Ron Paul appeared on the Sean Hannity Show to discuss the American Traveler Dignity Act of 2010 which aims to protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse by federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees conducting screenings at the nation’s airports.
Sean Hannity: Happy Thanksgiving week, it’s the Sean Hannity Show. Your front-row seat is the battle for the heart and soul of America Moves Forward and it’s always an honor and a privilege, and pleasure to have back with us Congressman Ron Paul is standing by. How are you, Congressman? Good to talk to you again.
Ron Paul: I’m doing fine. Nice to be with you.
Sean Hannity: You know, I’ll never forget your beloved friends and followers throwing snowballs at me in New Hampshire because you weren’t in the debate.
Ron Paul: Oh…
Sean Hannity: I brought it up with Rand a few times.
Ron Paul: And it wasn’t even your fault, was it?
Sean Hannity: That was way above my paygrade. I had nothing to say about this stuff.
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Sean Hannity: How are you doing?
Ron Paul: I’m doing well.
Sean Hannity: I bet you’re proud of your son. I mean, I thought he ran a great campaign and I think he’s going to be a great senator.
Ron Paul: Yup, I think so, too. I have to admit he surprises me. I didn’t know he would be able to do it all in one go around. I mean, a lot of times, it takes one or two tries. But first time out he did a good job but it also represents what kind of things are going on in this country today. The people are starved for some answers.
Sean Hannity: Well, I think they are. I know we’ve got all these headlines going out. You know, about what’s happening is people, they’ll head into one of the busiest travel weekends of the year and 8-year-old kids are getting pat-downs and women giving reports that they feel like they’re being molested, and… I mean, more and more reports and lawsuits, and the TSA seems to be standing firm. You have proposed what is called the Traveler Dignity Act. Tell us about it.
Ron Paul: Well, this would remove the immunity of Federal officials who manage these affairs at the airports. You know, it’s a bad sign for a country if there are two sets of rules, one for the government officials or one for the policemen, versus, one for the people. And if everybody knows that if anybody tried to do anything like they’re doing at the airport, we’d all be arrested and put in jail. The policemen would be called. But here it is, they’re doing it so openly. It bothers me that, first, that it’s so open. But I figure, if we, as the people, don’t wake up and say, “Enough is enough! We gotta quit this!” I don’t think there’s much hope for us. So I complain about a lot of things as you know, whether it’s fiscal or whatever, but this is such an affront to dignity. If we tolerate this, it’s a very bad sign for us.
Sean Hannity: Alright. Well, what this means is that your bill is HR 6416, and it would remove legal immunity from Federal employees…
Ron Paul: Right.
Sean Hannity: … who subject an individual to any physical contact, x-rays, or aids in the creation of any part of an individual’s body as a condition of traveling in an aircraft.
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Sean Hannity: Here’s, I guess… I don’t know if I have a problem with this as much as I want maybe a further explanation about this. As far as I understand it, the TSA workers, they are under direct orders. Correct?
Ron Paul: Right, they are.
Sean Hannity: Okay. Alright. So if they then become liable for a lawsuit and they’re following the procedure that their boss or bosses, the federal government, i.e., hand down to them… So you’re basically saying either quit, be fired, or risk a lawsuit, so I’m there in a pretty tough spot with the way I read this.
Ron Paul: Yeah, it is but there probably should be a limit to what any of us do. You know, how far should we go? I mean, this is also the same problem in the military when you’re told to commit war crime, you’re not supposed to do it. And this is a crime against the people, a crime against the Constitution. And I think you could go after the administrators too. You could go the administrator of TSA as well because he’s giving the orders. But no, the individual would still be liable. They’re not allowed to do what other people aren’t allowed to do. They’re still under the Constitution and these are illegal assumptions that they can make, that they…
Sean Hannity: I guess maybe… Because I think you and I agree on the subject matter that these are unnecessarily invasive procedure. I think we’re kind of in full agreement on that. Right?
