Kentucky senator refuses airport pat down

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he was detained at the Nashville International Airport by the TSA. Paul posted about the incident on his Facebook page.

Rand Paul was scheduled to speak today at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. He says he was stopped briefly by security at the Nashville airport when a scanner found an "anomaly" on his knee.

The Republican who frequently uses the airport about an hour from his Bowling Green home told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he asked for another scan but refused a pat down by airport security. He said he was "detained" at a small cubicle and couldn't make his flight to Washington for a Senate session.

"I said, I'm happy to show you my leg, and I showed them my leg, but that wasn't good enough, they wanted to do a pat down," Senator Paul said.

"I said, well, I'm happy to go through the screener again, walk through and they wouldn't let me. So, then I was detained, in an area, and told if I use my phone, I got to the full body pat down."

Paul, the son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, said the situation reflects his long-standing concern that the TSA shouldn't be "spending so much time with people who wouldn't attack us."

The Transportation Security Administration released the following statement about the incident.

“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.”

"The passenger was not detained at any point. The passenger triggered an alarm during routine airport screening and refused to complete the screening process in order to resolve the issue. Passengers, as in this case, who refuse to comply with security procedures are denied access to the secure gate area. He was escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement."

"The passenger was screened by millimeter wave imaging technology using automated target recognition. This technology uses the same generic image for all passengers to further protect passengers privacy. When an alarm occurs a yellow box indicates where an anomaly is. A targeted pat down is used to resolve the alarm. "

Monday afternoon the White House also issued a statement, in defense of the TSA. White House spokesman Jay Carney, while not confirming that the incident involved Paul, said the passenger in question was never detained. Carney added that passengers who "refuse to comply with security procedures" are "denied access to the secure gate area."

Paul's father, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, says his son's experience is evidence that "the police state in this country is growing out of control." He says the TSA "gropes and grabs" innocent Americans "while doing nothing to keep us safe."

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