"He's right on target," said U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who today is chairman of the House Transportation Committee. "I did patdown tests and they're a complete failure. The way they do it, on everyone, is unnecessary."
Perry, who as soon as Saturday could make clear whether he will run for president in 2012, pursued a ban on patdowns, arguing that they were an unnecessary federal intrusion.
The ban, which would have made it a misdemeanor offense to touch a person's genitals during a patdown, didn't gain support among Texas lawmakers. The U.S. attorney's office had warned that, if such a law were to pass, it would be in direct conflict with federal rules -- and that interstate flights to and from Texas could be canceled.
But those warnings were "such bunk," said Mica, who was instrumental in the formation of the Transportation Security Administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- and has since become a staunch critic of TSA procedures.
"The TSA misapplies the patdown," Mica said Wednesday after a rousing 20-minute speech on other transportation issues at the Texas Transportation Summit in Irving. Mica said he recently traveled to Israel, where aviation security is world-renowned but no such patdown policy exists.
"In Israel, they have a thinking system," Mica said. "Our system doesn't have any brains."
The bill to ban intrusive patdowns died at the end of a special legislative session earlier this summer, although some lawmakers said they'll pursue the idea again in the future.