Ron Paul to TSA: Stop Irradiating Our Bodies!

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Ron Paul introduced legislation to protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse by federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees conducting screenings at the nation’s airports:

A BILL – HR 6416

To ensure that certain Federal employees cannot hide behind immunity.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives Federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), x-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual’s body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual’s parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent.

Ron Paul introduced the “American Traveler Dignity Act” (HR 6416) with the following words. (This is a transcript of his actual speech.)

Ron Paul: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise this evening to announce that I introduced some legislation today dealing with the calamity that we have found at our airports with TSA. Something has to be done. Everybody is fed up. The people are fed up, the pilots are fed up, I’m fed up.

You know, I’ve come to this floor many times over the past many years and complained about the terrible foreign policy we’ve had, the terrible monetary policy we’ve had, the excessive spending and the debt and also the tax policy. But what we’re doing and what we’re accepting in putting up with at this airport is so symbolic of us just not standing up and saying, “Enough is enough”.

I know the American people are starting to wake up, but our government, those in charge – Congress as well as the executive branch – are doing nothing. Yes, they’re talking about maybe backing off and allowing the pilots to go through. But can you think how silly the whole thing is? The pilot has a gun in the cockpit, and he’s managing this aircraft, which is a missile, and we make him go through this groping x-ray exercise, having people feeling their underwear. It’s absurd, and it’s time we wake up.

The bill I’ve introduced will take care of this. But we have to realize that the real problem is that the American people have been too submissive, we have been too submissive. It’s been going on for a long time, and this was to be expected even from the beginning of the TSA and it’s deeply flawed. Private property should be protected by private individuals, not bureaucrats.

But the bill that I’ve introduced will take care of it. It’s very simple, it’s one paragraph long. It removes the immunity from anybody in the federal government that does anything that you or I can’t do. If you can’t grope another person and if you can’t x-ray people and endanger them with possible x-rays, you can’t take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail. He’d be immediately arrested if an individual citizen went out and did these things, and yet we just sit there calmly and say, “Oh, they’re making us safe”.

And, besides, the argument from the executive branch is that when you buy a ticket, you have sacrificed your rights, and it is the duty of the government to make us safe. That isn’t the case. You never have to sacrifice your rights. The duty of the government is to protect our rights, not to abuse them and do what they have been doing to us. The pilots hopefully will be exempted from this.

But another suggestion I have that might help us: let’s make sure that every member of Congress goes through this. Get the x-ray and make them look at the pictures, and then go through one of those groping pat downs. And then I think there will be a difference. Have everybody in the executive branch, anybody who is a cabinet member, make them go through it and look at it. Maybe they would pay more attention.

But this doesn’t work, this is not what makes us safer, this is preposterous to think that the TSA has made us safer.

You know, when you think about it, if you look at what’s happened over the past 10 years, during this last decade, we lost 3000 on a terrible, terrible day for America. But since that time in this last decade, we have also lost 6,000 of our military personnel going over there and trying to rectify this problem. We have lost 400,000 people on our government-run highways. We have lost 150,000 individuals from homicides. So I think there’s reason to be concerned, reason to deal with this problem. We’re not dealing with it the right way, we’re doing the wrong thing, and groping people at the airport doesn’t solve our problems.

What has solved our problems, basically, has been that they put a good lock on the door and they put a gun inside the cockpit. That’s been the greatest boon to our safety. Safety should be the responsibility of the individual and the private property owner. But right now, we assume the government’s always going to take care of us and we’re supposed to sacrifice our liberties. I say that is wrong, we are not safer and we also know there are individuals who are making money of this. Michael Chertoff; I mean, here’s a guy who was the head of the TSA – selling the equipment. And the equipment is questionable; we don’t even know if it works, and it may well be dangerous to our health.

You know, the way I see this; if this doesn’t change, I see what has happened to the American people is we have accepted the notion that we should be treated like cattle. “Make us safe, make us secure, put us into barbed wire, feed us, fatten us up”, and then they’ll eat us. And we’re a bunch of cattle if we have to wait and say, “We’ve had it”. I think this whole idea of an opt-out day is just great. We ought to opt-out and make the point, get somebody to watch it and take a camera, it’s time for the American people to stand up, shrug off the shackles of our government and TSA at the airport.

These are Ron Paul’s prepared remarks:

Ron Paul: Mr. Speaker, today I introduce legislation to protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse by federal Transportation Security Administration employees conducting screenings at the nation’s airports. We have seen the videos of terrified children being grabbed and probed by airport screeners. We have read the stories of Americans being subjected to humiliating body imaging machines and/or forced to have the most intimate parts of their bodies poked and fondled. We do not know the potentially harmful effects of the radiation emitted by the new millimeter wave machines.

In one recent well-publicized case, a TSA official is recorded during an attempted body search saying, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.” I strongly disagree and am sure I am not alone in believing that we Americans should never give up our rights in order to travel. As our Declaration of Independence states, our rights are inalienable. This TSA version of our rights looks more like the “rights” granted in the old Soviet Constitutions, where freedoms were granted to Soviet citizens — right up to the moment the state decided to remove those freedoms.

