So yeah, we're not going to get in the business of doing body cavities. That's not where we are. MONITOR BREAKFAST: May I ask a follow-up? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Sure. MONITOR BREAKFAST: The other thing that we hear time and again is that these, and the President said it over the weekend. These machines can stop the kind of terrorist like the Christmas Day bomber. But the GAO report said it is not clear that these machines can stop that type of bomb. So that just leaves such a confusion out there. Can they or can they not? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So part of the confusion may be that at least with this current AIT, there's obviously a technology side of it and there's a human side of it. The security officer has to read and interpret what is being seen depicted by the AIT. So it may be there's an anomaly, but if the security officer does not assess that to be an anomaly, then it's that combination that we have to look at. That's why I'm very interested in looking at what I've described as the next generation of advanced imaging technology known as the automated target recognition, which does that automatically. You don't have a human operator security officer in another room for privacy reasons, because all you're seeing is a stick figure, and that can be done right at the checkpoint. So it addresses those privacy concerns about all these graphic depictions, which I've heard and seen and parodied and everything, frankly most of which are not accurate. It is not a photo, as we know. It is an image that, with the face blurred and things. So it's not nearly as graphic as I think most people would be led to believe. The concern with the ATR machines, which again I'm hoping will be the next generation, at least in our testing we have been and are currently testing it here at NTSA, is a high rate of false positives that we have seen in our testing, that we know other airports around the world, Schiphol particularly airport in Amsterdam where Abdul Matalib flew out of, they're using it with some success. They had some high false positive initially. My concern about it is each false positive results in a pat-down. I'm trying to get away from having any false positives, also coupled with high detection of anomalies. So this is all a technology-driven opportunity for us, to go to that next generation of automated image technology. MR. COOK: Yes sir. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) with the Hill. I was curious, do you wish that the TSA had done a better job with the PR front in communicating exactly what was going to happen to the public? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, I wish I could say somebody else was responsible for that, but that was my decision, and it was a risk-based decision. Our press people actually made a strong argument for why we should try to get out ahead of the story if you will, and generally I'm always in agreement on that. In this instance, my concern was because we piloted the new pat-downs anyway in two airports, Las Vegas and Boston, that we not publicize that because it would then provide a roadmap or a blueprint to a putative terrorist, who may say okay, I know there's 453 airports around the country. I've gone on the TSA website, and by the way we know that some people with AQAP have gone on our website to see exactly what the technology we use, and then they've gone to the manufacturer's website to see what type, all the great detection capabilities and things. So that's a concern to me. So rather than publicize the fact that we were doing this, I made an intentional decision that we would not do that. We would roll it out after proper training and everything, and then try to educate the public once we did that. But I wanted to make sure that we didn't say okay, we'll piloting these two airports, and November 1 we're going to roll it out, and this is back in August. So to give the bad guys a chance to try to hit a vulnerable spot. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Do you think given your 26, almost 27 years with the FBI, do you think the American people needs to show a sense of compromise to the reality of the threat that exists? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: I think many people clearly do have that sense. I mean 81 percent of the people, and I think it was the CBS poll said yeah, we need to have advanced imaging technology. I think 78 percent of the people in a prior poll this year said yes, we need robust security at the airports. It really comes down to the specific application for each person that I mentioned before. So think everybody realizes and respects the fact that look, terrorists took down Pan Am 103 years ago. Terrorists hit us on 9/11. Richard Reed and the shoe bomb tried in December of '01. The liquids plot, you know, from August of '06 out of the UK, you know, the Abdul Matalib on Christmas Day, the toner plot. I think people conceptualize that that's happening, but I think a lot of people may think well, that's over there. That's not here. That's not going to happen here because we're America and all this. Given all the background I have, in terms of being aware of plots, having investigated terrorism here in the U.S. really or the last eight and a half years since 9/11, not in the last six months, five months, I know the threats are real. I know there are