U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Refuses TSA Pat-Down, Misses Flight

Sen. Randal “Rand” Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and son of presidential contender Ron Paul, had a run-in with the TSA at Nashville International (BNA) this morning, and as a result, did not get on his planned flight to Washington.

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Paul Sets Off Alarm

Various news reports say the senator set off an alarm going through a body scanner at a security check-point, then refused a pat-down. Paul’s spokesperson said he was then “detained” by the TSA.

The TSA saw it differently – media reports quote a TSA spokesperson as saying the senator was not detained but “escorted” – and escorted all the way out of the airport.

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TSA Critics: ‘Clueless’ and ‘Police State’

It’s not clear why Sen. Paul refused the pat-down but he has been a vocal critic of the TSA in the past, calling the agency “clueless” in the case of a 6-year-old girl who was patted-down (the TSA has since changed its rules for children aged 12 and under). The elder Paul weighed in on today’s incident, saying “The police state in this country is growing out of control.”

A TSA spokesman said Paul was later “rebooked on another flight and was rescreened without incident” which suggests someone blinked.

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Published: January 23, 2012