The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Santorum: Government is giving into terrorists with TSA screenings

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says the government is giving terrorists just what they want by implementing the new — and revealing — Transportation Security Administration enhanced screenings on airline passengers.

“In many respects, I’ve seen some of the headlines, ‘terrorists win,’” Santorum said to a group of college Republicans at American University Thursday night. “I think it’s a pretty good subtitle to what we’re seeing. I think TSA has gone overboard.”

Critics of the new screenings say the high-tech scanners that allow officials to see what someone looks like underneath their clothes, as well as the new pat down procedures, violate passengers’ privacy.

“I’m someone who believes that we have a serious threat facing this country,” Santorum elaborated. “Terrorism is real. The people who are behind this want to take us down and destroy our country because they hate us. They hate everything we believe in. And we need have measures in place to protect us. But we have to be reasonable and smart.”

Santorum, who acknowledges that he’s considering a run for president in 2012 as a Republican, went on to make a broader point about airline security, saying it makes no sense that his “92 year old mother…go in for advanced screening.”

“There’s a profile of people who are conducting these activities,” he said without detailing a particular profile. “And it is not profiling to give them enhanced searching. It’s not. It’s reasonable. Because that’s where the threat is coming from. If the threat was coming from 92 year old women, I would expect my mother to go through enhanced search.”

Santorum added: “We just need to be smart about it and quit being so politically correct about it and just do what a society that respects privacy and wants to protect itself through reasonable procedures would do. And we’re not doing that right now. I think it’s offensive.”

In illustrating the point that he doesn’t hold back his true feelings on subjects, Santorum drew laughs by calling himself the “Popeye candidate” because, like the cartoon character, “I am what I am.”

“I’ll talk about things candidates won’t talk about,” he said.

During the nearly two-hour discussion with students, Santorum only briefly addressed the curiosity surrounding whether he’ll run for president. The Republican said he’ll make a decision “sometime next year,” adding that he’s “in no great hurry” to make an announcement.