TSA Critic, Senator Rand Paul, Prevented By TSA From Getting On His Flight To DC

from the he-might-be-a-terrorist dept

Senator Rand Paul has frequently criticized the TSA and its security theater at airports both for being intrusive and (more importantly) for not being effective. He’s made the point repeatedly that it’s a mistake to simply assume everyone may be a terrorist. So it’s interesting to note that Paul himself was unable to board his flight to DC today after the TSA refused to let him through security. Apparently the scanner machine spotted something, and Paul refused a pat down. There was some dispute over whether or not he was “detained.” The TSA denies “detention,” which actually is an important issue, since you cannot detain elected officials on their way to Congress, according to Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. 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.

While the TSA says this wasn’t a detention, it does raise questions over whether or not Senator Paul was “questioned in any other Place” while “going to…” his “respective” House. The White House put out a statement that kinda misses the point:

“I think it is absolutely essential that we take the necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe, and I believe that’s what TSA is tasked with doing.”

Sure, it’s essential. But does anyone think that patting down a US Senator has anything to do with ensuring that air travel is safe?

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Comments on “TSA Critic, Senator Rand Paul, Prevented By TSA From Getting On His Flight To DC”

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

I see your constitutional quote, but wish it weren’t true. Goose, Gander, etc.

But, seriously, how does the average TSA goon know that he is looking at a Senator on his way to Congress? If there is ID or documentation, are they trained to recognize it and validate it? Could it be fake? Could this be a terrorist impersonating a politician?

In a country where nobody knows the politicians:
…should we expect the TSA agents to know better?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

But, seriously, how does the average TSA goon know that he is looking at a Senator on his way to Congress?

Because it’s really difficult for TSA employees to uphold the Constitution, it follows that the TSA should be excused from their duty.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

Well…my 4th amendment rights don’t seem to apply when I pass through security. I’m not happy about that.

As a priority, I’ll spend a lot more energy fighting for the general public’s rights at TSA than I would ever spend defending a Congressperson’s special privilege (Constitutional or not.)

I can pick my battles, this wouldn’t be the first one.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

> Because it’s really difficult for TSA employees to uphold
> the Constitution, it follows that the TSA should be
> excused from their duty.

That’s a good start.

It’s also really difficult for the police, military, congress, courts and executive branch to uphold the constitution. They should be excused from constitutional compliance also.

AB (user link) says:

Re: Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

He can’t get on the plane without adequate ID, and from there it only takes a couple of quick phone calls to confirm that he is on his way to/from work. In addition I imagine the senate building carries visual records which can easily and quickly be accessed and transferred via modern communication methods for further confirmation.

The purpose of that rule is to ensure that a member’s vote/speech can’t be silenced by ‘accidentally’ arresting them.

Of course this only applies to the matter of detention. That doesn’t excuse him from any other TSA idiocy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Congressmen Should Get Groped As Much As The Rest of Us

Yes, I expect they should have some training into recognizing certain forms of identification and documentation. That is part of their job. I also expect them to have a higher than normal knowledge/recognition ability of a larger number of higher profile individuals. That again is a function of their job. And most importantly, given the massive amounts of money spent on “Security theater” I’d expect an easy and quick way for them to ascertain some of this information. The fact that I can pull up a picture of any politician in a matter of seconds, and they apparently cannot, to me is a major cause for concern.

Not to mention that if terrorist can that convincingly imitate public government officials, we’re in far more trouble than what he has in his pockets.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

One of my friends who is a Tea Party member said that at a Christmas party this year. He was thinking if he could get the Tea Party and OWS to drop the anger and coordinate on the issues they had in common to get them resolved, real change could be had. Once the common ground was dealt with, they would, of course, have to go their separate ways though.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Once the common ground was dealt with, they would, of course, have to go their separate ways though.”

Sure, but that’s okay. That’s why coalitions are so much more effective than compromise. Compromise means nobody involved gets what they want. For the people, compromise usually means symbolic, ineffective legislation that doesn’t work.

