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.

  • Michaelwiseguy

    If you feel you are being inconvenienced by the national op-out day, just think about how inconvenienced the people who fought the American Revolutionary War for you felt.

  • Michaelwiseguy

    If you feel you are being inconvenienced by the national op-out day, just think about how inconvenienced the people who fought the Revolutionary War for you felt.

  • spineadjuster13

    Hey Fran how bout requiring people from Sudan have a freakin passport before they get on a plane from Europe to Detroit with explosives up their ass before you start subjecting citizens to your police state bullshit you corporate shill


    I got a big brown bomb in my underwear for Fran

  • yourtube20061

    these are the kind of dumb whores working as “security experts” for the govt !!!

  • LOLMiz

    Dr. Paul. Please run in 2012.


  • MrGb1965

    Ron Paul 2012. Go get ’em.

  • FumingPoliticalPunk

    Let’s check her implants

  • aj williams

    This day of nov 22nd 2010 my birthday I was to fly out of san Diego at 630 am I arrived

    at the airport and started to go thru the tsa security and was told to go thru a full body

    scanner I did not want to go thru but they demanded So I reluctantly went thru it as I got

    to the other side I was told to stop something is wrong so I asked what it’s the problem

    that said something is not normal I asked them what that ment and what it was they said I

    was going to have to summit to a pat down I told them I don’t want to be patted down and

    if they could tell me where they see the problem or show me the problem area they were

    clueless I then offered to remove my clothes so they may look for any contraband I was

    told to follow them to a back room I asked if I was under arrest and if not I would like to

    go home I was told I was not under arrest ad I was not free to go I asked what law have I

    broken they had no reply they said that they are going to pat me down anyway and I told

    them against my will I don’t want you touching me and told them I will show you I have

    nothing to hid and took off my shirt and started to drop my pants the tsa agent started to

    threaten me to put my shirt back on but I continued to voice my opion and left my shirt

    off while doing it showing them I have absolutely nothing on me and if I wasn’t under

    arrest I want to leave the airport they demanded me to put my shirt back on or they would

    physically put it on for me at this point facing physical force I complied I was then

    advised how they were going to touch my very private parts I told them I don’t agree

    they started the search anyway all the while I was protesting telling them I was

    uncomfortable they continued running his hand the length of my penis at this point

    it took all the restraint I had not to psychically defend myself against what I openly saw as a

    gay sexually assaulting me by rubbing my penis when this concluded the female


    agent looked at me and said I should have brought 1 dollar bills I asked where is my stuff

    and I would like to go if I am not under arrest after this I was still interrogated about

    where I live where I work what and where are you going when’re and when I am coming

    back if I was married or not they started to fill out a report about the incident I asked

    them what’s the report for I did nothing wrong and do not want this form filled out and do

    not want them to make a record of this they said they had to I told them I committed no

    crime and I objected to this and they said that’s ok then they said we need a current phone

    number we can reach you at I told them you have all you need in the computer when I

    booked my tickets and if you need this info look it up on there computers they told me

    that I would be detained until I gave them a ph number I removed my cell phone from

    my belonging And made a call to talk to a attorney about being falsely arrested and

    having my belonging illegally seized I was unable to reach my attorney it was aprox 530

    am Sunday morning I contacted my wife and she advised me to do what ever they want

    it will be better to fight this out in court than you fight this out in a back room against

    dozens of officers so under protest I reviled my personal ph number I then asked for a

    copy of this report so I may see the info on this form I never received this form in my

    opion I was illegally arrested illegally searched and sexually assaulted by the tsa agent

    running his hands along my penis and for the female supervisor saying I should have

    brought 1 dollar bills like I was some sort of low life stripper I believe they illegally

    seized my belonging and that verbally assaulted

    and threaten with physical abuse if I did not comply I repeatedly told them I would like to

    go home and did not want to be involved in this type of abuse and I just want to leave

    and go home I was denied I told them I don’t want to fly if I got to go thru this assault

    they said to late you need to be searched they knew I had nothing on me I summited to

    the full body search and also stripped down for them to see that I am caring nothing but

    they insisted to touch me in a sexually way the male tsa agent was obliviously gay and that

    made me real upset and the commit from the female agent was un called for this is a

    blatant violation of my rights as a human being I believe they did this as some sick power

    trip or a sick perverted sex game I was released aprox 30 min after this happened with

    no apology or explanation and they still could not show or tell me what the full body

    scanner showed that prompted the search they seamed to enjoy all the pain and degrading remarks

    that they were inflecting on me because the were laughing and joking about it this is

    truly a blow to the freedoms of all Americans’ I was clearly not a threat and clearly had

    no weapons or contraband I proved that to them when I removed my clothes but that

    would not satisfied their sexual need to dominate me at all costs these thugs need to be

    stopped before this whole thing goes to far as for me I will be looking for an attorney to


    • Carla

      I’m speechless. This is ridiculous. We have got to stop the TSA from ripping our freedoms from our hands. This is horrible.

  • WadabawSleeve

    tell em ron

  • sinitskyd

    may I grope the blonde whore please?

  • Kim Thompson

    I can’t believe how much we are being asked to give up in exchange for a false sense of security. What next? IF we allow people to manhandle us and scan our most personal selves, if that is ‘necessary’ to protect us, what is the next step? Perhaps we should have monitoring equipment in our homes so that our government can be assured that we aren’t building bombs in our garages…or our bedrooms.

    This, in itself, isn’t necessarily a major thing. It’s evil lies in the fact that it sounds so very reasonable, when in fact it is the next step along the path that ends with us losing all of the freedom we enjoy. Where does it stop? Today we’re going after terrorists, and trampling on the average US citizen to find them. Tomorrow…maybe we’ll go after adulterers. Or tax evaders. Or perhaps when we go shopping at WalMart, they will be allowed to pat us down before we exit. After all, that would cut down on shoplifters, and it would help to keep their prices low. All in our best interests, right? It’s only a difference in degree from what’s being done here and now.

    No. No and no and no. I am free and I refuse to give up my freedom for this farce. I would rather take my chances with the terrorist in the air than the ones trying to terrify my countrymen into giving up what made us great in the first place.

  • joygarner

    Lying scank, ALL of these terror threats have been ADMITTED by the Pentagon to be the RESULT of Government actions!

    If this “war on terror” was real, they’d be shoring up our boarders.

  • joygarner

    Lying scank, ALL of these terror threats have been ADMITTED by the Pentagon to be the RESULT of Government actions!

  • 1eyednewt

    ‘”The same bomb maker is the same as that came out of Yemen”.
    Dr Paul is right about it’s a manufactured problem!
    It’s a fact that Panty man was a dupe of the Al-CIA-da!
    Who was that man that got panty man on that plane???

  • Dewdaahman

    total BS.. they think we’re all retarded.. I wonder who screened Fran..?

  • Dawgtha

    what an evil bitch

  • analoq

    Let’s be clear. Let’s be clear. Let’s be clear.

  • Lightfromsirius

    Who makes the big money now with terrorism and fear?
    The security experts! In this respect, the lady is fighting to save this market. Ron Paul’s opinion endanger her business.
    Truth is: There is no security on this planet. Security is an illusion. We are circling, on a planet teeming with life, right in the universe, at racing speed around the sun. All humanity is sitting in a boat and believe everything they get told. We are hightech-monkeys.

  • E1war

    Sounds like Fran wants to be another picture on scannerporn. com