Ky. Senator Rand Paul Stopped By TSA At Nashville Airport
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul was not allowed to board his initial flight at Nashville International Airport after refusing a pat down search after failing a full body scan.
Senator Paul said he came to Nashville International Airport on Monday morning to fly to Washington D.C. for a speech before a right-to-life march.
The Kentucky Senator lives in Bowling Green and is the son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.
When he went through security, he said a scanner picked up something on his leg. When he declined a pat-down, he said he was "detained" at a small cubicle and couldn't make his flight to Washington for a Senate session.
"So 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. And I said 'well I'm happy to go through the re-screen, and walk through the screener again'. And they wouldn't let me. So then I was detained in an area, and told if I used my phone I got the full-body pat down," Sen. Paul said.
Paul said he was calling TSA in Washington to confirm "the rules" when it made the TSA agents upset.
He believes he was asking to be rescanned, which he said was reasonable, and called the incident an example of the mindlessness Americans face every time they fly.
"Americans are going through the airport every day being subjected to these indignities. Nobody is thinking about who could attack us or who would attack us, it's just this mindlessness," Paul told NewsChannel 5 Monday. "We need to screen people obviously. We need to treat people the same. We also just need to be fair and think about people's dignity."
The TSA said Senator Paul was not detained at any point. They said he refused to complete the screening process after triggering an alarm during routine airport screening, and was denied access to the secure gate area. He was then escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement.
Senator Paul missed his flight but was able to rebook it through U.S. Air. He was rescreened without incident, according to the TSA.
The White House defended the conduct of the TSA after the incident.
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."
The TSA issued a similar statement: "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."
Paul's father, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, said his son's experience is evidence that "the police state in this country is growing out of control." He said the TSA "gropes and grabs" innocent Americans "while doing nothing to keep us safe."
The U.S. Senator said he believes he and everyone else should be treated the same.
Paul told the Associated Press that the situation reflects his long-standing concern that the TSA shouldn't be "spending so much time with people who wouldn't attack us."
Ron Paul had tweeted earlier in the morning that Rand was "being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville."
(CBS News/The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)