Pundits at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, have never been known to mince words when critiquing a policy or a politician somehow at odds with their ideals. This week, the unsuspecting target was Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay -- or, depending on whom you talk to, that "limp rag masquerading as a terror warrior." McKay, D-Lee District, gravely offended Cato scholar Jim Harper's libertarian sensibilities by suggesting at Thursday's meeting of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board that random bag searches could actually promote greater security on the trains.

"McKay seemed to take righteous pride in abdicating his responsibility to understand basic security principles as they pertain to the Metro system," Harper wrote, arguing that bag searches at a handful of stations simply transfers the risk to other train stations, or to busses, or to other parts of the city's infrastructure.

McKay, generally regarded as a pretty good-natured guy, took news of the insult in a pretty good-natured way: he laughed. But he quickly defended his stance, saying that random searches were recommended by the U.S. Transportation Security Association, the D.C. Police, and WMATA management.

"I trust the intelligence agencies when they tell me there's a reason to do this," he said.

McKay admitted that bag searches likely wouldn't stop someone intent on causing mass destruction to the Metrorail, but that they will make passengers much more aware of security concerns.

"If we're going to thwart a terrorist act, it's likely going to be because someone sees something suspicious and alerts the authorities."