Eileen Sullivan reports on the AP via Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON — Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.
Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
The heightened new security procedures by the Transportation Security Administration, which involve either a scan by a full-body detector or an intimate personal pat-down, have spurred passenger outrage in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday airport crush.
On Friday, the TSA exempted pilots from the new procedures; flight attendants received the same privilege on Tuesday, TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball confirmed. Both groups must show photo ID and go through metal detectors. If that sets off an alarm, they may still get a pat-down in some cases, he said. The rules apply to pilots and flight attendants in uniform when they’re traveling.
While passengers have no choice but to submit to either the detector or what some complain is an intrusive pat-down, some senior government officials can opt out if they fly accompanied by government security guards approved by the TSA.
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