TSA: Keeping America Safe…from Ron Paul?

TSA Sees These as the Faces of Terrorism

Everyone keeps harping on how the Israelis have licked their security problems through effective profiling of airline passengers, so the TSA decided it would give it a whirl—but it turns out TSA “Behavior Detection Officers” can’t do that well, either. Internal whistleblowers claim they’re engaging in racism, prompting “retraining,” according to this CNN report.

In the meantime, the agency has apparently decided to target the biggest actual threat to its continued existence—the Paul family. Yesterday, eight TSA agents descended on 77-year-old Ron Paul, his 76-year-old wife, and their granddaughter at the tiny Clearwater, FL airport as the Paul family was boarding a private plane to return home after it had become clear there was no reason for them to stay at the Republican National Convention.

(For those of us who don’t normally travel by private plane, TSA does not usually operate at private airplane terminals. The fact that eight TSA officers spontaneously decided to target this particular private plane is thus all the more noteworthy.)

Congressman Ron Paul, of course, famously introduced the “American Traveler Dignity Act” to rein in this unaccountable agency and its goons; while his son, Senator Rand Paul, has similarly vocally led the charge to abolish the TSA—most recently before the enthusiastic, 10,000-strong audience at the “We Are the Future Rally” for Ron Paul held Sunday in Tampa. Introducing his father as the culmination of the 6-hour rally, Sen. Paul opened his remarks with a several minute rip against the TSA, concluding with a description of “the stance” demanded by TSA in its backscatter machines as not the pose of a free man.

Yesterday, TSA took its revenge, detaining and demanding a thorough search of the Paul family and plane, over the objections of their pilot. Mrs. Paul, who has a pacemaker, refused to be screened, and one of the Congressman’s aides began recording the proceedings. At that, agents apparently thought better of their thuggery, and let the family continue on its way.

An agency that accords this kind of treatment to a nationally-known Presidential candidate and Congressman and his wife, both of the most sweet and humble demeanor—and which further has no record of securing anyone’s safety—is well and truly an agency that needs to be shut down without further ado, and its agents thrown out on their tushes good and hard.

Doing so would also signal a sorely-needed return to collective sanity and throwing off of the lemming-like behavior that’s gripped this country since 9/11.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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