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What significance did former administrator John Pistole have on TSA?

John Pistole had a significant impact on the TSA by working as administrator for four years and reinforcing extensive search policies as counter-terrorism measures within public transportation.

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John Pistole served as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration from June 2010 to December 2014. He came to the TSA after a long career in counter-terrorism with the FBI, finally serving as deputy director from 2004 to 2010.

During his time at the TSA, Pistole is best known for his robust defense of the Administration's search policies, including controversial "pat down" procedures. In November of 2010, he appeared on CNN to say that however invasive and uncomfortable people might find the search procedures, they were vitally important in maintaining public safety. Pistole dismissed constitutional objections and said that the "horror stories" which had been reported were inaccurate.

Pistole's support for these procedures, as well as for the use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), ensured that they were not modified during his tenure as administrator, though they have changed since his resignation. His stance brought the TSA into direct conflict with Amtrak in February 2011, when a TSA team attempted to search everyone who entered a station in Savannah, Georgia. The Chief of Amtrak Police, John O'Connor, said the searches were illegal and ordered all TSA employees to leave Amtrak property. Incidents such as this did much to create a public perception of the TSA as a law unto itself, though Pistole's supporters averred that the actions he approved were necessary counter-terrorism measures.

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