TSA chief John Pistole offered to give enhanced pat-downs to senators at a hearing today on TSA’s new screening policies. Over at the AmSpec blog, I break down the cause of the controversy and point out that there’s a lot more to the story than national security.
The curiously-named Rapiscan is one of two companies that makes full-body imaging machines. As former CEI Brookes Fellow Tim Carney reports, Rapiscan’s CEO is an Obama donor who accompanied the President on his recent trip to India.
Rent-seeking being a bipartisan phenomenon, the company also paid President Bush’s former Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, to promote Rapiscan’s full-body scanners.
As he often does, Gene Healy hits a home run in his Washington Examiner column. More and more hilarious stories of bumbling, incompetent terrorists are coming out. Gene shares some of the better ones and asks, “You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren’t the sharpest scimitars in the shed?”
This leads to a conclusion reached by far too few:
We’ve given al Qaeda power over us they don’t deserve. When we recognize that they’re often inept and clownish, we weaken their ability to sow terror. For the sake of our liberty and security, it’s prudent and patriotic to allow an occasional smirk to cross your stiff upper lip.
He’s right. Terrorists win when we overreact. And overreact we have. From airport security theater to the 854,000-employee post-9/11 homeland security aparatus, Americans have willingly handed al Qaeda a bigger, longer-lasting victory than they could ever have hoped for.
People are often surprised to hear how similar President Obama’s policies are to President Bush’s. They shouldn’t be. One may be a Republican and the other a Democrat, but make no mistake. Bush and Obama are two peas in a pod.
-Bush signed a $700 billion bank bailout bill. Obama continued the policy. And he extended it to other sectors, such as the automobile industry.
-Bush tried fiscal stimulus twice while in power. With some help from the Bush team, Obama oversaw the largest fiscal stimulus bill in history. There is occasional talk of another.
-Bush started two land wars in Asia. Obama could end them. Instead, he is committing more troops to Afghanistan.
-Bush oversaw Medicare part D, the largest expansion of government’s role in health care since 1965. Obama also would like to expand government’s health care presence.
-And now, we have the PATRIOT Act. The bill was perhaps the largest expansion of executive power in seventy years, and the Bush administration’s signature legislation. Now that Obama has inherited all these cool powers, turns out he likes the PATRIOT Act, too. So he wants to extend some of its expiring provisions.
Predictable. Still disappointing.