The current head of airline security says one reason why the feds waited to start stepped-up airport security procedures may have been due to delays in the selection of a TSA Director.
In a conference call with reporters, TSA Chief John Pistole was asked why the extra pat-downs at airports were introduced now, and not soon after the Christmas Day bomb attempt that involved a bomb hidden in the underwear of Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Pistole said as soon as the "underwear bomb" was discovered, the TSA immediately began consulting with security experts on how best to change their screening procedures to stop such attack plots.
"Frankly, it just came down to the fact that there was not a Presidentially-appointed, Senate confirmed Administrator in place," Pistole said, referring to the lengthy delay encountered by the Obama White House in getting someone for the job.
Pistole was actually the third choice of President Obama, as the first nominee pulled his name from consideration in January of this year; then in March, a second nomination unraveled, as a former Army intelligence officer pulled out.
Pistole said because there was no confirmed TSA Director, the decision on increased security measures was not made - "that was a big part of it" he told reporters on Tuesday evening.
Pistole, who was a top official at the FBI, was chosen next by President Obama. Pistole was confirmed by the Senate for the TSA post at the end of June.
Pistole said the post-Underwear bomb review, along with the recent bomb plots involving cargo planes caused the TSA to make changes in the way air passengers are screened.
"We've obviously used some new procedures, in terms of our pat-downs, which has received extensive publicity," Pistole said, arguing that when paired with new "advanced imaging" machines are a key part of the latest anti-terrorist efforts at U.S. airports.
"Those machines give us the best possible opportunity for detecting the Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber," said Pistole.
The odd part about the controversy over the pat downs is that support is actually increasing in polls for the advanced imaging machines, whereas a few weeks ago, there was opposition to them.
People must figure it's better to have that, as opposed to an "invasive" pat down.