Senator Rand Paul Refuses TSA Pat-Down
Paul has been an vocal critic of the TSA in Congress, but according to the White House, the TSA acted appropriately.
"Passengers, as in this case, who refuse to comply with security procedures, are denied access to the secure gate area," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe and I believe that is what TSA is tasked with doing."
He said he tried to show TSA officers that there was nothing hidden in his leg that would set off the scanner, “but they didn’t really care about my leg too much.”
Paul then bared his knee for reporters.
“It may not be pretty, but there’s nothing there,” he said, rolling up his dress pants.
Both Paul’s spokeswoman and his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), had tweeted that the senator had been detained by TSA officers in Nashville, a characterization the TSA disputed.
“Probably a matter of semantics,” Paul said. “I was told not to leave a cubicle and when I did step outside the cubicle I was sort of surrounded and put back in the cubicle. Seems a little bit like I was being detained. But when they got tired of detaining me, they evicted me. And then I was told to leave. I think I would have been arrested had I not done what I was told,” Paul said.
Under Constitutional law, a U.S. senator is not allowed to be detained while on his way to Washington. The TSA maintains the senator was never detained, but instead denied access to his gate, and the issue was resolved by the middle of the day.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“The passenger has since rebooked on another flight and was rescreened without incident,” [TSA spokesperson Greg Soule] said.
Ron Paul seized on the politics of the incident, using it to promote his budget proposal, which would eliminate the TSA.
"The police state in this country is growing out of control. 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," the congressman said in a statement.
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