Ron Paul: Oh, yeah. Because nobody has ever proven that these are worthwhile… Well, while they say we’re ignoring the legal part of all this, I don’t think they have a practical argument for this either.
Sean Hannity: And so my attitude is… And I agree with you, it’s about the Constitution and that includes protecting our society but some type of foolish, bureaucratic procedure that I don’t think is going to protect society but abuse the general public, should be opposed, and that’s what you’re saying.
Ron Paul: Yeah. You know there’s a big debate going on in the Internet that this is all deliberate and sometimes I’m tempted to believe this; it’s all deliberate to show that they are boss and we are the servants, and they’re not going to let us get away with anything, and it’s a declaration of war against the people. But then the other side of the argument is that these are just poor guys that have been pushed in this position. They’re just doing what they’re told to do. In many ways, Congress is responsible for a lot of this. We created the law!
Sean Hannity: I actually – I blame the government totally. I mean, I honestly don’t blame the TSA worker maybe as much as you do, which might be just a slight nuanced disagreement here. I’m going right to the top where these rules are coming from and that’s the TSA. That’s Janet Napolitano, that’s the White House.
Ron Paul: Yeah, it is the executive branch but Congress created this creature where only three of us had voted against it because we assumed that this was what it would morph into. Because you give them an inch and they take a mile and there’s no end to it. And so it is Congress. Congress can correct this next week if they wanted to. We could meet and just deny funding for this kind of implementation.
Sean Hannity: Well, what should we do then? Because we know that there’s an enemy out there that wants to hijack airplanes and kill American citizens so we’ve got to have scrutiny and we’ve got to have security. And my argument has been that I think we ought to follow the Israeli model which means, you know, strong intelligence gathering on every person that gets on a plane.
Ron Paul: Yeah, well… But I would modify that. I think you’re right about that. We need more intelligence gathering but we need more intelligent people doing it. Before 9/11 we were spending over $40 billion gathering intelligence and they screwed it up and didn’t protect us. But I think the intelligence gathering has to be in charge of the owners of the property. I think Continental Airlines, United Airlines, they have to be in charge because they’re allowed to profile. Governments aren’t allowed to profile, I’ll never support that. But there’s no reason in a the world with modern technology that Continental can’t pre-screen and identify us, and we could use biometrics if we want and the technology is…
Sean Hannity: You would support biometrics, you’d support fingerprints?
Ron Paul: As long as it’s voluntary and the corporations are involved, and it’s a voluntary agreement. The technology is now such that if you had an instrument that’s the size of a telephone that it can only be activated by your fingerprint, but the instrument itself can be identified with the airlines so they… If I have my special telephone and they show and say, “Well, this is Ron Paul’s telephone.” But I can only activate it with my fingerprint and they won’t even have record of it. You can do so much pre-screen. We’re already doing it. You know, they made this big point that Boehner didn’t have to go through it. Well, why should you? They notice who he is! And they know who the pilots are. So why can’t the frequent flyers do it? All of a sudden you’ve eliminated 90% of the people.
Sean Hannity: 90%, I see. That’s my point and I totally completely agree with you. Look, security procedures need to be directed at the threats. It doesn’t need to be applied throughout the population and nuns, and children, and old people, and frequent travelers as you point out, because we’re wasting our limited resources on top of everything else that we’re discussing, including the intrusion into people’s lives.
Ron Paul: Yeah. And you know, this… The way they’re doing it almost supports the position of the people who’re saying, “No, they just want control over everybody,” where they could accomplish just as much without control. Everybody then have to just sort out the airlines. They can say, “Hey, this guy looks suspicious. Maybe we ought to ask him more questions.” And I think the Israelis have the right idea that you just ask a lot of questions but I would allow our airlines to ask questions. There’s a lot of private aircraft flying these days, more than ever before, but nobody’s… I mean, who checks those people?
Sean Hannity: Nobody!
Ron Paul: The pilot and the owner of the plane and they don’t frisk these people and prod these people who fly on private aircraft.