people here who want to harm us, and I just look back to the history here in the U.S., whether it's Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, or Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City or Eric Rudolph, Centennial Park in Atlanta. There are people here who have killed Americans because they don't like the government or whatever their motive is. My concern is that they get hold of this type of PETN device because it's on the Internet and say okay, I can construct something. I can get on a plane here. Nobody's going to suspect me, because I'm a, you know, fill in the blank. I'm a white male 35 years old and Im not a terrorist. So that's a challenge. MR. COOK: We're going to go next to Paul Bernard and the gentleman across the way, Allen Levin, Chad Pergram, Shawn Langell and then back to Francine. Paul? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Two things, what happened? Was it the toner issue that prompted you to do the, move into the pat-downs and the training? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: No. The toner plot, if you will, simply reaffirmed in my mind that we have determined an NOV who is proven adept at designing and concealing bombs in a way that make it difficult for us to detect. It reaffirmed what the GAO and IG said, that people are getting through security. My concern is that people, instead of undercover agents getting through, that it could be again, a putative terrorist. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Okay, and the other question was you have seen some of the footage that, you know, the media is having a grand time with, especially the pat-downs of women. Do you think that that footage shows that there's a problem in the system, or that the media is just having a little fun with you? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, I think it shows something that the people have not seen before, but I think back to two Russian airliners coming, I believe it in the fall of '06, that were taken down. The best intelligence is by two female suicide bombers about 90 minutes apart, where they had explosives in their bras and around their waist. Now the question is what was the screening on that, was there some other issues. But I think it was 134 people were killed between those two terrorist attacks. You know, the belief was they were Chechens, black widows as they refer to them, who brought those airliners down. So that's the challenge that we deal with, yes. MR. COOK: Yes sir. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Rob (inaudible), Congressional Quarterly. I was just wondering in TSA's relationship with Congress, do you ever sort of labor under the impression that you're given security mandates, but then when you try to force them, you're criticized pretty heavily if lawmakers don't like the way it's done. My second question is a few years ago TSA in reports said the pat-downs simply weren't working. They weren't catching explosives, and I'm wondering if the new pat-down system is going to be vetted in that same way or if it already has been vetted to see if they're still the same problems. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: In terms of the Congressional oversight and things, look. I think every member of Congress shares the goal of providing the best possible security, whether it's in the aviation sector or surface transportation, subways, trains and things like that. I think everybody also has a respect for the privacy and civil liberties that all Americans want, desire and are entitled to. I think the real question comes down for each member of Congress and each person, is again that exact blend as it applies to them. Now members have heard from their constituents loudly, you know, over the last week or two particularly, so they are reflecting those constituents' concerns as they need. So that's why I indicated one of the reasons I indicated that look, I want to what people's concerns are. As the President said, are there a lesson base of ways of doing this that achieves the same outcome. That's why I wanted to deal, go back with GAO and IG particularly, our security experts and say well, can we achieve the same outcomes by doing something less invasive, and if not, then what's the tradeoff and just have an informed discussion about that. Then in terms of your latter point, clearly I'm concerned about what they call the penetration testing, the covert testing that has been done. I've read multiple reports from GAO and IG, where they were able to defeat our security, again for several reasons. But the one common one was for lack of thoroughness in the pat-downs, either through social engineering, somebody saying something, you know, whatever it is, or simply for lack of thoroughness. So those issues, coupled with the intelligence, led me to the decision that yes, we needed to be more thorough in our pat-downs. MR. COOK: Alan? MONITOR BREAKFAST: One question I have is, of course, Abdul Matalib went through security not in the U.S. He went through it, I guess it was Europe. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Amsterdam. MONITOR BREAKFAST: And that's also been the case for a number of the recent attempts over the past ten years. Have they changed their pat-down systems and if so, I mean can you talk a little bit about that? We haven't heard much about it. