Ron Paul: Why Sacrifice our Liberties for the Illusion of Perfect Safety?

Ron Paul returned to CNN to debate Homeland Security advisor Fran Townsend on TSA’s abusive pat-downs and body scans.

Date: 11/23/2010


News Anchor: Well, between body scans and frisking, airport screeners have touched a nerve among the travelling public. The result an uproar over pat-downs. Joining me here is CNN’s national security contributor, Frances Townsend. She was the Homeland Security advisor to President George Bush, and serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Board. And from Texas, via Skype, Republican Congressman, Ron Paul. Thank you so much, both of you, for joining us here in the situation room.

I want to start off with you, congressman. The TSA has put an announcement out for travelers who are traveling over the holiday weekend, saying if you have to have one of those enhanced pat-downs, it would take place in a private area and that they could be accompanied by somebody to watch what was actually happening, what was taking place. Does that give you any comfort in thinking that perhaps people would not feel as violated, as disturbed, by that intimate process?

Ron Paul: Well, I think they should feel violated, all you have to do is look at some of those pictures. And the people are outraged over it, and they’re not feeling safer because of it, they just feel like the government has overstepped their bounds. They don’t want to be x-rayed, there are still some questions about those x-rays, there are questions about malfunctions of the x-rays. And there’s no evidence that this is going to make anybody any safer. And actually, there have been some pretty good bomb experts that actually testified that the bomb from the underwear bomber, the material he had, he had a long way to go before he would have ever been able to explode something. And yet I would say – and this is understatement – that we have overreacted to what happened over a year ago.

News Anchor: Fran, you understand security intimately from the ground up. But tell us, does this make a difference here? Is the congressman right when he says this really doesn’t matter?

Frances Townsend: No, I mean let’s be clear. The same bomb-maker who made the Christmas day Detroit attempted bomb, the guy with the bomb in his underwear was the same one who was behind these most recent packages coming out of Yemen. He’s a sophisticated bomb-maker, and the government is rightly worried because if he adapts, they may not be able to catch him. And so while there have been many problems with the way the government’s gone about explaining what they’re doing and training their employees to do it properly, let’s be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That is, we do have to be very careful during periods of increased threats to make sure that we’re appropriately screening. Now I think the government understands they haven’t gone about this very well, and John Pistole went out on Sunday and issued a statement saying they’re going to be mindful to try to be as least intrusive as possible. I think they have a long way to go to convince the American people this is right. But what we don’t want to do is intimidate them into not doing it at all.

News Anchor: Congressman, you’re shaking your head. Why?

Ron Paul: Well, you know, we’re dealing with a created problem, it’s a manufactured problem. I mean, we got to look at it with the proper perspective. First, you can’t have perfect safety. And another thing is, the odds of any person in this country getting killed by a terrorist is less than getting struck by lightning. I mean, just think in the last ten years things have done pretty well because they put a gun in the cockpit and they locked the door. But to destroy our liberties, throw away the constitution, don’t care about the Fourth Amendment and cavelierly say, “Oh well, the people want to be safe, it’s good to sacrifice our liberties”, and on and on. But, you know, there’s no going back on this. The government gets away with a lot. They won’t pay attention to all the killing going on overseas, they get confused about the financial crisis. But I’ll tell you what, this prodding … the people have had it and they’re not going to put up with it. I think it’s a great issue to call the attention to the American people how abusive our government is. They’re supposed to protect our liberties; they’re not supposed to be engaged in destroying our liberties.

News Anchor: Frances, those are pretty serious accusations.

Frances Townsend: Well, Susan, let’s be clear. The congressman says that this is a manufactured problem. It’s a problem manufactured by our enemies and Al-Qaida who have been trying to blow up the airplanes, whether it’s in the cargo or in the passenger department.

Ron Paul: Why? Why do they want to come after us?

Frances Townsend: I don’t really care. If I’m flying on a plane I want to be safe.

Ron Paul: Ha ha ha, you got to ask that, and that’s why we’re not getting anywhere. You got to find out why. You know we’re over there fighting a war against the Taliban. The Taliban are not even part of the Al-Qaida, but we’re spending trillion dollars trying to kill Taliban creating more Al-Qaida. If you don’t ask that question, you can’t solve this problem.