Sean Hannity: I mean, that’s a good point. I guarantee you’re going to probably see as a result of this, if this continues, you’re going to see our airline industry decline and decline rapidly. Congressman, I’m having more and more people call this program and say they are not going to travel. They’re not going to put their kids through the indignity of being groped and fondled and grabbed by some worker.
Ron Paul: Yeah. I sort of wished I lived closer to Washington. If I wasn’t in Congress, I would drive. I wouldn’t fly airplanes but they really get you in a bind when you have to fly, when you are busy and you have to go back and forth. But people, especially if you’re going 500 miles or less, I don’t think people should ever get on airplanes under today’s conditions.
Sean Hannity: Well, we’re going to wait and see. Now what is the status with your Traveler Dignity Act?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s introduced right before we adjourned last week. We only have one more week left. It’ll be interesting to see if people respond by just signing up next week. The truth is though, if the momentum were strong enough, they would bring that up and pass it, you know, just to make the point. So… But it has served a good purpose, it has made people think that there is a legal way to get around this and make the point that they’re doing something that’s illegal and government officials can’t do things…
Sean Hannity: Yeah.
Ron Paul: … that we can’t do.
Sean Hannity: Well, the only difference that… It’s only a slight nuance difference that I might have with you is I feel… Look, I’ve traveled a lot throughout the years as you have, Congressman. I’ve been to every major airport in this country. And my general experience with TSA workers is they are extraordinarily professional. They’re doing a very difficult job. I’ve not had any problems with any of them. I’ve been wanded more than most. I’ve been patted down, not decent hands pat-downs. I’ve been patted down. I’ve gone through security so many times, they begin to know me by name, and they… You know, I’d go through the full security. I want to get on an airplane and I want to be safe but this doesn’t seem to me – this seems like a bureaucratic procedure that’s not going to protect anybody.
Ron Paul: Well, I share your feelings about what’s gone on in the past and I’ve put up with it and I do it. But I think we’ve been too tolerant because there have been some who predicted that if you’re tolerant to a little bit of intrusion they will eventually have more and more if they want to prove who’s really in-charge because I just don’t believe that this has made any of us any safer. That is what I am convinced of. We are not safer. We are less free. That is what is happening and if the whole purpose is to make us safe and obey the Constitution, it’s not happening.
Sean Hannity: Yes.
Ron Paul: We’re not safer and we’re not freer.
Sean Hannity: Well, the Constitution is about protecting our society. But giving up constitutional liberties in the name of foolish bureaucratic procedures that I don’t think should be our first line of defense by any stretch, seems… do they seem oblivious? Do you know what it is, Congressman? I think they’re too darn politically correct just to admit that profiling works.
Ron Paul: Yeah…
Sean Hannity: Isn’t that that dirty little word that nobody wants to admit that they use but it is the most effective law enforcement practice we have?
Ron Paul: Well, yes. You’re right about that but I don’t want the government to do that. But the other principle that is violated is that governments can make us safe. It’s sort of like accepting the liberal premise that, “We can make the economy fair,” you know. Everybody’s fair and everybody’s going to be treated equally. Everyone’s going to get free this and free that.
Sean Hannity: Well, who’s role would it be then to keep our airways safe?
Ron Paul: The owners of the airlines.
Sean Hannity: So in other words…
Ron Paul: That would be their responsibility.
Sean Hannity: You would put it on their shoulders so they would…
Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely.
Sean Hannity: Now let’s assume that we do that. What would the airlines do? Probably I would assume something similar, except they’d be more liable. They wouldn’t have the autonomy that the government has.
Ron Paul: No, and they like the government to take all these liabilities but they had it before 9/11. We have to remember that too.
Sean Hannity: Yes.
Ron Paul: Now, the airlines would have to do it and they would come up with these electronic gadgets that would get us through lines more…
Sean Hannity: Maybe we can get through in three seconds. Yeah.
Ron Paul: Pardon me?
Sean Hannity: The way I envision it, we could literally – frequent travelers to pretty much walk through in three seconds.
Ron Paul: Yeah! There’s no reason why… I mean, we would all become known to the airline like John Boehner is well known.
