Politics

Santorum, Ron Paul spar over profiling

Will Rahn Senior Editor

Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum strongly disagreed during Tuesday’s CNN debate about whether the Transportation Security Administration should profile airline passengers.

“We should be trying to find the bomber, not the bomb,” Santorum said when asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer whether the U.S. should use profiling. “Other countries have done it — Israel’s probably the best example. But to put this enormous expense on the federal government, to put this enormous expense on the traveling public for pat-downs and other intrusions — I think it’s too much money.”

Santorum then said that like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, he believes the TSA should be privatized and that Abraham Lincoln proved sometimes civil liberties have to take a back seat to national security.

Steering the conversation back to profiling, Blitzer then asked Santorum who, exactly, he believes security professionals should be on the lookout for.

“Well, the folks who are most likely to be committing these crimes,” he replied. “Obviously Muslims would be someone you’d look at, absolutely. Those are the folks — the radical Muslims have been people committing these crimes by and large, as well as younger males. Not exclusively, but these are the things you profile to find your most likely candidate.”

Paul, standing next to Santorum and clearly perturbed by his answer, took the follow up.

“That’s digging a hole for ourselves!” Paul said. “What if they look like [Oklahoma city bomber] Timothy McVeigh? You know, he was a pretty tough criminal. I think we’re using too much carelessness in the use of words. We’re at war? I don’t remember voting on a declaration of war. Oh, we’re against terrorism? Terrorism is a tactic. It isn’t a person, it isn’t a people, so this is a very careless use of words.”

“What about this?” he continued. “Sacrifice liberties because they’re terrorists? You’re the judge and the jury? No, they’re suspects. and they have changed in the [Department of Defense] budget, they have changed the wording of the definition of al-Qaida and Taliban. It’s anybody associated with organizations which means almost anybody can be loosely associated. So, that makes all Americans vulnerable, and now we know American citizens are vulnerable to assassination.”

“It will be a sacrifice that you’ll be sorry for,” he said.

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