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.

  • IlluminMindWorksWell

    This woman feels within herself that not allowing her to choose for you means her position of power will be removed, so she has a strong emotional drive to think for you. To convince the masses thru media “tool” that she cares about your personal safety. This is about “paper” her paper! Her power! Her position! a euphoric feeling of elevation or being above others.
    It has nothing to do with reasons of protecting you, from the terror monster.
    The border is wide open! But you must strip?

  • IlluminMindWorksWell

    Religion is another destructive tool of your mind. While it brings communities together, it divides the nations.
    You don’t require a book or another man to discover what is already in you. These tools of gov religion wealth all destroy, they build nothing and they never will. The system is one of corruption, greed and a lust to elevate others, via power & control.
    This PAPER is accepted because of the greed in all men desiring that bigger house, new SUV etc. The realtiy being it is paper.


  • IlluminMindWorksWell

    This is a psychological game people. The beginning of a reprogramming process, to remove the “person the individual” to begin the process a reformation of the mind accepting a new order of “community” rather than separation of individualism. Community is good, but not when a few elevate themselves as the communities Gods.
    Wealth is a tool, it builds nothing that lasts because the game is one of greed and they write the rules that permit them to control you, via a system of debt.

  • Sonnedude

    I love Ron Paul…this interview is GREAT!

  • zrah1092

    Al Qaida is obsessed with aviation?

  • jtgtfo

    Fran Townsend is a dumb bitch.

  • Ackdacka

    this is the end my only friend the end….

  • Mindrotjuggalo

    Stupid Townsend… This whole terrorist solution is so blindingly simple. If we pull out of the middle East, and leave those people alone, then they’ll leave us alone. Ron gets it… just about anyone with have a brain, and a 5th grade understanding of history gets it…. How does she not understand?

  • louis12346

    use new Scanner To cook your Lunch , put Spaghetti in your Bikini , tell em to No toucha my Meat Balls

  • tuque420

    i wish ron paul was pres. of the u.s. he always seems to make sense.

  • tyleralexanderwest90

    ron is soo dumb founded lol. ron hits the nail right on the head,jokes

  • Syphalis1

    “I don’t care why they attack us!”

    Jesus Christ… this is so ridiculous. Treat the disease, not the symptom.

    Just Give Ron enough time to explain his position and he will destroy any argument against.

    Please Ron, run again. Maybe this time the media will actually give you the attention you deserve and your ideas can be explained to the average American… then we can actually get this country on the right path!


  • kalvin6996

    She’s from Bushs shit, you already know they can’t detect flying airplanes running into buildings what makes “Her” think they can detect bombs on US citizens!?

  • Stepper11

    It’s good to see Ron getting feisty on this. He’s usually such a genial, laid back guy, but I’ve enjoyed seeing him get a little hot about this stuff. Remember T, S, & A are the central letters in Gestapo.

  • mrbiocorp

    enough is enough….TSA is now at the airlines then they will be at other transportation systems

  • kalvin6996

    She says it’s the same bomb as the fed ex bombs? Oh ok seems like she knows or slipped up some information.


    Where did this idea come from that every American is a terror suspects?

  • lomocan

    Oh, they want to kill Americans? So lets put all the citizens in sealed chamber so that no one can hurt to “protect them” from those evil bombers. And remember, of all people, they let Muslim women go unchecked & then turn around & violate American citizens’ rights “to protect them”.

    “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither”
    – Ben Franklin

  • cresidue

    The “government hasn’t gone about this very well”?! WTF, there is only one “way to go about this” it’s called Congress. Congress makes the laws, not the TSA or Executive Branch and you cannot talk your way around violating Americans Constitutional Rights!! We need to start stoning people like this dumb bitch.

  • PistolPackingPatriot

    Fran Townsend just doesn’t get it.