Coalition means that people can put aside unrelated differences and work together to achieve the things they agree on. It means that all involved can passionately support the results, even when they disagree on other things.

Compromise is a nasty symptom of collectivism, the our-team-against-their-team mentality that dominates our partisan duopoly. Coalition is a positive symptom of individualism, something we value highly as a society. Individualism is what allows people of differing political persuasion, moral codes, race, gender, you-name-it to be fast friends, despite their differences. We see it all the time in everyday life. We rarely see it in politics, except for a few exceptions (Frank, the Pauls, Kucinich, Nader, Wyden, to name a few). If we elected politicians as individuals, completely ignoring their “team,” we’d see a lot more cooperation through coalition.

Jamie (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The Tea party types keep pushing abortion and contraception restrictions, not to mention limitations on collective bargaining (I guess corporations have freedom of speech, but workers can’t freely assemble). Not to mention the Keystone pipeline, which means lots of emmanent domain suits depriving random people of their property all along the route. Rock, on, Kylo.

They like big government just fine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Where do I start with this?

“The Tea party types keep pushing abortion and contraception restrictions”

Restrictions on what we feel is murder is not “big government”. And nobody is trying to outlaw condoms, although they may object if you want to spend their money to give them to children.

“not to mention limitations on collective bargaining (I guess corporations have freedom of speech, but workers can’t freely assemble). “

I like how you think being forced to join a union is related to “freely assemble.” They can freely assemble just fine on their own without being forced.

“Not to mention the Keystone pipeline, which means lots of emmanent domain suits depriving random people of their property all along the route”

You know, that sort of thing IS provided for in the Constitution. But we DO object when they do things like take someone’s home to give the land to a corporation so they can put up a shopping mall, even if SCOTUS says it’s technically constitutional.

Anonymous Coward says:

He rang the bell in the scanner, and refused a secondary pat down as a result, and was refused access to the secure area. This is all as it should be.

The question you should be asking is what the Senator was hiding or trying to hide. Clearly, he didn’t want a secondary pat down, which would suggest he might have been trying to slide something past the TSA to make a point. He failed, and left. He came back later and took another flight, passing security without problem. It makes me think he got rid of whatever was setting off the alarms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are you saying that your country is at threat from its elected officials?

No, I am suggest that grand standing politicians aren’t beyond trying to sneak something onto a plane in order to try to make a point about the TSA. He should have manned up and taken the pat down like every other citizen would do in that position.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s possible, but more likely just an anomaly as was stated that may have been shown by allowing him a second scan as he requested.

I disagree about your “manning up and taking the pat down” position like “every other citizen” would. There are plenty of people out there that would take great offense at being a) treated like a criminal and b) groped intrusively by a stranger. Would you want your daughter or grandmother to be violated in that manner for doing nothing wrong? The TSA is out of control, and I find it difficult to understand or respect those who support their efforts. So far they have contributed absolutely nothing to the security of this country.

Personally, I have a problem with the scanners and would opt for the pat down right off the bat. The scanners amount to pornography, and no one is taking nudie pics of me without the proper compensation. The pat down on the other hand is like a free groping, and I would do everything in my power to become aroused and make the situation as awkward as possible for the TSA agent! :0

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you saying that your country is at threat from its elected officials? Go crazier, friend, go crazier.

I’ll say this country is in danger from its elected officials. Not in the form of terrorist activities, but just from sheer incompetance, greed and corruption.

I’m from Indiana… my elected officials have tried to take loaded guns through airport security.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The Paul staffer said TSA agents would not let Paul walk back through the body scanner and were demanding a full body pat-down.”

Seems to me the fair thing to do would have been to let him try again. You see it all the time at the courthouse. Someone forgets something and you go oh crap my keys, or whatever, then take them out and try again. Simple. But not when you do things the TSA way.

Which is still fucking stupid because if you got that far you still could blow a whole lotta shit up.

