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John Pistole, TSA Administrator John Pistole, TSA Administrator

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2013 Security

Homeland Security Department

John Pistole, TSA Administrator

As administrator, Pistole oversees security for travel throughout the country. The Transportation Security Administration deals with more than 1.8 million passengers per day in airports alone, "anyone of whom may be a terrorist," Pistole says. He joined TSA in 2010 after more than 25 years with the FBI, where he ended as deputy director. The two agencies have a similar national security mission, he says, adding that a key for TSA is trying to "manage expectations." The son of a pastor, Pistole, 57, grew up Anderson, Ind., receiving a bachelor's in American studies and pre-law, then a law degree from Indiana University. Pistole practiced for about two years before deciding to switch careers. He said he was drawn to "the aura … and the mystique of being an FBI officer," noting that he had a "great time" at the agency. TSA, criticized for its use of full-body scanners, announced recently that it would not use them in every airport. Pistole said the agency was in the process of moving to "maturing, risk-based security" from its one-size-fits-all system. The program would divide passengers based on potential risk and certain age groups, while trying to make the screening process more efficient.

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