The incident of the so-called “underwear bomber” last Christmas is given as justification for the billions of dollars the federal government is spending on the new full-body imaging machines, but a Government Accountability Office study earlier this year concluded that had these scanners been in use they may not have detected the explosive material that was allegedly brought onto the airplane. Additionally, there have been recent press reports calling into question the accuracy and adequacy of these potentially dangerous machines.

My legislation is simple. It establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person. It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Imagine if the political elites in our country were forced to endure the same conditions at the airport as business travelers, families, senior citizens, and the rest of us. Perhaps this problem could be quickly resolved if every cabinet secretary, every member of Congress, and every department head in the Obama administration were forced to submit to the same degrading screening process as the people who pay their salaries.

I warned at the time of the creation of the TSA that an unaccountable government entity in control of airport security would provide neither security nor defend our basic freedom to travel. Yet the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats then in Congress willingly voted to create another unaccountable, bullying agency– in a simple-minded and unprincipled attempt to appease public passion in the wake of 9-11. Sadly, as we see with the steady TSA encroachment on our freedom and dignity, my fears in 2001 were justified.

The solution to the need for security at US airports is not a government bureaucracy. The solution is to allow the private sector, preferably the airlines themselves, to provide for the security of their property. As a recent article in Forbes magazine eloquently stated, “The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility.” In the meantime, I hope we can pass this legislation and protect Americans from harm and humiliation when they choose to travel.


  • youjerkbryan

    Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither. … People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and … Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security. -Benjamin Franklin

  • dkkght46

    Now get this, they have a no-grope list — a roster of the privileged federal officials and politicians who don’t have to be subjected to TSA’s grabby hands. Seems to me that the very people who are exempt from the pat downs are the very people who need to be patted down….on their way to jail! Of course Timmy Geithner is on the list. He doesn’t pay taxes, why should he have to be groped by TSA? DHS motto: Homeland security waivers for we, but not for thee.

  • dkkght46

    Now get a load of the no-grope list — a roster of the privileged federal officials and politicians who don’t have to be subjected to TSA’s grabby hands. Seems to me that the very people who are exempt from the pat downs are the very people who need to be patted down….on their way to jail! Of course Timmy Geithner is on the list. He doesn’t pay taxes, why should he have to be groped by TSA? DHS motto: Homeland security waivers for we, but not for thee.

  • PikSokolit

    Years from now, when everything collapses–we’ll all be say Ron Paul WAS RIGHT !!

  • travelwithdignity

    Thank you Ron Paul for supporting freedom in all its forms and helping us regain some dignity at the airport. Some friends and I created a site TravelWithDignity.(com) to track the TSA scanners, find updates on ways to fight the TSA, and share your opt out stories.

  • starlite33

    Right on, Ron!

  • MyMeditrax

    Mr Ron Paul is an American saving grace!
    Embrace his words of wisdom because he’s the only horse worth betting on in the next Presidential race! Change you can believe in

  • asteward2010

    Thank You Mr. Ron Paul. You must run in 2012; We will stand behind you! Keep up the good fight.

  • Nightlight2289

    3 people are wall mart rejects who now work with the TSA…

  • ColeJ34

    That Amendment guarantees you a “reasonable” search, and people looking at detailed, savable, images of me is not reasonable or necessary. Neither is a groin search. There just has to be another way. I am tired of this “Patriot Act” idea. It is absolutely illegal to begin with, and yet we have people scared of the government providing healthcare and saying that takes away their rights. But the same folk “feel safer” every time we set a violative precedent against the 4th Amendment. Just dumb.

  • hodad52

    why is this man NOT USA President,
    he is the best of them all

  • ColeJ34

    Well said. I think part of the reason people feel so violated is that this machine shows the user every detail of your body as it is. And for what purpose? What is wrong with the user getting a generic body image that simply shows him or her where the problem spot is? And what is the point of creating rules that are supposed to defend liberties you have to give up to protect. Dumb. I’ll stick with the 4th Amendment, even if the airport is considered a U.S. border and search point.

  • MrLeeAnonymous

    What a Republican should be. I love Ron Paul. I love his viewpoint. I would vote for him as President any day of the week. He has heart. Ron Paul W()()T

  • wildcats2012


  • tylervillasenor

    Its hard for me to believe that there is not already a technology out there that can “smell” explosive chemicals. I bet there is already an App for that.

  • gfactormda

    That Ron Paul fella – what is he doing making sense again? Standing up for individual rights and that silly Constitution? Serves this country right, he could have been President in 2008, but instead we chose more the same. What will you do in 2012?

  • zidanetri27


  • tafxkz

    3 TSA workers saw this video

  • Peter Robinson

    To Gregory Stites.

    Remember that it was under the Bush administration that our loss of rights was started for the purpose of giving money to the military and corrupt corporations that paid for the best government (for them) that money can buy.

    I don’t care who started this nonsense; I don’t like the government in my pants (literally).

    I would rather have one more woman playing with my junk than to have the first homosexual experience of my life (75 years) at the hands and fingers of a man who is not my doctor.

  • amguate

    opting out tomorrow.