“He came back later and took another flight” – Where did you get that from?

Didnt watch the video did ya?

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have read somewhere that the machines are also set to randomly alarm even if there isn’t really an object so they can get their random grope quota in. Rand Paul even lifted his pant leg to show the part of his leg where the supposed “terrorist instrument” was detected. Knowing about the random alarm he suspected it to be just that…a search without reasonable cause.

Eponymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The initial scan showed an ‘anomaly’ in an area on one of his legs. Senator Paul then proceeded to lift up his pant leg to show them the area highlighted by the scan, basically saying “Oh, the man-sized microwave says there’s something weird right here? Let’s look right here then.” TSA was not appeased by his showing them bare skin in the EXACT SPOT where the scan claimed there might be something dodgy, and instead wanted to give him the third-base treatment. When Rand replied, in essence, that he was saving himself for marriage, they took umbrage and detained him, making him miss his flight.

Paul went beyond a pat-down, baring skin to show the TSA that there was nothing there, and yet they still wanted to touch his naughty bits.

HrilL says:


Do you even know anything about Rand and Ron Paul? Both are no where near being racists or 1%ers. Both believe in private property rights, small government that follows the constitution, and personal liberties.

Perhaps you should do a little research for yourself and not believe the lies the mass media produces. You might be surprised how much you actually support What the Paul’s are doing in governement.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: TSA

I don’t think racist jokes should be punishable by the government because I believe in free speech. Does that mean I’m a racist who supports racist speech?

Private business should be allowed to choose who they do business with. If they are real assholes about it, I’ll be right there picketing their business along with 99.9% of the population, but that doesn’t mean we should write laws that tell people who they have to associate with on their own property.

Turn off Maddow; engage the brain.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm the opposite...

I refuse to go through a body scanner in order to board my plane – so I opt for the pat-down every single time. I realize that this is a blatant invasion of my personal space and privacy – and yet, I choose this because I believe it is the lesser of the two evils.

I would rather force some TSA agent to put his hands on me every single time I show up at the airport, reminding him that this is what his organization demands of a fellow citizen – than to give them an “out” by going through their invasive (and potentially harmful) machine instead. I want them to know that I have a choice and will exercise it – and I feel better about the choice I’m making.

If everyone had to do the patdowns – rather than be allowed to pass through this invasive “naked scanner” machine, which may or may not ultimately cause cancer someday, then I think the requirements would change pretty quickly.

The conspiracy theorist in me believes that these requirements were very much pushed by the corporations that produce these body scanners and similar invasive technology so that they could unload their technology on the domestic market and rake in the taxpayer-funded-government-subsidies.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: I'm the opposite...

The conspiracy theorist in me believes that these requirements were very much pushed by the corporations that produce these body scanners and similar invasive technology so that they could unload their technology on the domestic market and rake in the taxpayer-funded-government-subsidies.

I wouldn’t call that a conspiracy theory. I actually thought it was a well-known fact . . .

Joshua Bardwell (profile) says:

Re: I'm the opposite...

I do the same thing. My primary reason is that I don’t trust the safety of the scanners, especially the backscatter machines. But my secondary reason is that I want to make explicit the invasive interaction that is occurring. My third reason is that it costs them more to pat me down than to scan me, and it slows down the line, so I see it as a mild form of civil disobedience.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Five Members

The Five Members

Early In January 1642, King Charles I ordered the Attorney-General to indict for treason the five members of the House of Commons and one member of the House of Lords who were most prominent in Parliament’s attempt to transfer control of the armed forces away from the Crown.?.?.?.

On 3 January, a herald was sent to the House of Commons to order that the Five Members be handed over to answer the charges against them. The House refused to comply with the King’s command because it was an infringement of parliamentary privilege. The following afternoon, 4 January 1642, Charles marched to Westminster at the head of a body of soldiers and retainers, intending to arrest the Five Members in person. Leaving the soldiers at the door, he entered the Chamber of the House of Commons and ?.?.?.?.

