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.

  • wrb0018

    she should be sending money to dr paul for her education in the constitution

  • Mankindfails

    It would be nice to kidnap her and torture her till she tells the truth and make bets on wheter she’s lying or she really believe her bullshit, my bet would be that she really believe her bullshit

  • kubaner

    RP for President 2012 – the yr. of a new epoch & change for America & the world. This lady is obviously a shill. Stating the party line the American Gestapo (aka, DHS & TSA) are doing their best to protect us from terrorists when in fact that real terrorists are the offshore bankers & govts. who are enslaving us via their NWO agenda.
    Go Ron Paul!


  • GravDiga

    Why is the most important question

  • jlbarber54

    Only in the USSR are the people not allowed to ask why they hate us… Ooops, this is the USA… They hate us because of our history of intervening in their affairs… All of this mess we are in is due to our intervening in the Iraq – Kuwait war. For that war, to put the Kuwaiti Royal Family back in power (Dictators) we put 14 bases on the Muslim holy land in Saudi Arabia and have never left. It would be like China putting 14 military bases in 14 state capitals.

  • SouthernKudzu

    You have to ask WHY, you have to ask questions. When we stop doing that they will walk all over us.

    Ron is beginning to loss his patients with ignorant people. He’s becoming much more vocal it seems.

  • bigtwo1952

    she’s a f*cking whore for the corrupt bureaucracy……

  • shanedk

    “We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath-water.”

    But it’s Rosemary’s baby!

  • howardb42006

    Underwear bomber was escorted past security without a passport by a sharp dressed man. I would say that is a manufactured problem….

  • terr547

    That woman is so out of touch with reality. A Muslim woman wearing a burka is exempt, but a 6-year-old must be groped by 50-year-old men.

  • the3AMgenius

    RP 2012

  • xboxniellas

    Who cares why they attack us? Isn’t that useful information to find out? Sounds like a, “finding out who financed 9/11 is of little to no significance” deal again.

  • xboxniellas

    Al Qaeda is obsessed with aviation lol.

  • aristotlestudent

    Scared grown men need somebody to feel up their old ladies so they can feel safe.
    If you are a man and support this, you are a laughable coward. It’s not even a close call.
    Honestly men, life ain’t worth living if your that damn scared.

  • LordSparkisvati

    Are they intentionally distorting Ron Pauls image? Naaaa CNN would neeeever do that. He must have been late on his contributions to AIPAC.

  • MrRiceowlex

    Fran and all her dictatorial communist comrades in arms need to be thrown the hell out of the US that’s the bottom line. The underwear bomber had no ID, had no PASSPORT, had no TICKET. IT WAS STAGED. This wanna be bomber got on the plane after a CIA member threatened the people at airport security demanding he be on that plane. Al-CIA-DA was created by the CIA. It never existed in Afghanistan, or anywhere it’s a CIA invention.
    9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB..Check ae911truth(dot)org

  • waterchildtera

    she had planted the bomb ?

  • MyThoughtsIhave

    Silly Lady, You people SEE whats wrong with the country, ASSHOLE’s that have the platform.

  • L0cAlEconomy

    homeland security adviser.. is sooo evilllllllllllllll…. u can see her eyes.. u can see her attitute… SHES EVILLL LOL!!!!!

  • fresshness2001

    Ron Paul FTW!