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So it's on an airport-by-airport basis. Obviously, it's up to each airport to decide and each country to decide what security they apply. Now we work with them for any passengers coming to the U.S. We have threshold standards. We say you must use this type of security for any last points of departure to the U.S., because we don't want people like Abdul Matalib getting over to the U.S., as his instructions were, and blowing the [plane up with Americans or anybody else on board. So it again gets to those layers of security. So do they have, just walk through metal detectors, or do they have advanced imaging technology? Do they have explosive trace detection? Do they have pat-downs? Do they have physical inspections of carry-ons and explosive trace detection on those? All those layers of security help inform us as to how closely those foreign airports are adhering to our standards and vice-versa, knowing that the European Union has overall issues in terms of how they deal with things, and each country can, has to meet those standards and then exceed those. We also try to work through the international civil aviation organization, ICAO, which passed a security declaration at its triennial meeting in Montreal in September, which covers all 190 states, nations that are part of ICAO and of course part of the U.N. Those 190 countries said yes, there needs to be baseline security in terms of commercial passenger aircraft but also cargo. One of the challenges is the capacity of some countries, for example as in Yemen, five days after this most recent plot was discovered, the cargo plot, and met with the officials and they are all committed to working closely with us. I'd sent a team there to assess and work with them, to see how they were doing it. We had had a team there in February, I believe, of this year, and the assessment was okay, they have some baseline but they could really improve this recent plot, so you can highlight that even more. What I found is they had a basic X-ray machine from I think 2000 that was doing the cargo screening. They had no explosive trace detection; they didn't have physical inspection of most package. So there were gaps, that I'd say, in their security. So we are working with them, continue to work with them to increase their level of screening as it relates to those packages. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Has TSA revealed what kind of screening (inaudible)? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: I don't know if TSA has it, and I don't believe that's been published. I know what it was from my prior work with the FBI. I don't know if that's been published for security reasons, but it is interesting that the same bomb maker who made his device, you know, made these devices for the cargo, and of course as we saw over the weekend, the AQAP taking credit for it and describing in some detail how they beat the security screening for those two cargo packages. So I just don't know the answer to the first question. MR. COOK: Chad? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Do you think that some of this unrest over the pat-down policy stems from the general kind of ease of the country right now? I mean people are upset about the economy; we saw, you know, some of this realized in the midterm election a few weeks ago. So people are very suspect of government, and that this is just other level of this that is being materialized when they do a fairly routine thing: they go to the airport and fly? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Yeah. I try to limit my responsibilities to security and particularly aviation, and I just come back to I know the threats are real and people want to get there safely. So I would not want to comment on things beyond that area. MONITOR BREAKFAST: But there is a restlessness out there in the country right now, where they're suspect of government. I mean (inaudible). So I mean do you think that it's something, you know, that this might be the only contact that somebody has with the government, they could get on the airplane and fly and you're getting pat down? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: You know, that may be the case. I just don't have enough either information or anecdotal information to really opine on that. I have received some unsolicited comments from security officers with TSA, who have said that they have had a very positive response from the traveling public, where the traveling public has actually been much more expressive in the last week, since this became such an issue, thanking them for their service, thanking them for what they're doing, keeping them safe as they travel. So I think we see both sides. The underlying cause, I just, I don't know. MR. COOK: Shawn? MONITOR BREAKFAST: What would you say to these people that are organizing the opt-out? Would you ask them to respect, would you ask them to cancel the protest and also, you know, the grumbling over the body scans, that's been limited just to the public. Congressional Ron Paul last week introduced a bill to, dealing with the body scanners. Did you have any discussion with Representative Paul or anyone in Congress in the past week or so? