Kentucky Senator refuses pat down; misses flight

NASHVILLE, TN (WAVE) - Kentucky Senator Rand Paul missed an appearance in Washington D.C. Monday after refusing a security pat down at Nashville International Airport.

The Senator was stopped after the TSA says an alarm was triggered when Paul went through the screener.

Paul was asked to allow a pat down so he could continue on through security but, refused.

"I think he's clearly trying to make a point with his dad (Ron Paul), they take things to an extreme to prove a point," said Louisvillian James Krim who had heard about the airport incident.

Rand Paul spent a good part of his morning Monday talking on his cell phone and talking to reporters at Nashville International Airport.

Paul says after triggering an alarm walking through the screener, he tried to show security there was nothing on his leg. He says when he refused a pat down and he was detained.

"It's not just me, it's not just who I am," Paul told reporters, "Americans who are going through the airport every day are being subjected to these indignities."

Travelers we talked to at Louisville International Airport were not feeling Paul's outrage.

"He's no different than anybody else," said Elizabethtown Traveler John Reed, "I mean, I like the guy don't get me wrong but, he's no different than us."

Reed's wife Marlene added, "The law is the law for everybody and nobody is special and everybody has to obey the law so, they did right in detaining him," she said of the TSA.

Because Paul has been an outspoken critic of the TSA, some travelers told us they wondered if the move was a stunt. Others said they would rather face pat downs in airports than hijackers on the plane.

When asked what he thought of pat downs Krim said, "I feel safer when they do it and I don't like it but, considering the way things are nowadays, I think it's a good thing."

On the WAVE 3 Facebook page, we found some very different opinions on pat downs and Senator Paul's decision.

Larry said, "Nobody should have to do it and hopefully Senator Paul is attempting to make that point." And Angela wrote, "He's trying to make a point for all of us and I say good for him."

Paul was screened again and put on another flight.

After arriving in Washington, Paul was asked if he's advocating that all Americans should refuse pat downs.

He responded, "I would ask to be re-screened and tell them you want to go through the screener again."

The TSA released this statement, "Passengers, as in this case, who refuse to comply with security procedures are denied access to the secure gate area. He was escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement."

Paul believes he was part of a random pat down because he says he was allowed to go through the machine on his next flight out.

He doesn't feel the pat down is making us any safer and says it should only be directed at people who could attack the United States. Travelers told us Monday night they don't see how that would be possible without profiling.

Paul contends frequent travelers could fill out paperwork to avoid aggressive screening at the airport.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.