Rand Paul detained: Rep. refuses airport patdown after alarm
In a harshly worded attack on the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screenings at US airports, Ron Paul, known for his strident libertarian views, said the TSA 'gropes and grabs our kids and our seniors and does nothing to keep us safe.'
Republican Senator¬†Rand¬†Paul¬†was stopped at an airport on Monday for setting off an alarm and refusing a patdown, prompting his father, U.S. presidential candidate¬†Ron¬†Paul, to accuse security officials of being part of an "out of control" police state.
In a harshly worded attack on the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screenings at U.S. airports,¬†Ron¬†Paul, known for his strident libertarian views, said the TSA "gropes and grabs our kids and our seniors and does nothing to keep us safe."
After¬†Rand¬†Paul¬†refused the patdown, he was escorted out of the airport security area in¬†Nashville,Tennessee, by local authorities, the TSA said.¬†Paul¬†missed his flight to¬†Washington, but was later rebooked and rescreened without incident.
As favorites of the anti-Washington¬†Tea Party movement,¬†Paul¬†and his father, who is a U.S. Represenative from¬†Texas, have helped lead the charge against what critics call excessive federal intrusion, from healthcare to body searches.
At a¬†Senate¬†hearing last June,¬†Rand¬†Paul¬†challenged TSA Administrator¬†John Pistole¬†over his agency's random patdowns of travelers at airports, including the case of a 6-year-old girl from his home state of¬†Kentucky.
"This isn't to say that we don't believe in safety procedures,"¬†Paul¬†said. "But I think I feel less safe because you're doing these invasive exams on a six-year-old. It makes me think you're clueless that you think she's going to attack our country and that you're not doing your research on the people who would attack our country."
On the campaign trial,¬†Ron¬†Paul¬†has called for the abolition of the TSA on the grounds that it wastes taxpayer money and violates personal liberties.
Rand¬†Paul¬†has recommended that authorities eliminate patdowns as part of everyday security, saying TSA should more heavily emphasize non-invasive methods for assessing risk.
The senator has even complained that close screening of members of¬†Congress¬†and other frequent fliers known to airlines and security officials is a poor use of security resources.
TSA DEFENDS PROCEDURES
Full body imaging and patdowns at U.S. airports began in 2010, and immediately triggered a public backlash and fire from both sides of the political aisle.
More than 650 million passengers fly on U.S. airlines, most using one of the more than 400 airports where TSA operates checkpoints.
The agency defends its procedures, which they say are needed to ensure passenger safety.
Paul's personal showdown with airport security unfolded as he headed to¬†Washington¬†to address an anti-abortion rally and to return to work after a long congressional holiday break.
The senator's father,¬†Ron¬†Paul, tweeted that his son was detained for refusing a full-body pat-down "after anomaly in body scanner."
The TSA did not say what triggered the alarm and denied¬†Paul¬†had been detained.