The top people at both the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration should quit for using “Gestapo-type” tactics which violate privacy rights and civil liberties, GOP Rep. Paul Broun tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
And either the TSA should be privatized or the military should be brought in to the nation’s airports to conduct security screenings, the Georgia congressman added.
But the TSA will resist any attempts to bring private firms in, he added, “because they want to continue their Gestapo-type tactics of patting down grandma and grandpa and little children.”
Watch the exclusive interview here. Story continues below.
Broun was talking after a series of recent incidents have brought further scrutiny to the TSA. They include allegations that:
* Agents labeled a 4-year-old girl a “terrorist threat” because she hugged her grandmother at a security checkpoint at the Wichita Airport in Kansas;
* Forced the family of a 7-year-old cerebral palsy victim to miss a flight from New York’s Kennedy Airport because they insisted on inspecting the girl’s crutches;
* Ordered a 95-year-old woman to remove her adult diaper during a search at North West Florida Airport;
* Threatened Rep. Quico Canseco of Texas with arrest after he complained he was being patted down so hard at San Antonio Airport that it hurt.
“This makes absolutely no sense but it’s indicative of the TSA as well as the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that has just run amok,” said Broun.
Broun said it is not only time for TSA head John Pistole to go, but that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should step aside too. “The rot starts at the head. She is the one who is at the head of an organization that is totally broken,” he said.
“TSA needs to be totally changed, I would like them to be privatized,” added Broun, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. He said a pilot program at Kansas City's airport involving a company called FirstLine has been a success.
“It had great responses from the public, but TSA seems to be trying to delay privatization and has done everything it could to prevent FirstLine from getting a contract. They don’t want to be privatized and they will do everything they can to prevent it,” he warned.
“We need to get rid of the whole thing altogether. In fact our national security should be upheld by the military and not by an organization such as the Department of Homeland Security. I would like to get rid of the whole department and start all over again and let the military do what it needs to do, and let the CIA and FBI do what they should do to focus on those who want to harm us and stop this inanity of political correctness that is going to get Americans killed.”
Broun said the problem is that policies force agents to “look for objects” rather than concentrate on the likely terrorists.
“We need to start focusing on those people who aren’t harmless, instead of patting down grandma and patting down kids. It’s just absolutely a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. It’s not going to keep us any safer than doing nothing in my opinion.”
Decent intelligence needs to play a bigger role, he said. “We need to focus upon terrorists. We need to focus on those wanting to harm us. We need to focus on them prior to them ever getting to the airport and interview them before they ever get there. We need a stronger intelligence community.
“Most of what the federal government does today is not authorized in the original intent of the Constitution but national security is; strong national defense is,” he added. “This administration is destroying our national security and our defense capability and we have got to build those things up.”
Broun cited a recent investigation by WSB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, that interviewed a whistleblower who claimed it was easy to get weapons on board planes by smuggling them in on the unsecured food carts.
“We know also from the investigation that was done by the WSB investigative reporter that people could get through the security without much challenge, so we’re not any safer today than before 9/11,” he claimed.
He also said that the TSA had admitted it had hired people at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport without proper background checks. “They said recently that they have gotten the backlog of background checks straightened out, but what other airports are they allowing people to go to work without background checks?” he asked.
Broun said one of the biggest problems is that Congress rushed through the Patriot Act within 10 weeks of 9/11. “The Patriot Act has been an abomination,” he said. “We had Congress push through all these things without thinking through them in the proper way.
“We have got to protect privacy rights. We have got to protect our God-given, constitutionally protected civil liberties and we are not doing that in the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security, as well as the TSA, is a great culprit in being a Gestapo-type organization.”
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