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GOP Senator Rand Paul Detained by TSA at Nashville Airport


Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been detained by TSA at the Nashville Airport after reportedly refusing a pat-down.

CNN: Paul

Paul went through a scanner at the airport and set off an alarm, said his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley. He wanted to go through the body scan again instead of getting a pat-down, but officers of the Transportation Security Administration refused, Bagley said.

Paul, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, is an outspoken critic of what he characterizes as an overly obtrusive federal government threatening to strip of citizens of various rights and civil liberties.

His father Ron Paul tweeted about the detention a shortt time ago: "My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming."

In fact, Paul's just a drama queen who wants to draw attention to his signature issue.

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  1. That's the standard policy. You don't get a second chance at the bodyscan. Leave it to a Senator to believe that they should get special treatment.

    Here's an idea: you're part of the government that approved the liberty and freedom snatching Patriot Act and setup the ridiculous TSA, how about fixing it without being reactionary for the purpose of soliciting votes (from a panicking public.)

    Posted by: unruly | Jan 23, 2012 11:08:44 AM

  2. Gee, this doesn't smell like obvious political showboating, does it?

    Posted by: Jeff Kurtti | Jan 23, 2012 11:09:50 AM

  3. Probably packing a Steely Dan.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 23, 2012 11:13:57 AM

  4. Other than the fact that Rand Paul doesn't have a brain, what body anomaly did they find?

    Posted by: GoBlue | Jan 23, 2012 11:15:47 AM

  5. So Sen. Paul supports allowing terrorists with weapons to board airplanes rather than protecting the American people?

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Jan 23, 2012 11:22:24 AM

  6. In this case, they actually do have probable cause to search him.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jan 23, 2012 11:30:48 AM

  7. I think he's a hero for taking a stand. I'm a liberal but have no qualms with sharing some beliefs with the Paul family and a belief in the overreach of the TSA is one of them. Good for him.

    Posted by: Landon | Jan 23, 2012 11:44:10 AM

  8. So what?

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 23, 2012 11:52:38 AM

  9. I hope he raises Hell on this. The TSA is outrageous in their behavior towards American citizens.

    What is even more outrageous is how many American citizens have drank the "keep us safe Kool-Aide." It has been established time and again that the full body scans and pats downs are not keeping us safer.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jan 23, 2012 11:53:04 AM

  10. Well, Rand, as a senator, *you're the one* who is empowered to change these policies and procedures if you think they're inappropriate. You don't like it? Neither do the American people. What are *you* going to do about it, then?

    Posted by: John Equality | Jan 23, 2012 11:57:30 AM

  11. It doesn't matter. Rand Paul is a total idiot, but, if I may quote Article I, Section of the US Constitution:

    " They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

    Regardless of his showboating and idiocy, this is the Constitution the TSA is dancing on.

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 23, 2012 11:58:36 AM

  12. There's a little bit of a distinction that needs to be made regarding Rand Paul's position on the TSA. He believes that the TSA should spend more time "on those who WOULD attack us," meaning those people who look like terrorists. Trust me, the TSA's overreaching is ludicrous, but let's not pretend for a second that if Congressman Keith Ellison, who is a Muslim, got detained by the TSA for this same reason, that Rand Paul and his supporters wouldn't be up in arms about Ellison's rights being trampled on.

    Posted by: Larry | Jan 23, 2012 12:06:09 PM

  13. the last two times I flew out of Detroit they had everyone going through the body scanner, all other stations were closed, and nobody asked u if u wanted to have a pat down... the last time they asked me I chose that route... now before u know, they put u under the radiation chamber, which I dislike immensely.....

    btw, r they related to Ru Paul? now that is someone we need in Congress..... ;-)

    Posted by: V-8 | Jan 23, 2012 12:06:38 PM

  14. I opted out once just to see how it was. Most ridiculous pat down I have ever received. Took at least 10 minutes and I don't think there was a single portion of my body that they did not touch. They make it deliberately onerous so people will take the full body scan.

