The Dept. of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration is the bane of shoe/belt-less U.S. airline passengers who are enraged by aggressive pat-downs on check-in lines. Its image is going to get a lot worse. The TSA has now expanded its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response vehicle search program from border crossings checking for drugs to the heartland.

Last week, TSA established random checkpoints to inspect trucks in Tennessee, that hotbed of terrorism. Tennessee became the first state to deploy with the TSA a simultaneous counterterrorism operation. TSA staffers also encouraged drivers to report on suspicious behavior, or to act as snitches for the state. That cheered the security agents of the police states of the old Soviet Union.

Republican Congressman Ron Paul attacked the TSA for trampling on the Fourth Amendment by coming up with the latest attack on the rights of citizens. In his invaluable, “Texas Straight Talk,” blog, he wrote: "How many more infringements on our liberties, our property, and our basic human rights to travel freely will it take before people become fed up enough to demand respect from their government?”

The real tragedy, according to Paul, “occurs when Americans incrementally become accustomed to this treatment on the roads just as they have become accustomed to it in the airports. We already accept arriving at the airport two or more hours before a flight to get through security; will we soon have to build in an extra two or three hours into our road trips to allow for checkpoint traffic?”

Though Paul is the most thoughtful member of the Republican presidential debate team, he isn’t going to be president. He serves his country well by warning Americans not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the increased police presence. Paul wrote: “Should we really hail the expansion of the police state as an enhancement to safety?”

Amen to that.