Sean Hannity: Yeah.
Ron Paul: So we can’t say, “Well, we’re going to treat everybody equally by punishing everybody equally.” We should allow everybody the option of being treated with dignity and then we wouldn’t have to put up with this. No, it wouldn’t happen. It would be… See, all we need now… I mean, I think our enemy loves this. All they have to do is scare us and intimidate us. I think all they’re going to do now is get a trailer truck and blow up a trailer truck. So every trailer truck is going to be examined. Now, they’ll work on the train. They’re going to blow a train someday and then every – the whole thing is on the train. Then there’s going to be cars and it’s going to go on and on because they’re just laughing at us because we’re so self-intimidated. We’re afraid of our own shadow and we think we can have perfect safety and there is no such thing as perfect safety.
Sean Hannity: I don’t think there’s such thing as perfect safety but I do think a dose of common sense. We’ve got to recognize that there is an enemy that wants to kill innocent men, women, and children, and I think we have an obligation to do everything we can do. But we’ve got to be smarter about it you know. What you’re describing here is a lot smarter. There’s more common sense applied if we would have a system where frequent travelers, 90% of us that get on a plane regularly, pilots and flight attendants wouldn’t have to go through these pat-downs. We wouldn’t waste our times with 3-year-old kids and 8-year-old kids having to take their shirts off.
Ron Paul: Right.
Sean Hannity: So I think there’s a better way to do it and also fulfill our constitutional role.
Ron Paul: Yes, if we’re going to do it smarter though, we have to question on whether or not we can trust our government to be smarter. And if we look at the bureaucracies over the ages, bureaucratic management really doesn’t work whether you’re managing the economy or whether you’re managing our security, you know, at airports. Bureaucrats are bureaucrats.
Sean Hannity: You remember what Thomas Payne said…
Ron Paul: Even who helped set this up is astounded that there are so many bureaucrats. Well, what did you expect? That’s what you should expect […] Turn it over the government, they’re going to have more bureaucrats, it’s going to cost more money and they’re going to become less efficient.
Sean Hannity: Are you going to run for president again?
Ron Paul: Oh, heaven. Well, I think…
Sean Hannity: Are you going to let your supporters throw snowballs at me again?
Ron Paul: No, I advise…
Sean Hannity: I expected you to get there and be my frontline of defense. You didn’t show up!
Ron Paul: …non-violence, but you know, the snowball was real soft, sort of borderline. Now, if it was an iceball, they’re in big trouble.
Sean Hannity: Very funny. It was actually a really fun moment. You know what happened? I went over, Frank Luntz was doing a focus group in New Hamphshire. And so I went over to see the focus group and thank them for being part of the program, and they said, “Well you know, you gotta wait for security. All Ron Paul’s folks are outside and they wanna yell at you.” I’m like, “Well, I didn’t do anything,” so I walked right out amongst them against the advice of security and said, “Hi, guys! How are you?” and I started shaking everybody’s hand. And then they started following me and stalking me down the street.
Ron Paul: That wasn’t very nice.
Sean Hannity: That is so insincere but I admire your attempt. Ron Paul, you’re a great American. We really do appreciate you coming on the program. I got to tell you, I think your son is a rock star and a real strong advocate for our Constitution and he’s a good man.
Ron Paul: Well, thank you for being fair and nice to him.
Sean Hannity: I think I was probably one of a few. The media was not exactly kind to your son.
Ron Paul: Especially at the beginning, right? After he just won that primary….
Sean Hannity: Wasn’t that vicious?
Ron Paul: That proves you’re not owned by the establishment part of the Republican Party.
Sean Hannity: No, he’s going to do a job on the Senate. We look forward to having him.
Ron Paul: Very good.
Sean Hannity: Ron, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Sean Hannity: Alright, Ron Paul. It’s called the Traveler Dignity Act. Well, I’m sure we’ll be talking more about it or something similar right after the Thanksgiving holiday. Quick break, we’ll come back. The full hour tonight, Governor Sarah Palin. Is she…