Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials briefly detained Senator Rand Paul in Nashville, Tennessee after he refused to submit to a invasive airport pat-down.
“Just got a call from @senrandpaul,” Paul press secretary Moira Bagley tweeted at 10 a.m. on Monday. “He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”
Sen. Rand Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford confirmed the incident, telling The Daily Caller the Senator was detained by the TSA after their scanner had detected an “anomaly.”
“He offered to go through again,” Stafford explained in an email. “[But] the TSA said he could only have a full body pat down. He would not consent to it. He offered to go through the scanner again.”
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said the TSA detention of his son illustrated how the agency has become the enforcer of a “police state.”
“The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities,” the elder Paul said in an offical statement released by his presidential campaign.
“The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe. That is why my ‘Plan to Restore America,’ in additional to cutting $1 trillion dollars in federal spending in one year, eliminates the TSA.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration appeared to stand by the TSA’s decision to detain Paul.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he didn’t have any specific reaction to Paul’s comment about a “police state,” but emphasized it was “absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure air travel is safe.”
The TSA has released the following official statement in response to 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.”