The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee put Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole through his paces today, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) getting in some good questions and digs. Here's the video:
SENATOR RAND PAUL: Currently the invasive pat-down searches are random and not based on risk assessment?
JOHN S. PISTOLE, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: No, actually they are based on intelligence that we know specifically from Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the way he concealed that device. There are some random pat-downs if that’s what you’re referring to, but it is based on intelligence.
PAUL: I guess this little girl would be part of the random pat-downs, this little girl from Bowling Green Kentucky, one of my constituents. They’re still quite unhappy with you guys as well myself and a lot of other Americans who think you’ve gone overboard, you’re missing the boat on terrorism because you’re doing these invasive searches on six-year old girls. Same week that this happened I got a call from another neighbor of mine in Bowling Green, a little boy had a broken foot and crutches. They didn’t want to go through all the screenings, so they took the crutches off and the cast and he wanted to hobble through on his broken foot. His dad was helping him. TSA said “back away, back away.” Then he had to go through the special search because he previously had a cast on, even though the cast went through the belt. When the dad comes close they say “back away, back away.” “If you don’t back away you won’t fly.”
This kind of gets back to this whole idea of what are willing to do, what are we willing to give up as a country. In your interview with ABC News, you said “I see flying as a privilege.” There are those of us who see otherwise. The Supreme Court concluded in Saenz vs. Roe in 1999 says that although the word travel is not found in the text in the constitution, yet the constitutional right to travel from one state to another is firmly embedded in our jurisprudence. Justice Stewart went on to say in Shapiro vs. Thompson that the right to travel is so important that it is assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. A virtually unconditional constitutional right guaranteed by the Constitution to us all. This isn’t to say we don’t believe in safety procedures. But I think I feel less safe when you’re doing these invasive exams on a six-year old.
It makes me think you’re clueless, if you think she’s going to attack our country and you’re not doing your research on the people who want to attack our country.
Emphasis mine. Transcript and video courtesy of Paul's office. More Reason on TSA here.