Frances Townsend: The Taliban is very closely aligned to the Al-Qaida and to their methods in terms of attacking and targeting the United States. Look, when I say that I don’t care, the fact of the matter is that we have to be clear that Al-Qaida is obsessed with aviation, they want to target it, and they want to kill Americans. And so the government has an obligation to act against that.

News Anchor: Congressman, you were talking about the constitution ..

Ron Paul: Why should we get watched without our clothes on then? That’s what you’re doing. The kids are having to take their clothes off. Why does a woman have to remove her breast implant in order for somebody to be guaranteed that she’s not a bomber? This is insanity, this is not logic.

News Anchor: Congressman, let Frances respond, please. Frances, go ahead.

Frances Townsend: I agree with the congressman, Susan, that those examples that he sights are egregious, and what we hope is that those are the exceptions. And TSA has got a responsibly to ensure those are the exceptions, and that actions are taken against the most egregious violations that are not consistent with their own policies. They’ve got to be sure that people are appropriately trained and that these searches are not an opportunity for abuse. So he and I are in agreement on that; the government has a very severe responsibly to ensure that.

News Anchor: I’m going to have to leave it at that. Congressman Ron Paul, I appreciate your time as well as Frances Townsend’s. And we want to let our viewers know that we will be able to speak with the head of the TSA, John Pistole, very shortly after this break.

  • HelpWakePeopleUp

    Dumb bitch…

  • shounenbat510

    This woman is a security specialist? “Who cares why they attack us!”

  • pimporosz

    al-qaeda dines at the pentagon.

  • vJpRIzM

    wow, they had to let cnn have the final say to brainwash the sheeple

  • sonnybrown

    Man, Ron’s mad! Awesome

  • SweeterThanKisses

    i been waiting for this for so long….it is ok to invade a innocent country
    but not ok to use airport security because it interfears with your life,but much less then you do with other lives…. you invade a country(right words) they are there cuz you are,simple…

  • lovedalord88

    why even use skype on tV? It always makes for an awkward intervie ;-l

  • asalade

    Who let Fran Townsend out of the kitchen?

  • Whitaker411

    He should have asked her if it ok for the goverment to ignore the 4th amendment of the constution and break the law by allowing sexual assult on air travelers. The supreme court should step in and order TSA to stop the illeagal searchs which cops cant even do unless they arrest you.

  • jimmyjames133

    Homeland Security starts at the border not in the airport.

  • dynomyght

    alQaeda is obsessed I think you are obsessed with this crap. Why are alQaeda no blowing, japan air, china air, thai air, qantas, emirate I don’t see many obsession there you dumbass.

  • FairEnterprise

    classic example of political spin.
    and Gentlemen of wisdom and confidence are always dumbfounded by the contradictory ignorance spewed out of these establishment whores.
    The good congressman did not state the bombing incidents were staged false flag events. He said Manufactured. Very gentlemanly. An honorable and distinguished condensed understanding of the coup he spoke of.

    Media akido

  • kardentyrell

    I loved Ron with the Why xD

  • herzogsbuick

    lmao Ron Paul is dumbfounded at the end, as Fran says he agrees with her on something he absolutely does not. My god.


  • herzogsbuick

    Fran Townsend is a tool

  • famasdan

    This is one of the best debates i have ever seen Ron Paul engaged in he truly let them have it and i thin he comes out on top. Good Points Ron!

  • Apptendo

    Ron Paul 4:17 “Why, Why do they (The Terrorists) want to come after us.”
    Frances Townsend 4:20 “I don’t really care why” Well you better learn, BITCH!

  • gearzone2611

    Manufactured fear, indeed. There is nothing to say about it. This woman doesn’t care what is the root of the problem. The ever increasing government, and the mainstream media are trying to sold it out to the public through fear. While both parties are arguing about the problem, but not speaking that the privacy and Constitutional rights of the people are being washed ashore thru manufactured fear. Their answer is to allow the public support and make them believe that security is the common goal.

  • EndTheFedRes

    Fran Ron Just pwnd you.

    “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one”

    Ben Franklin

  • odin422

    Fran “THE WHORE” Townsend