US Senator Rand Paul caused a stir today when his dad, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, tweeted that his son had been detained by the US Transportation and Security Administration.
The incident occurred earlier today at Nashville Airport when Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was screened using millimeter wave imaging technology (previously known as "naked scanners.") During the process, an alarm was triggered indicating there was an "anomaly," as the TSA refers to these sorts of things.
Rand Paul, according to published reports, offered to go through the screening again, but refused to comply further when told that he'd be subject to a patdown.
He was denied access to the gate area for his flight, which he missed, and local law enforcement escorted the Senator out of the screening area.
The TSA indicates that Rand Paul was never "detained" or arrested, according to published reports.
He was rebooked on another flight and rescreened without triggering another yellow box, which is the millimeter wave imaging technology symbol for an irregularity.
"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," the TSA states. "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."
The incident today can be viewed from many perspectives.
The TSA was sketchy about the details of how Rand Paul was rescreened for the later flight.
For the original flight, at least, the TSA should be credited for apparently not giving in to the Senator and providing him with any special treatment because of his congressional status.
Would a patdown have been justified?
Does anyone remember September 11?
It is unknown, however, whether Rand Paul was given any kid-gloves treatment for the second flight and after his father and Rand Paul's media rep separately went public with tweets about the Senator's alleged "detention."
The Senator reportedly favors a trusted-traveler program, which would be a step in the right direction and might limit unnecessary searches and patdowns.
The Kentucky senator, like his father, is a libertarian and he's been an outspoken critic of TSA excesses and perceived unwarranted patdowns.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul, the Republican Congressman from Texas who is battling it out in the Republican presidential primaries, issued a statement decrying "police state" tactics and calling for the abolition of the TSA. Ron Paul stated:
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 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.
We must restore the freedom and respect for liberty that once made American the greatest nation in human history. I am deeply committed to doing that as President of the United States.