Rand Paul Detained By TSA On Way To Anti-Abortion March

Who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul was briefly detained this morning by the Transportation Security Administration in Nashville, Tennessee after refusing a security pat-down. The Paul camp wasted no time in jumping ahead of the story, with a spokesperson noting the Senator was being “detained indefinitely” (a particularly nice flourish that will appeal to Paul’s base) and dad Rep. Ron Paul tweeting “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”

For its part TSA denied Paul was ever detained but rather followed the usual course when a passenger triggers an alarm during routine screening then refuses to complete the screening process with a pat-down.

Both Senator and Rep. Paul are fierce critics of the TSA and their new security protocol, calling them invasive government overreach, and their entire faux-libertarianism depends on this narrative of the Pauls standing up for individual liberty in the face of government tyranny.

So it only makes sense that Paul was on his way to Washington, D.C. where he was to speak at the anti-abortion March for Life rally in D.C. Wait. What?

This right here sums up the libertarianism of the Pauls. It is not intrusive for the government to order a woman to have a vaginal ultrasound before she can have an abortion, but it is intrusive for Sen. Paul to be frisked for weapons and contraband before boarding a flight and after he triggered an alarm. Having the state acknowledge and respect bodily autonomy is the foundation of being recognized as a “person” or “citizen.” Paul’s understanding of who deserves to have their bodily integrity recognized by the state and who does not says everything about the value his brand of “libertarianism” places on women’s lives.

By no means am I endorsing TSA procedures in this or in any case. Like Sen. Paul, I think our security state has veered too far afoul of the Bill of Rights with little, if anything to show for it. But the difference between Paul and his supporters, and me, is that I believe in limiting excessive government overreach in the lives of everyone, including women.

Related Stories:

The Rise Of Rand Paul And The Mainstreaming Of The Racist Right

Photo from gage skidmore via flickr.


Gillian Miller
Gillian M7 years ago

I'm glad that the TSA ensured that Ron Paul had to follow the same legislation as anyone else. I dislike the idea of these scans but would point out that it is important to protect ourselves from hijackers (I remember how common that was) to the terrorists who blow up planes up to and including 9/11. I'm just sorry that they are not allowed to profile the group most likely to do it and I haven't heard of an Italian or Greek suicide bomber!

Diane L.
Diane L7 years ago

Oh, right, Sandy............this was just a political stunt by Obama to "get" Rand Paul. Do you not understand the TSA was a result of what happened in the G.W. Bush Administration? They don't single out Repugs, either.

Brian M.
Past Member 7 years ago

Rand Paul, just another wealthy elite member of the 1%, no different than any of the other elites in government.

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson7 years ago

Ivasive? Yes. Who is in the White House? More where that came from. DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA!

Richard B.
Richard B7 years ago

I wonder what happens to the personal effects confiscated from passengers? Do they end up in a "lost and found" somewhere? I think it ends up as possession of the employees. This is grand larceny. Confiscated items should be be returned to their owners by mail. Airlines going bankrupt get what they deserved for allowing this. The airline travel is such an aggravation that many people avoid it. With good reason.

New G.
W. C7 years ago

Interesting, thank you.

Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR7 years ago

Let's play the converse of this silly article's theme. Its ok for to demand women have a right to abortions as matter of individual conscience but there is no problem with the Federal government manhandling US citizens as a prerequisite to allowing them to travel somewhere. Hmmm

What is the disconnect with so many people on recognizing the hypocrisy of this author's viewpoint and the majority of the anti abortion arguments? We are talking the same principles here, individual rights to their body and to travel. Though to some they may not be on the same level, its the same PRINCIPLE! Government in your life.

Even more alarming is the fact so many deep thinkers here are cheering that an individual got stopped by the TSA (likely selected because of his political views) and refused PERMISSION to travel. Do any of you ever consider what is being done by this? You're so short sighted you are cheering a fellow American (whose views you despise) having a government agency treat him as an enemy. Will it be different (like when Sen Kennedy got refused and ignited a firestorm over it) if its someone whose views support?

This type of action should scare the hell out of any American but Care2 partisans only saw a political enemy get shorted so it was ok.

Diane L.
Diane L7 years ago

Robert, first of all, I am very careful getting in and out of the shower, and yes, I'm quite aware of the risks in the bathroom. However, I CAN control to some extent, the risks involved and take precautions to reduce them. When flying, I am the mercy of others, completely. I am not flying the plane, I didn't do the mechanical work on it, nor inspect it, nor do I know who the other passengers are. I have to put my trust in those "in charge" of making sure the flight is as safe was it can be. If that inconveniences me a bit, that's what I'll be prepared to deal with, or travel by other means, which is exactly what I do.

BTW, the woman you referred to was 92, not 80. She didn't even have a problem with the search. It was her daughter, who had messed up and didn't see to her Mother's sanitary needs.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm7 years ago

Diane L you have way more chance of being struck by lightening than you do being killed by a terrorist. The TSA is overkill. There are ways of handling this that don't cause 80 year old women being strip searched. The TSA is beyond careful reason. All they have is rigid rules no matter how obtuse they are. And they are hungry to expand into Trains and busses. it all getting out of hand

You may want to skip that shower many people slip in the bathtub and die from the damage done

Pego Rice
Pego R7 years ago

Anti-abortion is part of his platform the last I looked