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Let me take the latter question first. No, no conversations with Congressman Paul. I obviously testified twice last week before the Senate Commerce Committee and then a Senate Homeland Security Committee. So I've had a number of discussions with members of Congress about all the issues, but not Congressman Paul. He's not on the oversight committees. As to the first issue, you know, one of the great things about this country is people can peacefully protest and they can do things to express their opinions. My real concern with this is that my sense is the vast majority of people who are traveling, you know, we've got over 20 million traveling in this holiday period. They just want to get home to be with loved ones for Thanksgiving. They may agree or disagree, but they don't want to risk missing their flight, which by the way, if they miss a flight because of their own choices, I'm not sure what the airlines' policy would be to refund that. I think the average price of tickets, as I saw, was $378 for domestic tickets. So somebody actually has to invest it, so they won't get to the checkpoint unless they have a valid ticket. So I just don't know what we're going to see. I just know we're fully staffed and we want to work with people, especially those people who simply want to be in partnership with us, to get on a flight they know has been properly screened, they're safe. Somebody used the phrase "they want to arrive alive." You know, absolutely. So how do they work in partnership with us to accomplish that? MR. COOK: Daniel? MONITOR BREAKFAST: One of your screeners famously suggested that when you buy a ticket, you give up your rights or you give up a portion of your rights. Do you agree with that or how would you respond? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: I would recharacterize that. It's not a matter of rights. I think people when they hear rights, you know, at least from my law enforcement background, you have the right to remain silent and all those type of things. So I see flying as a privilege that is a public safety issue. So the government has a role in providing for the public safety, and we need to do everything we can in partnership with the traveling public, to inform them about what their options are. For example, if they go to AIT and they don't want to go through that, they have the option of going through pat-down rather than the AIT, and if they want to have a private screening, they have that option too. So I'd like to describe it in terms of that construct, to say look, let's work in partnership to achieve everybody's goal of you getting to your destination safely. MONITOR BREAKFAST: So you might not work that way (inaudible). ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well I clearly believe that passengers have a number of options as they go through screening. But the bottom line, if somebody decides they don't want to have screening, they don't have the right to get on that plane. So I mean if there's a continuum there, they don't have that right. So the right has a sense of entitlement, whereas I would distinguish between that. Because again, the bottom line, if somebody doesn't go through physical screening, they don't get on the plane. MR. COOK: Rick? MONITOR BREAKFAST: You were just talking about the idea of cooperating, and how far do you think Americans should go to make your job easier? Right now, I was just trying to think during the breakfast what we do. We take off our jackets, shoes, belts now; loose change, keys, combs, wallets, bubble gum, other things that we might have on us. What options on the passenger side are okay with you? Is it all right if we just take our pants off because we don't want to do all the other things? Would it be a lot easier to take skirts off or shirts? At what point are the passenger options to onerous for TSA? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: We want to treat each passenger with dignity and respect, and what you described is not doing that. If somebody chooses to do that, that's their choice. We of course don't require that at all. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Is it okay with you, say, to choose to do that? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well, I mean if somebody wants to protest and do something? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Protest to make your job easier? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Oh absolutely not, no, no, no. Again, the idea is to be the least invasive as we can, and yet accomplish the goal that everybody wants, is to know that you've been screened and I've been screened and every other passenger on that flight has been properly screened. There's only a certain number of ways you can accomplish that on a continuum of confidence that everybody's been screened. We believe the current technology, the current procedures we have in place give us the best opportunity to provide that high level of confidence. That being said, there are those who don't agree with that, and so a number of those people are expressing those opinions somewhat vociferously I'd say. MR. COOK: Brent. MONITOR BREAKFAST: I had a problem earlier, these screenings at the airport are one of the few interactions that average citizens have with the federal government, when you pay your taxes, when you go to the post office and when you go get on a flight. When these new procedures were being rolled out October 28th approximately, did you have interaction with the White House about how they're going to be rolled out, and did the White House come back to you and want to play a role in the messaging at that initial stage? