After the Republican National Convention, Rep. Ron Paul’s family and aides were allegedly detained and interrogated in Clearwater, Florida yesterday.
Paul’s family and aides attempted to depart for Texas when eight Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents refused to allow their passage. According to Lew Rockwell, Paul’s former chief of staff, agents first questioned the pilot’s credentials, then insisted the passengers and plane be searched for explosives. TSA agents did not cite any specific threat, but insinuated the Paul family was a threat to Mitt Romney, claiming the nominee “might be nearby.”
The pilot reminded agents the plane itself, filled with fuel, was a bomb. Agents persisted with demands that the passengers be thoroughly examined, but Carol, Paul’s 76-year-old wife, has a pacemaker. She refused to submit to a search while an aide began recording the event. Eventually, the agents relented.
Private aircraft are not subjected to the same rigorous security screenings of commercial aircraft, leading some to believe Paul’s family was targeted by the agency. Rep. Paul, who is retiring from Congress this year, is a notoriously vocal critic of the TSA on the campaign trail and on the House floor. He has repeatedly lobbied and advocated reducing the size and power of the agency, much to Washington’s chagrin.
The Paul family and the TSA have battled in the past as well. In January, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was detained at Nashville International, missing a speaking event over the ordeal. Paul claims his knee triggered an alarm he believes was a random alert. After showing agents his knee and requesting a repeat scan, he was refused.
“Is it too much to ask to have a little dignity when you travel? And shouldn’t an adult be able to get back in line and go through the scanner?” he told CNN. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
His father agreed, defending his son and the American people in a scathing letter demanding immediate reform. “95 year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure. If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this