Why Rand Paul refused a TSA pat down, missed flight to D.C.

Sen. Rand Paul refused a pat down by TSA agents after a scanner found an 'anomaly' on his knee. Rand Paul is a critic of TSA practices.

(AP Photo/The Paducah Sun, John Wright)
Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky at a town hall meeting in January 2012 in Murray, Ky.

US Sen. Rand Paul says he was stopped briefly by TSA agents security at the Nashville airport when a scanner found an "anomaly" on his knee.

The Republican who frequently uses the airport about an hour from his Bowling Green, Ky., home told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he asked for another scan but refused a pat down by airport security. He said he was "detained" at a small cubicle.  He was later escorted out of the airport by local authorities and missed his flight to Washington for a Senate session. .

Paul's communication director Moira Bagley, (@moirabagley,) tweeted at about 10 a.m.: “Just got a call from @senrandpaul. He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”

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Paul, the son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, said the situation reflects his long-standing concern that the TSA shouldn't be "spending so much time with people who wouldn't attack us."

In September 2011 Congressional hearing, Sen. Paul said, "When the TSA head [John S] Pistole was here, he said, well, we need to do these invasive searches ... absolutely, we have to because an 8-year old in Kandahar exploded a bomb. To me that shows a bit of naivete to think that somehow there's a similarity between an 8-year old in Kandahar and an 8-year old in Bowling Green, Kentucky."

Paul added: "We have to bring some sense to what we're doing in this country ... we treat everybody equally as a terrorist suspect."

The TSA responded to today's 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,” according to an official statement released by TSA. “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.”

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