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So let me be clear. The whole decision to implement these procedures, it was my decision. Obviously, I did that in consultation with the department and the White House, to say this is where we're going, and so I'd leave it at that. So the key was or the key for me is how do we best roll this out in a uniform, consistent way, that it doesn't provide gaps in our security. So the best way in my mind of doing that was not to make a big public announcement and say "oh, new security measures go into effect November 1." So if we broadcast that, as I mentioned earlier, what does that do in terms of a sign to the terrorists. MR. COOK: Well, before we loop back to Francine, who's had one, is there anybody who hasn't had one who wants one? Dan Thomason (ph). MONITOR BREAKFAST: Well, it seems to me the public's been enormously tolerant all along of these procedures up until now. I'm not sure that the majority don't even approve of this. I'm sure they do. But are you surprised at the reaction you're getting from people who don't want to be touched and handled and put through incredible -- and it seems to me, as Rick says, we've gone a long way. Now where do we -- how further shall we go with this? I have one other question you could answer. How do you like the job now? (Laughter.) ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Fascinating, in one word. You know, in terms of the public reaction, it really comes down to if people are expressing their personal beliefs and feelings because of something they've experienced, or they are projecting that because of what they have seen or heard depicted in the media, or blogs or things like that, and I just don't have a real sense of that, how much of that is personally based. I do know, and I think initially we've had 34 million people travel since we instituted these procedures, as it relates to the enhanced pat-down, and very few, a very small percentage of the people have actually received the pat-down. So it seems like again, almost everybody is receiving a through pat-down and that's just not the case. So I just don't have a way of calibrating that, but clearly there is a lot of concern that's been expressed, and I'm sensitive to that. That's why I want to try to find are there less intrusive means of accomplishing the same level security, and how do we best go about doing that. MR. COOK: Ashley, were you -- that's okay. Francine? MONITOR BREAKFAST: On profiling, so pilots are exempt and kids under 12 are exempt. Can there be any further profiling of other groups? Can we make this whole procedure really quite a bit less than it is right now? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: The goal of a risk-based intelligence-driven approach is to do just that. How can we identify people who are of less risk, and provide a different level of security screening, such as pilots. Look, they're in charge of the aircraft. To me, it just makes sense, and I think most security experts would agree, that no amount of physical screening is going to change the fact that the pilot is in charge of the aircraft. So that's risk management. You know, I hear things about well, what about grandmothers and things? Well, I hope no grandmother would ever be, you know, a suicide bomber I think. But I do know that there have been two 64 year-olds who have committed suicide attacks in the world. Again, not here in the U.S. Okay. So we can well, everybody 65 and older should be exempt. What I'm concerned about is terrorists going out and getting somebody who is 65. You know just, so where do you draw the line and there's no perfect science to this. It's trying to be intelligence-driven. So what does the intelligence tell us? We know that teenagers have been used as suicide bombers. We know that infants have been used to smuggle drugs, you know, in carriers and things. So where do we draw the line is the question of what does intelligence tell us, and how can we best inform our judgments based on that intelligence? MR. COOK: We've got about ten minutes left. Jake? MONITOR BREAKFAST: On Friday, Chairman Bennie Thompson and Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee wrote a letter about the pat-downs, and one of the things they asked was for information on all complaints filed with respect to the enhanced pat-down procedure. How formal is the process for logging those complaints, investigating those complaints? Do you keep statistics on them? Do you have sort of an internal (inaudible) that investigates them and exposes of them, you know? On what basis do you report that? