Most Americans Agree with Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) that citizen’s right to travel is being violated by the federal government every day. Searching of toddlers, infants and the elderly is a waste of resources and a concrete example of the federal government harassing American travellers. Sen. Paul questioned Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) John Pistole in a Senate hearing of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Pistole’s answers to Sen. Paul’s questions should be of concern to those who love freedom and want reasonable policies implemented by the federal government to thwart aviation terrorism.
Paul said to Pistole:
You’re missing the boat on terrorism because you’re doing these invasive searches on six-year old girls. Same week that this happened I got a call from another neighbor of mine in Bowling Green, a little boy had a broken foot and crutches. They didn’t want to go through all the screenings, so they took the crutches off and the cast and he wanted to hobble through on his broken foot. His dad was helping him. TSA said “back away, back away.” Then he had to go through the special search because he previously had a cast on, even though the cast went through the belt. When the dad comes close they say “back away, back away.” “If you don’t back away you won’t fly.” This kind of gets back to this whole idea of what are willing to do, what are we willing to give up as a country. In your interview with ABC News, you said “I see flying as a privilege.” There are those of us who see otherwise. The Supreme Court concluded in Saenz vs. Roe in 1999 says that although the word travel is not found in the text in the constitution, yet the constitutional right to travel from one state to another is firmly embedded in our jurisprudence. Justice Stewart went on to say in Shapiro vs. Thompson that the right to travel is so important that it is assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. A virtually unconditional constitutional right guaranteed by the Constitution to us all. This isn’t to say we don’t believe in safety procedures. But I think I feel less safe when you’re doing these invasive exams on a six-year old.
The stories of average Americans being harassed with unreasonable searches has expanded over the past few years and it does not seem as if the TSA is getting the message that they are wasting resources when they search people who clearly do not pose a threat to the flying public.
TSA Administrator Pistole defended the pat downs of six year old little girls and implied that this little girl could be a suicide bomber pursuant to “risk based security assessments.”
Sen. Paul argued that the TSA is acting “clueless” and in a politically correct manner in conducting screening.
It makes me think you’re clueless, if you think she’s going to attack our country and you’re not doing your research on the people who want to attack our country. It absolutely must involve a risk assessment of those who are traveling. And the fact that she’s being patted down and I don’t feel comfortable really with your response that we are no longer doing random pat-downs. I think you ought to get rid of the random pat-downs. The American public is unhappy with them, they’re unhappy with the invasiveness of them. The Internet is full of jokes about the invasiveness of the pat-down searches and we ought to just consider, is this what we’re willing to do. The other thing is while we’re doing that there are examples of where we’ve had let-downs. When Faisal Shahzad got on the plane, the alleged Times Square bomber, he was on a watch list. Everybody said, “it was the airline that let us down.” Well he had to go through TSA screening. There were 10 hours, we ought to be able to react. Is the TSA looking at flight manifests? Doing background research of people getting on and off the planes? Are we targeting or looking at those who might attack us?
The federal government needs to do a better job of finding the bad guys before they show up at the airport to fly a plane. They need to stop with the politically correct harassing screening that are enraging so many travellers.
TSA lost the idea of common sense? Most Americans would say “Yes.”