Rand Paul detained by TSA, says spokesperson


CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - AUGUST 10: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (L) (R-KY) listens to his father Texas Congressman and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul speak at a campaign stop August 10, 2011 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Scott Olson

Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky with libertarian leanings, was reportedly detained by the Transportation Security Administration for refusing a pat-down, according to Reuters.

Paul’s spokeswoman Moira Bagley told Politico he was detained by security officials in Nashville, Tennessee and missed his flight. “I spoke with him five minutes ago and he was being detained indefinitely.”

The Associated Press reported that a scanner at the airport set off an alarm, focusing on Paul’s knee, which has no metal. The senator spoke to the AP and said he asked for another scan but refused to be patted down.

He told reporters at the airport, “There is no problem. It was just a problem with their machine. But this is getting more frequent, and because everybody has to have a pat down it's a problem.”

Presidential candidate Ron Paul, the senator’s father, weighed in on Twitter, saying, “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”

More on GlobalPost: Ron Paul: The spoiler?

However, a TSA official anonymously said Paul “left the checkpoint willingly” and was not detained, according to CNN.

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.”

Paul has been a vocal opponent of the TSA. In June 2011, he spoke out about a 6-year-old girl being patted down, telling TSA Administrator John Pistole, “I feel less safe because you're doing these invasive exams on a six-year-old... It makes me think you're clueless, you know, 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.”