Magaw is the worst kind of government bureaucrat. He defends fascistic government abuses -- but the trains still don't run on time. Fascism is at least supposed to keep the citizenry safe.
As the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Magaw famously justified an unprovoked government assault against Randy Weaver and his family, culminating in the murder of Weaver's wife. In testimony before a Senate committee investigating the raid at Ruby Ridge, Magaw stubbornly refused to admit the ATF had done anything wrong whatsoever.
Indeed, he even refused to acknowledge a jury verdict finding that the government had entrapped Weaver. Of the jury's verdict, Magaw said: "Do you believe Randy Weaver -- or do you believe the federal agents who have sworn to tell the truth and are carrying out a career in this government?"
If only airline pilots worked for the government! Then Magaw would not only allow them to tussle with terrorists, but they would also be free to gun down innocent Americans without criticism. (The Senate report found Magaw's testimony not credible and recommended abolition of his entire agency.)
Magaw's other airline safety improvement was to reject the idea of a "trusted traveler" program, which would allow passengers to avoid three-hour airport security lines after submitting to an intrusive background check by the government. As reported by The New York Times, Magaw spurned the trusted traveler idea on the ground that "he is not sure who could safely be given the card."
I don't know, how about ... NO ARABS? (Religion-of-Peace Update: As they prepare to stone a rape victim to death in Pakistan, the latest suicide bombing in Israel claimed the lives of a 70-year-old woman and her 18-month old granddaughter.)
Amazingly, President Bush has actually found someone even dumber than Norman Mineta to secure the nation's airlines. The secretary of transportation is the only person on the face of the globe who thinks the airlines face no terrorist threat, and his deputy -- by his own admission -- hasn't the first idea which airline passengers can be "trusted."
If these guys were doing their jobs right, Congress would be reining them in, civil libertarians would be screaming, and professional ethnic complainers would be holding candlelight vigils and singing "We Shall Overcome." Instead, Congress is forced to pass laws overruling Mineta and Magaw, civil libertarians are scratching their heads wondering why profiling is prohibited, and professional complainers are sending them flowers.
Maybe somebody else should be doing this job.