Yesterday’s big story was the “detention” of U.S. Senator Rand Paul by the TSA in Nashville while en route to Washington, D.C. Rand discussed the entire incident last night on Fox News with Judge Napolitano (video below).
The TSA disputes language of “detained” or “detention” instead “saying that its employees in Nashville followed its normal procedure with the senator” and “the senator was escorted out of the security area after his refusal to accept a pat-down after his trip through one of the agency’s X-ray machines caused issues.” Paul notes the obvious: that being ushered to a cubical, told you can’t leave, and then ushered back in when you try to leave is being “detained.” But the agency is timid about the word, perhaps because it is a legal word for arrest and the Constitution explicitly gives Congressmen exemption from Arrest when traveling to the Senate:
They [The Senators and Representatives] 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. (Article I, Section 6)
The White House also took the side of the TSA, giving only very vague and general reference to the need to be “safe”: “I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe,” said the Press Secretary.
Also, the random nature of the buzzer, the reaction of the TSA, and refusal to let him go through a second time are suspect to Paul. He said,
I think the buzzers are going off when you go through the screens in a random fashion in order to subject you to random pat-downs. . . . Two TSA agents indicated that they felt that that was true.
Senator Paul’s father, Ron Paul, blasted the agency in a statement vowing to eliminate the TSA in the event of a Paul presidency:
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.