The Five Members were: John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Sir Arthur Hesilrige and William Strode. Lord Mandeville (the future Earl of Manchester) was also to be arrested.?.?.?.

Anonymous Coward says:

We only have ourselves to blame.

We demanded that something be done to keep us safe.

Then it happened. Not that we’re anymore safe, mind you.

I think that Paul getting the same treatment as everyone else is a rare example of leveling the playing field.

It is only we who can demand that these procedures change. You want to make that happen. STOP flying. Once you hit the corporati in their pockets, then they will tell the government to change the procedure.

That’s how this country works. Lovely, inn’t it?

bosconet (profile) says:

let's not forget TSA is part of the executive branch

and by denying Senator Paul access to his flight is effectively preventing a sitting member of the legislative branch from attending to his official duties. This is effectively an abuse of the powers of the Executive branch which is EXACTLY what that section of the Constitution is seeking to restrict.

M says:

Have you read the damn article?

Mike, I usually enjoy your articles, but this time you failed to understand something – something that most people missed, in fact. He WAS NOT on his way to the Senate! He was going to speak at the “Right to Life” rally! He says so himself in the video on the ABC article. So there was no law being broken.

Now besides that, the TSA is bullshit and shouldnt be allowed to do this in the first place, but I am glad that they didn’t give him any special treatment. He was on his way to speak somewhere, but had no official thing to go to (as opposed to going to a Senate vote or something), that makes him just another citizen. They’re crappy rules the TSA has, but if you’re going to have them, dont give special breaks to people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Have you read the damn article?

He WAS NOT on his way to the Senate!

Senate Floor Schedule

Monday, Jan 23, 2012

2:00 p.m.: Convene and begin a period of morning business.

4:00 p.m.: Proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of John M. Gerrard to be United States District Judge for the District of Nebraska.

M says:

Re: Re: Have you read the damn article?

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/01/rand-paul-in-pat-down-standoff-with-tsa-in-nashville/ Check out the video.

Here’s the good bit:
“You know, I was trying to get up here, I had probably the biggest speech of my career, I was going to speak to 200,000 people at the March For Life on the Mall”

I don’t care what the schedule says, RAND PAUL himself says he was NOT GOING TO THE SENATE.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Have you read the damn article?

I don’t care what the schedule says

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress – 2nd Session

Vote Summary

Question: On the Nomination (Confirmation John M. Gerrard, of Nebraska, to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Nebraska )

Vote Date: January 23, 2012, 05:32 PM

Paul (R-KY), Nay

J E B says:

Re: Re: Have you read the damn article?

Supreme Court and tradition holds that it does not matter if he was going to the Senate at that point of time, it matters only that he was going to Washington DC while “Congress is in Session”.

As for Senator Paul being treated as if he were “just another citizen”, that lacks the legal point of this matter. In this instance, of a sitting US Senator travelling to his “respective House”, he is most definitely NOT “another citizen”.

metalgoddess (profile) says:

Re: Have you read the damn article?

It doesn’t hurt for these politicians to get a dose of what us normal folks put up with. I refuse to feel sorry for the guy. And you’re right, A Right To Life rally has nothing to do with going to the White House or some other federal function. Rand might not be racist but he sure shows an inappropriate interest in what goes in my uterus. I take issue with that.

Dennis Lane says:

Let the jerks do their business

Just asking, of course, but has anyone masturbated almost to a conclusion, kept themselves at the point of no return by a little pocket billiards, and then let a TSA crotchpat finish him off?

Who would be at fault? The person going through security with a hard on or the TSA official manipulating a suspicious package?

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

We just don't learn

If the SOPA/PIPA confrontation has taught us anything, it’s taught us that the internet is an extremely powerful communications platform that can drive change in the US. With the aid of key sites, millions of voices can be heard at once and help to influence Congress.

