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TSA Needs to 'Get a Grip'… of a Different Sort


John “Don’t touch my junk” Tyner is an American hero. Airport security ejected him from the San Diego airport after he refused the choice between a naked body scan and a crotch grab – and he recorded the whole affair on his cell phone. John Tyner’s confrontation calls into question the entire Transportation Security Agency (TSA) apparatus.

The TSA believes that it must view your naked body with a scanner or place a hand on your private parts to safeguard the flying public from terrorists. I have advice for the TSA: you can spend a trillion dollars to make air travel safe and it won’t work. Islamists will simply board an aircraft originating in a nation with weaker security or go after a school or a bus or a subway. By incurring unending costs and eroding our freedoms, the terrorists win and we lose just a bit each day.

We can’t defend everything – and certainly not using processes drawn from the bureaucratic-industrial complex. Consider this: no TSA employee has ever caught or stopped a terrorist but alert passengers and intelligence has. This says volumes about the nature of the threat and our ham-handed response to it.

Rather than invest in costly, privacy-invading machines run by legions of sleepy federal employees, we should look to the Israeli airport security model for ideas. To do so we need to train our TSA force more, pay them more, employ fewer of them and empower them to use their brains to look at each passenger, ask them questions and yes, profile.

With security, the best defense is a good offense. It’s time to rethink our long-running battle with militant Islamism (which has its origins with our fight with the Barbary Pirates from 1801 to 1815). Instead of spending unending sums of money and throwing away our liberty in a vain quest to make us safe from every form of terror, why don’t we simply increase the cost for Muslim nations to host terrorists?

Thomas Jefferson’s response to the Barbary Pirates is instructive. After Islamist forces seized U.S. shipping and held American crews hostage, Jefferson approved a punitive expedition to North Africa. This action saw the U.S. Navy blockading the ports used by the pirate-terrorists while eight U.S. Marines lead a force of 500 Mediterranean mercenaries in a prototypical special forces operation whose object was regime change. The operation was successful and the Marines got the opening line to their hymn: “…to the shores of Tripoli.”

Rather than countenance a federal invasion of privacy of American air travelers, why not issue the following ultimatum to terror tolerating nations?

  • If you fund terror we will put a tariff on your oil or other products – call it, the “Terror Tariff” – and we’ll invest the money raised in Predator drones and missiles, special forces, and alternative energy research.
  • If you allow terrorists to train on your soil and we will kill them and maybe your leadership too.
  • And, if we topple your terrorist-loving government, we won’t spend a dime to occupy your nation and rebuild it – you get to do that.
  • If you leave us alone, we’ll return the favor. But, if you, or your terrorist proxies attack us, you may not live to see the morning.

Bottom line: we Americans get to keep our liberty and the bad guys get to lose their lives, which, when you think about it, is doubly satisfying in an especially American kind of way.

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