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“Competition drives accountability, it drives efficiency, it drives a particular approach to your airport,” Mr. Dale said. “That company is just going to be looking at you. They’re not going to be driven out of Washington, they will be driven out of here.”

San Francisco International Airport has used private screeners since the formation of the TSA and remains the largest to do so.

The airport believed a private contractor would have more flexibility to supplement staff during busy periods with part-time employees, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. Also, the city’s high cost of living had made it difficult in the past to recruit federal employees to run immigration and customs stations — a problem the airport didn’t want at security checkpoints.

“You get longer lines,” Mr. McCarron said.

TSA spokesman Greg Soule would not respond directly Mr. Mica’s letter, but reiterated the nation’s roughly 460 commercial airports have the option of applying to use private contractors.

Companies that provide airport security are contributors to Mr. Mica’s campaigns, although some donations came before those companies won government contracts. The Lockheed Martin Corp. Employees’ Political Action Committee has given $36,500 to Mr. Mica since 1997. A Lockheed firm won the security contract in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2005 and the contract for San Francisco the following year.

Raytheon Company’s PAC has given Mr. Mica $33,500 since 1999. A Raytheon subsidiary began providing checkpoint screenings at Key West International Airport in 2007.

FirstLine Transportation Security Inc.’s PAC has donated $4,500 to the Florida congressman since 2004. FirstLine has been screening baggage and has been responsible for passenger checkpoints at the Kansas City International Airport since 2006, as well as the Gallup Municipal Airport and the Roswell Industrial Air Center in New Mexico, operating at both since 2007.

Since 2006, Mr. Mica has received $2,000 from FirstLine President Keith Wolken and $1,700 from Gerald Berry, president of Covenant Aviation Security. Covenant works with Lockheed to provide security at airports in Sioux Falls and San Francisco.

Mica spokesman Justin Harclerode said the contributions never improperly influenced the congressman, who said he was unaware Raytheon or Lockheed were in the screening business.

“They certainly never contacted him about providing screening,” Mr. Harclerode said.

Anger over the screenings hasn’t just come from passengers. Two veteran commercial airline pilots asked a federal judge this week to stop the whole-body scans and the new pat-down procedures, saying it violates their civil rights.

The pilots, Michael S. Roberts of Memphis and Ann Poe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have refused to participate in either screening method and, as a result, will not fly out of airports that use these methods, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington.

Mr. Roberts is a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines and is on unpaid administrative leave because of his refusal to enter the whole-body scanners. Ms. Poe flies for Continental Airlines and will continue to take off work as long as the existing regulations are in place.

“In her eyes, the pat-down is a physical molestation and the WBI scanner is not only intrusive, degrading and potentially dangerous, but poses a real and substantial threat to medical privacy,” the lawsuit states.

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