Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Ron Paul: Replace TSA With Private Security

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Ron PaulTexas Congressman Ron Paul was interviewed Tuesday on Fox Radio's Tom Sullivan Show and took the opportunity to restate his position that the naked body scans and enhanced pat-downs by employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are unconstitutional. He declared that the TSA is “invasive, unnecessary, and ineffective,” and said it should be replaced by private security forces.

The Blaze notes that Paul "rejected the underlying premise of the TSA wholesale — that federal bureaucrats will keep us safer than private enterprises with direct interest in the safety (and satisfaction) of their customers."

Paul observed that those at the TSA who are performing the enhanced pat-downs are not "the most reputable people.” He also noted the double standard concerning behavior by the TSA which is considered acceptable, commenting, “We would be arrested if we did this.”

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Of Paul’s appearance on the television show, The Blaze reports:

The Congressman went on to catalog the long history of federal failures to avert terrorist attacks, even going as far [as] to state that federal policies — no guns on the plane, no resistance to hijackers — created an atmosphere that encouraged terrorists to target planes. He cited an overall big government tendency to demand “submissiveness” as the root cause of our troubles with the TSA, as well as a host of other federal overreaches.

Following his criticism of the TSA, Paul went on to recommend that airports should opt for private security, pointing out that federal bureaucrats are less qualified than those in the private sector to provide security.

This is not the first time Congressman Paul has suggested a transition to private airport security. During the Fourth of July weekend, he resorted to particularly strong language to emphasize his point:

The press reports are horrifying. Ninety-five year old women humiliated, children molested, disabled people abused. Men and women subject to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas, and involuntary radiation exposure.

If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately in this case, the perpetrators are armed federal agents.

Criticism of the TSA has escalated with news last month of the unionization of the agency by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Following the runoff election between the AFGE and the National Treasury Employee Union (NTEU), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) observed wryly,

The traveling public will be absolutely delighted to learn that Big Labor has captured the TSA’s army of airport screeners. The Obama administration today can check the box on another boost for Big Labor and a significant setback for the traveling public.

Congressman Paul has been arguably the most outspoken opponent of the TSA, earlier this month introducing legislation to diminish its authority: the American Traveler Dignity Act, which would criminalize the invasive searches by TSA employees. “It means they are not above laws the rest of us must obey,” Paul explained.

As far as privatizing airport security, Paul elaborated,

What we need is real privatization of security, but not phony privatization with the same TSA screeners in private security firm uniforms still operating under the 'guidance' of the federal government. Real security will be achieved when the airlines are once again in charge of protecting their property and their passengers.

While Paul’s calls for less federal control over airline security were largely ignored in 2001, the increased outrage over TSA abuses and failures has led many more Americans to question the need for its services.

Thumbnail photo: Ron Paul being interviewed on Fox Radio's Tom Sullivan Show

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