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Qaeda the Enemy - Not TSA screeners

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

The debate over security scanning and pat-downs has reached such a fever pitch, it seems that people are forgetting that the enemy isn't the Transportation Security Administration -- it's al Qaeda.

I don't want my children or grandchildren getting on a plane that's going to be blown apart in the sky. That's what this comes down to.

If people have constructive suggestions to make, please make them. But to threaten to shut down the system is irresponsible.

They are putting people in danger by trying to intimidate the TSA into backing down on their security measures.

If somehow the system was compromised in such a way that someone got on board with explosives, they would have a moral responsibility for that.

Of course we can have an honest debate and ask are these scanners the best we can do?
Are these patdowns necessary?

I think we should do more "profiling" like the Israelis do. But that's not the only answer. That doesn't mean we aren't going to need these machines.

With the volume of air traffic and air passengers that we have, we're always going to have some sort of body scanner.

There is no silver bullet here. If you listen to the debate you get the impression that one day the TSA said, okay let's make everybody naked on the body scanners. And without any idea of the eight or nine years of what's gone on before and what's been tested.

We are constantly, constantly facing the realities of new types of threats. We have an enemy that does nothing but think of ways 24/7 to kills us.

We need to remember that.

As a conservative, I find it disappointing that so many on the right taking issue with the TSA sound like left-wing liberals.

It reminds me of when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped up police activity in New York City. Liberals were against it and argued that stop-and-frisks violated people's civil rights.

But conservatives knew that it was necessary to bring law and order to New York. We were right, and it saved lives.

I have enough faith in TSA chief John Pistole -- as nonpartisan a person you can find in government -- that he wouldn't be doing it if he didn't think it right.

For all we know we could find out six months from now these machines aren't as good as we think they are and there's another way to do it without the pat-downs.

But for now let's at least assume that John Pistole and the TSA are well-intentioned and they are doing the right thing based on the information available to them right now.

Peter King is a Long Island GOP congressman and soon-to- be chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.


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