    Posted by: Jay M | Jan 23, 2012 12:15:50 PM

  15. The rule excluding congressmen from arrest is almost never invoked because it's political poison. The scanners are mostly a white elephant project to reward campaign donors. The actual number of security breaches has been the same for years.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 23, 2012 12:25:35 PM

  16. If he got the pat down because of an identified anomaly, then I have no issue with him receiving the pat down. Its exactly what is supposed to happen when the scanner triggers something. You don't get to go through again until you get a clean response (holding up others in line) and possibly allowing you to (unlikely, but possible) shift or dispose of said anomaly in such a way that allows you a clear pass the second time. If there is an anomaly it must be identified or explained before you risk the safety of those on a flight. Period. Change the law if you want, but follow it until you do unless it is immoral or discriminatory. Pauls's criticism, ironically, is that it is not discriminatory enough.

    Posted by: BreckRoy | Jan 23, 2012 12:32:04 PM

  17. Maybe they could see the giant stick up his ass.

    Posted by: Brandon | Jan 23, 2012 12:38:20 PM

  18. Yeah, political showboating.

    I've never been asked if I wanted to opt out, but you have the right to state that preference whether they ask or not.

    When traveling for the holidays last month I wound up being one of the unlucky picks for scanning in the 'every other person' randomization they were running for the scanner vs. the regular metal detector. I opted out. The agent who did the pat down was profession, thorough, & efficient; the entire thing took maybe 5 minutes (at most). I'm curious how much the differences reported in experience are tied to particular airports (mine was at DFW) or perhaps just particular agents.

    Posted by: toddinsf | Jan 23, 2012 12:43:55 PM

  19. Rules are rules, Rand. You helped make them now set a good example and follow them. Shame on him.

    Posted by: DiatribesAndOvationsTo | Jan 23, 2012 1:08:03 PM

  20. I have no idea why Rand Paul avoided the patdown. The process is not as intrusive as the media claims.

    I always opt out of the full body scanner and take the pat-down. If everyone does this, there won't be any body scanners. Why? Because the TSA can not afford to pat-down all passengers. The reason body scanners are there is because we are OK with the government strip searching us.

    Posted by: SR | Jan 23, 2012 1:26:59 PM

  21. Not making this up:

    He was on his way to DC to speak at an anti-choice rally.

    He's against government getting into your business at the airport, but womens' bodys? Fuggetaboutit!

    Posted by: John | Jan 23, 2012 1:33:05 PM

  22. There are no safe limits of ionized radiation. If a backscatter x-ray scanner malfunctions, it is completely capable of delivering a high-enough dose to cause cell damage. The testing method used to certify the scanners was flawed - it assumed that the entire radiation dose would be equally distributed throughout the body but backscatter x-rays only penetrated a few layers of skin which must then absorb the whole shot. I know 7 radiologists - everyone of them opts outs every time. I fly 2 to 4 times per week and I will never go through the scanner.

    @V-8 - you don't have to be asked if you would prefer a pat-down - all you have to do is say you are opting out of the scanner and they must let you. Personally, I don't mind the pat-downs - almost always the TSA agent is polite, professional, and quick. About a third of the time, when I say I opt out, they just let me go through the metal detector and I'm done anyway.

    Posted by: MikeBoston | Jan 23, 2012 2:08:57 PM

  23. He wasn't detained. He was not allowed to go past security. Big difference.

    Posted by: Also Rob | Jan 23, 2012 3:14:10 PM

  24. let me guesss: full-body pat-downs are just for "brown people", right?


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 23, 2012 3:22:52 PM

  25. Shame on Towleroad. The TSA engages in outrageous actions all the time against all sorts of people. That Paul was the victim this time just shows how unfocused the TSA is. They randomly target people, which is a waste of resources, instead doing the hard investigations that actually stop terrorism. This is security theater and for you to ridicule Paul because he stood up to them is juvenile. If this were someone from the Left you would applaud. You are letting you hatred for his politics influence your judgement.

    Posted by: James Peron | Jan 24, 2012 4:30:42 AM

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