Greg Skidmore, en.wikipedia.org
On the list of stupid things the Transportation Security Administration could do for their public image: detaining Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the politician most anxious to abolish them, is probably right near the top.
But that’s exactly what just happened, his Communications Director, Moira Bagley has confirmed it in a tweet.
Kelly O’Donnell is reporting that aides say Paul was detained when he refused a full-body pat-down, after the scanner went off. Paul lifted his pant-leg to show he had no metal, and asked to be re-screened. He was denied this request.
O’Donnell further reports that U.S. officials say that they didn’t ‘detain’ him, though that is the word Paul’s office is using.
Bagley has now told Politico, “I spoke with him five minutes ago and he was being detained indefinitely… The image scan went off, he refused patdown.”
UPDATE: 11:33AM CNN’s Dana Bash is reports a response from the TSA, saying Paul walked away willing.
“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,” TSA spokesman Greg Soule said. “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.”
A TSA official said Paul was “not detained” and left the checkpoint willingly. The official was not authorized to speak for attribution.
I think we can safely say that the liberty-loving Senator may not have been a threat to board the airplane but he is likely to be a threat to the TSA from now on.
Paul was scheduled to speak to the March for Life today in Washington D.C., an annual rally by anti-abortion rights activists held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling Roe w. Wade. It looks like that won’t happen.
Here is a video of Rand Paul speaking against full-body searches by the TSA at a meeting of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in June of last year.