Radley Balko: Yeah, well, it probably doesn't surprise you but I think it's an awful idea. And I also think the fact that, I mean it could be a political tactic, its entirely possible that Obama's just throwing this out there so that when he puts up his next, his actual nominee, they'll get less scrutiny. Or, actually less scrutiny from the left, and maybe he'll earn some points from the right for even considering Kelly in the first place.
But it does show just how disappointing Obama has been on civil liberties, that's this could even be talked about. I mean this is the guy who oversaw a program that has made every black person in a black neighborhood in New York a target to be stopped, patted down, possibly searched. I mean the New York Times, the Village Voice have done exposÃƒÆ' ©s about people being arrested for doing basically nothing. They're released a day or two later, but without being charged. But then now you have an arrest record, and you've lost a day or two of your life, and you've been harassed.
And you know Kelly oversaw all of this. And..
Rob Kall: How would it change, how do you think it would change the Department of Homeland Security? What would ramp up, what would drop? How would it be different under Kelly?
Radley Balko: Well it's hard to say how you would, sort of apply a style of belief that Kelly used in the NYPD, how he would apply that to anti-terrorism measures. I mean, just the few examples we have from his tenure at NYPD that are applicable are disturbing. And you know we have the spying on Muslim groups in New York, the CIA agents infiltrating various protest groups and Muslim groups. And so that you can see some very clear warning signs about how he might run DHS.
You know, I don't know how you can be aggressive and try to implement a nationwide stop and frisk policy. So I'm not sure what record you can draw from that other than that he clearly takes a pretty authoritarian approach to policing. And that's something to worry about if he were to head up DHS. You could certainly see much more aggressive DHS measures, and much less respect for, even less respect I guess I should say, for the civil liberties and privacy of travelers.
So yeah I think it's a, a pretty troubling development , the fact that he has support from both law and order conservatives and of center left politicians, like Schumer, just makes me more weary of him.
Rob Kall: Okay, now your Wikipedia profile says you're a libertarian. Is that correct?
Radley Balko: That's correct. Yep.
Rob Kall: So, I'm a lefty, but it seems like we agree on everything we're discussing here so far. Just about.
Radley Balko: Yeah.
Rob Kall: I mean it's just not the topic.
Radley Balko: If we talked about policy and regulation we could probably find something to disagree on, but I guess on this we, we align.
Rob Kall: So, and do you think that your take on this is pretty typical for libertarians?
Radley Balko: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean there are, there are libertarians, prominent libertarians who I disagree with about foreign policy and on some of the war on terror stuff. There, there are some, I think, craters in the libertarian movement, but on police issues I think we're pretty unanimous on that. I haven't read or talked to any libertarian that I can think of who thinks I'm wrong about this, or has objections to the way I've argued the book.
Rob Kall: How about Tea Partiers?