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So I spoke with both Chairman Thompson and Chairwoman Jackson-Lee, the committee and subcommittee levels on Friday, I believe it was, about their concerns and what is the best way forward, and they told me about the letter they were sending. Their concerns, what they heard from constituents about privacy and civil liberties, and asked for additional information. So we're compiling all that right now. I don't have the results of that, but we will be providing that, because they are the oversight committees on the House Homeland Security side of things. Our mechanism is really twofold. One is if somebody at the time feels that they have been subjected to inappropriate screening, then they can report that a supervisor right then and there, and then the supervisor has the responsibility for reporting it back into our Office of Inspection for follow-up. We do have an internal Office of Inspection. The inspector general also has the right of first refusal on any what might be considered misconduct by a TSA employee, just as all inspector generals do for the U.S. government, for their respective departments. That's the DHS inspector general. The other is if they don't, if they want to think about it, or just as they think about it later, after they travel or something, that you know, that just didn't seem right, they can go to our TSA.gov website and there's actually two mechanisms there. One is a tab called "Talk to TSA," just to give feedback. If you just say, you know, I'd just like to give you feedback, and as opposed to filing a complaint, they can do that. That would also be referred to our Office of Inspection for follow-up. I guess that was it, yeah. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Are you seeing complaints go up as a result? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: We have seen, I don't have any numbers on it, but I understand the numbers have gone up as the number of people who have been given a thorough pat-down has gone up. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Have you disciplined any TSA officers (inaudible)? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Well no, because I want to make sure we get all the facts. You know, some of these things I've seen in the media and everything are the frankly somewhat sensationalized. Maybe. I don't know. So one of the things is I want to make sure is I have all the facts before I would take any judgment, because the security officers are doing what they have been trained and taught to do. They should be. If they are exceeding that, then I need to have the facts as developed by our Office of Inspection or the inspector general, to know what actually happened, to get statements from the traveler, from the security officer, and if there's any videotape, you know, a number of the airports have videotapes. We've seen some reports a couple of weeks ago. Some woman said she was handcuffed to a chair, you know, for all this time, subjected to all this abuse. Well, we go and pull the videotape and that's not the story. She got a lot of coverage out there, and frankly, it just was not accurate. All the things she described were not accurate. So I don't want to jump to conclusions. I want to support the workforce, because they're there to protect us. If somebody has done something that would constitute misconduct, then we'll take appropriate action. MONITOR BREAKFAST: I was just wondering if you're going to go back with the GAO and the IG and look at these procedures. When you do, if you do come up with any conclusions for a less intrusive method, do you think sort of the second time around there would be a different media strategy, that you'd want to get in front of a story? And also there's been a background question with the back scatter machines about the long term home effects, and I'm just wondering, when you have one technology that presents a miniscule health risk or a possible health risk, not even a guarantee, and another that has no known health risk, why deploy both? I believe back scatter has actually been deployed in larger numbers. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So a couple of issues there. One, the studies that we had done were for both, and both say they are well below any minimum standards. I saw something in, I think it was a Johns Hopkins study, that said that you'd have to do 44,000 scans in a year even to get to that basic level of any concern, and still that's well below that. So another study said, you know, it's the equivalent of two to three minutes at altitude that everybody gets when flying at 30,000 feet. So a lot of anecdotes in that regard. But the bottom line is they say they're safe and secure. I know one of the questions, they said well, what about the long term exposure, let's say 20 to 30 years of this, and there's just not empirical data for that at this point. So we're relying on what we have been provided by the outside experts, to say this is safe. There's another -- MONITOR BREAKFAST: Just about, you know, when you go back and do the GAO review. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Oh right. So what I'm hoping to do to obtain as a result of this review is to be informed by the experts, who have done all this covert testing, all this penetration testing, say what specifically did you find in these instances where you're able to get contraband, whether it's an actual mock-up gun or, for example, a ceramic knife through AIT, because it doesn't pick up or I mean, I'm sorry, walk through a metal detector. What have you been able to get through AIT? How can we take that information and what conclusions or judgments did they make that okay, if we modified our pat-down procedures or our advanced procedures and technology, what degradation do we have in levels of security? So that's -- I just need to be informed by that, and I don't have that now. MR. COOK: I'm going to go to Chris, who hasn't had one, Sharon, Alan and by 9:30. