AUSTIN, TX — The Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) denounces the recent changes in the airport passenger screening practices of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
RLC Chairman Dave Nalle said the intrusive nature of new TSA procedures draws attention to the fundamental flaws in the government’s strategy of attempting to address the threat of terrorism through increasingly draconian domestic security measures.
“In the name of public safety, government agencies have been given more and more power at great cost to our civil liberties and in violation of the Bill of Rights,” Nalle said. “The emergence of an unaccountable state security apparatus in America is a reminder of Ben Franklin’s maxim that ‘they who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’”
“The new TSA procedures of giving randomly selected passengers a choice between a full body, backscatter x-ray scan and an intrusive, hands-on body search are unacceptable,” Nalle contends. “These searches are a clear violation of our 4th Amendment rights, because they are not reasonable and are carried out with no probable cause.”
“The increase in security at airports with more technology and more violation of the privacy rights of passengers cannot be justified on the basis of any increase in the threat of terrorism, because there has been no such increase,” Nalle explained.
The RLC believes that the level of power and authority granted to agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration is out of proportion to any actual threat against the American people. Terrorism is not a significant threat on flights within the United States and basic security measures instituted immediately after 9/11 have been sufficient to deter any similar attacks since that time.
The Republican Liberty Caucus believes that the people of the United States have had enough and calls on the federal government to curb abuses by the TSA and other agencies. We recommend putting control of passenger security in the hands of the airlines, which have a vested interest in making sure that flights are safe. We also support the passage of Representative Ron Paul’s “American Traveler Dignity Act” (H.R. 6416), which would make TSA employees accountable for their actions.
Nalle observed, “With the increasing level of government intrusion into our lives in the name of security, America reminds me too much of what I saw in the Soviet Union, where I lived as a teenager. How long will it be before police will be stopping us in the street at random to ask for our identity papers?”