Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Monday found himself in a showdown with the Transportation Security Administration in Nashville, Tennessee after refusing to undergo a full-body pat down. Paul was later re-screened and booked on a subsequent flight.
The senator went through the scanner at the airport but was told there was some sort of “anomaly” with the scan and would have to get a full-body pat down, Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford told CBS News. Paul did not consent to this and offered another scan, but the TSA insisted on the pat down.
According to the Associated Press, Paul said he was “detained” in a small cubicle in the airport, which is about an hour from his Bowling Green, Kentucky home, and missed his flight to Washington for a Senate session.
The TSA disputed the characterization that Paul was “detained.” The TSA told CBS News that Paul wasn’t detained at any point, though he triggered an alarm during a routine screening and refused to complete the screening process.
Passengers who refuse to comply with security procedures are denied access to the secure gate area. In this case, Paul was escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement, according to the TSA.
“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport,” the TSA said in a statement to CBS News. “Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling.”
Paul’s father, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, quickly tweeted about the incident Monday morning: “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”
Ron Paul left a similar message on Facebook, and Rand Paul’s communications director Moira Bagley also tweeted the news.
Around midday, a TSA official told CBS News that Rand Paul was re-booked on another flight and re-screened without incident.
Both Rand Paul and Ron Paul are known for their libertarian policy positions, and last year, Rand Paul blasted the TSA for conducting unnecessary pat downs.
In a June 2011 hearing, Paul told TSA administrator John Pistole, “I think you ought to get rid of the random pat-downs. The American public is unhappy with them, they’re unhappy with the invasiveness of them.”
After reports surfaced of young children getting intense, random pat-downs, Paul said in the hearing, “It just really just shows that no one is thinking… We need to be doing better police work and doing less of the universal giving up of our freedom to live our life the way we would like to live our life.”
He suggested there should be a “trusted traveler” program in which people who travel frequently and are known to be not a threat, like congressmen, don’t have to be searched.
Monday afternoon, Ron Paul released a statement decrying the dispute, noting that as president, he would eliminate the TSA.
“The police state in this country is growing out of control,” he said. “One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
‘Paul was later re-screened and booked on a subsequent flight.’
A capitulation of sorts! Re-screened? Paul should have challenged the TSA legislation at Congress on the basis of ciy to city or congressional district to congressional district removal of TSA from local airports and congressional districts, demanding to be let through under some obscure bureaucrat law – some plutocrat congressman should be doing this by putting lawsuits on all TSA guys (TSA guys how about earning your money in a different manner by quitting and joining a less controversial and more useful government department – you’re becoming the face of American failure and security excesses and the ‘American face of hate’ more than or at least as much as Muslim Terrorism already is) to kick up a fuss instead of allowing oneself to be screened and getting on another flight.
Remember voters, plutocrat mayors, congressmen or gubernatorial and senatorial politicians level have allowed this – with sad to say President Obama for all the good he might be doing elsewhere, tacitly approving by not making a sound on TSA either. Those who want to keep TSA would doubtless make their districts a$$hole districts where people would give a miss, much like the Internet Kill Switch States (Rand, your dad Ron needs to drop this one . . . ) or the pro-Fiat/Anti-Gold States, etc..
Snoop Dog should have done the stronger version of this for all the organics smokers in his own court case. Though the sum was small, Snoop chose the lazy way out and paid the fine rather than pull an MLK on the legislation as Rand Oaul is pulling half an MLK (i.e. half a$$ed attempt) on the TSA here. Come on Snoop, maybe you could try to demand that fine you paid back and still pull an MLK to legalise organics drugs the way Nethelands has. Show Rand Paul how it’s done. Surely you can’t be satisfied with making cash from music alone. YOu want to look back and say, I, Snoop Dog MADE legislation of pot possible, got the avalanch started, and freed so many suffering souls from prison or fear of growing their own patch. Why don’t you do it Snoop? On the back of Rand Pauls trail blazing on TSA . . . or one day you will look back and regret it and struggle like mad to reclaim what was almost lost when one was directly relevant and having an immediate reason to. This will set you apart from all other rappers who do smoke pot but lack the courage to do this even though they do have the money! USA is the ‘Fisr World’ now show the rest of the world how the organics issue and by extension all other issue should be treated.