There seems to be a lot of confusion today over whether or not Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was detained by the TSA in a Nashville airport.
Paul refused a pat down in the airport this morning while he was on his way to the anti-abortion “March For Life” rally in D.C. After his scan triggered an alarm, TSA agents tried to pat him down. Paul refused, offering a second scan instead. When the TSA agents insisted on the scan and Paul still did not comply, he was escorted out of the security area. He missed his flight, but was booked on a later one.
Soon after, his communications director Moira Bagley tweeted, “Just got a call from @senrandpaul. He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”
Paul’s father, presidential candidate Ron Paul, also responded to the incident, tweeting, “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”
The TSA said Paul wasn’t “detained” at any point and issued this statement disputing the claim:
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. 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.
Rand’s Chief of Staff Doug Stafford seemed to back track when he responded to the TSA’s statement, telling the Daily Caller, “Well, I don’t know what bureaucrat manuals call it, but: an innocent American citizen who was offering to cooperate while also attempting to stop an invasive search was not allowed to proceed without complying.”
Rand Paul, a Republican, has long been a vocal critic of the TSA’s screening practices.
“I think you ought to get rid of the random pat-downs,” Paul said in June 2011. “The American public is unhappy with them, they’re
unhappy with the invasiveness of them.”