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(Updates with Ron Paul reaction starting in the eighth paragraph.)
Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Rand Paul triggered an alarm during an airport security check and was escorted out of the screening area by police after refusing to submit to a patdown, the Transportation Security Administration said.
Paul was attempting to clear security to get to a flight in Nashville, Tennessee. A routine screening of the Kentucky Republican showed an anomaly and the senator refused to go through a patdown, as required by security procedures, to “resolve the alarm,” according to an e-mailed TSA statement. Paul was not detained, the agency said.
“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed,” TSA spokesman Greg Soule said in an e-mail. “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.”
Paul later went through security without incident and boarded another flight, the agency said.
Paul, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has criticized TSA screening policies. At a hearing last June, Paul asked Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole about a patdown of a 6-year- old girl as an aide displayed an enlarged photograph of the search.
“I feel less safe that you’re doing invasive searches on six-year-olds,” Paul said. “It makes me think you’re clueless.”
The agency has since altered search procedures for children.
U.S. Representative Ron Paul, the presidential candidate and father of the senator, today reiterated a pledge to eliminate the TSA, after first reporting the incident involving his son on his Twitter account and Facebook page.
“The police state in this country is growing out of control,” Paul, a Texas Republican, said in a statement. “One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors and our loved ones.”
Rand Paul had been scheduled to speak to the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington today, according to his Twitter account. The Senate is scheduled to vote on a judicial nomination beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m.
--With assistance from Derek Wallbank in Washington and John McCormick in Chicago. Editors: Bernard Kohn, Katherine Rizzo
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
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