Bestselling author Tom Woods and I had fun shellacking the Transportation Security Administration in a podcast he posted online today. Tom does some of the best and most thought-provoking podcasts on the Internet and I appreciated him having me on his show.
The interview was spurred by a piece I did for USA Today after a leaked Inspector General report that showed that TSA checkpoints had a 95% failure rate for detecting guns and makeshift bombs.
At one point in the interview, Tom said, “I want to look for some happy news here.”
“Then why are you interviewing me?” I replied.
My favorite TSA warning sign for a terrorist suspect is someone who makes excessive complaints about airport screening procedures. No wonder TSA agents have often focused on me. Most folks in a TSA line are like cows going to a slaughterhouse. On the other hand, some people might have thought that i was an undercover govt agent trying to entrap them into saying something that could be used against them.
It is often difficult to know TSA’s motivations. Trying to figure out why TSA did something can be like searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there. The TSA has scorned the Freedom of Information Act, refusing to make disclosures in a timely manner. The TSA scorns that federal law the same way they scorn Americans’ constitutional right to free from unjustified warrantless searches.
It would be far better to privatize security to let airlines, airports, and passengers have a free choice in what level of intrusion and risk people are comfortable accepting. But TSA itself cannot be privatized. Many TSA agents are the type of folks who would have otherwise worked as prison guards. Some TSA agents could probably get jobs with bona fide private firms. But TSA has done everything it could to sabotage airports from getting rid of federal agents.
One great thing about moving to private security is that the agents and companies would no longer have sovereign immunity. If some private agent was caught on videotape squeezing a woman’s breast, all kind of legal hell would come down on them. At this point, there is no way to hold TSA and its almost 50,000 agents liable for anything that they do. TSA didn’t care about the cancer risks from its Whole Body scanners because it knew it would never have to pay damages to its victims.
Hmmmm…. maybe I use the phrase “typical government BS” too often.
Tom will be speaking at the Young Americans for Freedom conference in Washington on August 1.
(The photo at the top is from http://harmful.cat-v.org/security-theater/_imgs/tsa-choice-molestation-or-radiation.jpg)