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Two questions. One is with the next generation technology, when do you think that you'll have that, and do you need, you know, like special funding from Congress in order -- are you trying to accelerate that? The other question is you mentioned AQAP over the weekend taking credit, and they also talked about using the international mail system? So how do you assess that threat of the international mail system, and what do you think can be done about it? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: As it relates to the mail system, what we instituted after the Yemen cargo plot, of course, was a ground hold on packages going on cargo and then also toner cartridges over 16 ounces, but also looking at really a distinction between two categories. One is the trusted shipper known shippers, and then the high risk, as it applies to the U.S. Postal and international postal systems. We're using a similar construct, but this is all done in collaboration and coordination with host governments and things. But looking at are there high risk postal packages that are being mailed, that may cause concern. So we'll just ask that Postal authorities around the world step up their security and screening. If they get something, you know, a five pound package that has something -- I'm just using the Yemen example. So you have a computer printer and some clothing and things going from Yemen to Chicago. The shipper in that instance had actually already identified that as a high risk package, just based on the common sense of saying why would somebody in Yemen be shipping a computer printer to Chicago. They're paying $500, by the way, to ship this, when you can buy it in Chicago for much less. So that had been flagged in a way. So that's what we're willing to do, work with, in those instances, cargo shippers, but also Postal authorities. Basically a "know your customer" type approach. If you do have concerns, there are a number of options you have. Do you have any type of explosive trace detection; do you have, you know, bomb-sniffing dogs? Do you have X-ray machines, advanced technology X-ray, AT2? What do you have that can give some assurance, especially as it relates to parcel posts going on passenger aircraft? That's the highest risk category. MR. COOK: Sharon. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Two questions. You were asked on the Hill last week to describe exactly what were the new procedures for the pat-down, and you declined to specify them, saying you were concerned a terrorist could use them. But as a member of the flying public, if you feel that a screener has done something inappropriate, how do you know if something's appropriate or inappropriate without knowing the procedures? Second, I hate to, but returning to the body pat-down issue, why couldn't someone use a cell phone, a garage door opener, I mean the same type of thing we've seen in IEDs? You yourself have said that terrorists are always looking for that next thing. ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: So to take your latter one first, you know, we "what if" things all the time. So what if somebody did with this, what if somebody does that, and then we try to balance that against what would we need to do if they could do that? One of the concerns about the cargo plot was that they could be detonated through a cell phone transmission? That was not the case, but that was one of the initial concerns. So there's been research done on, you know, containing or container holds at HULD, the procedure by encasing cargo in bomb-resistant containers in the cargo hold. So there's a whole continuum of okay, if they do this, what do we do? So in terms of trying to balance risk, again, every piece of information I have says that terrorists have not been successful in using that type of bomb, in terms of the body cavity. So we are taking some risk by not doing any screening, but it's the balance of what is appropriate level of risk versus screening. So that's the approach we try to use on that. As it relates to -- MONITOR BREAKFAST: If you don't detail exactly what the procedures, how -- I mean everyone could complain who would not complain if they don't know what's appropriate? ADMINISTRATOR PISTOLE: Sure. So we have tried to be informative, in terms of saying here's what we are doing in terms of a more thorough pat-down, without revealing to the terrorists that okay, if -- I mean if we do a demonstration for the media and say this is exactly what we're doing, my concern is there will be terrorists who are watching that will say okay, here is their protocol. Here's what we need to do to beat it. So it's a balance. Now at some point we may decide that just for the benefit of the traveling public, to be reassured that this is a proper procedure, we may decide to do that. It's just -- again, it's a balance in terms of how much do you inform and how much, who is the audience you're informing. So yeah, I mean I would like to say okay, here's exactly what we're doing. So if somebody, a security officer does something, anything different from that, then that's inappropriate, and we need to report and we'll deal with that. Again, how do we balance that and in my mind, there's no easy answers. MR. COOK: We still have people with questions, but it's 9:30. I want to thank you for doing this very much sir, and I appreciate all you're doing to keep us safe. (Whereupon, the interview was concluded.)