While its obvious to just about everyone except the TSA that their procedures are moronic, simply stating that on blogs isn’t enough. Obama promised change, but there is no way that one man can alter the corruption in Congress. Seems like Google and Facebook should come up with some sort of system that can help to direct our voices, then maybe we can be done with this TSA bullshit.

Bill Fisher (profile) says:

TSA Police State

There were no airline attacks between 2001 and 2010 and TSA didn?t need feel up little kids, strip search old ladies, remove diapers from incontinent passengers or irradiate and take nude photos of people then. In ten years TSA has not caught one terrorist.

They didn?t find one item in 2011 because of the scanners or groping. Over 90% of items were found using the x-ray belt and walk through metal detectors. They are only groping people to get them to use the scanners and funnel more money to the scanner manufacturers that former TSA head, Michael Chertoff, now represents.

Over 1.3 million Americans have died in defense of the liberties that TSA is trampling. Cowards who defend TSA?s violation of the 4th Amendment in exchange for false security are a pitiful and dishonor the sacrifice of those heroes.

This agency and its workers are a national disgrace and should be replaced with a system that actually works. Thankfully Rand Paul and a few other legislators are trying to preserve our liberties and stop the ascent of the American police state.

TSA Crimes & Abuses

System Operator (profile) says:

Just another publicity stunt

RAND “Corp” P$AUL is just another wolf in sheeps clothing.

Do not be fooled by this smooth operator. Like father like son in this case. These guys are both super deep moles who deny their MA$ONIC leadership roles let alone their connections. They are masters of deception, remember Ron P$AUL’s inexplicable Bruno “appearance”? Inexplicable to fools alone.

These are as vermin like creatures you will ever know, fools like these are VERY dangerous self-deceivers.

Need anyone be reminded how Rand P$aul advocated attendees, not leaders, but attendees, of so called “anti-american” rallies be jailed & deported ?

These are power hungry fools who will do or say anything.

Please pray for their rapid recovery from their self-deception.

To refresh your memory please watch these videos here: http://goo.gl/tz5Ro

and read more here: http://goo.gl/mhslo

Jasep says:

Re: Just another publicity stunt

First off, Ron Paul is not a Freemason, and to my knowledge, neither is his son, Rand. Second of all, Freemasonry is a fraternal organization, not a religion, and not a organization bent on World domination, and certainly not elitist, and you should be wearing a tin foil hat to spout otherwise.

Freemasons were among those who founded the United States. Numerous politicians have been Freemasons. But no Presidents have been Freemasons since Gerald Ford.

There are no “secret agendas” that are revealed at “higher” levels of Freemasonry. I should know, I am a Freemason, was the head of my lodge (called the “Worhipful Master,” a reference to being full of worship, and the master of the Lodge), received the 32nd Degree in the Scottish Rite, and am a Shriner. About the most special privledge you could get by joining Freemasonry is to catch a break on a minor traffic ticket from a cop who also happens to be a Mason. That’s about it… Oh,… and there’s absolutely no devil worship, either. That’s propaganda from tin-foil hat types who try to sell you anti-masonic “educational” materials.

The “secrets” of Freemasonryare nothing more than private signs of recognition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Looking through the comments on the linked ABC news article can be depressing. “It says right there on the ticket that they are allowed to do whatever they want to you.” Hey, I think I’m going to set up shop as a ticket redistributor. Stapled to each ticket will be a contract giving me total control over their lives. They bought the ticket, so they obviously agreed to whatever happened to be on it, right?

“Flying is not a right, he should have drove if he didn’t want to be searched.” Great, except if you drive, the police can stop you at random sobriety checkpoints with no probable cause. Because, you know, driving is not a right. And if you take the bus or the train, you’re subject to search, because… Oh well, I guess they should walk. The Senators from Hawaii will be selected by triathalon – whoever can run to the shore, swim the Pacific, and then bike to Washington.

“He was obviously hiding something, which is why he didn’t want to be patted down.” Which is why he wanted to step through the scanner again, and actually showed them his leg to prove there was nothing there?

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