By Keith Laing - 05/03/12 08:59 PM EDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is gathering support online for legislation to eliminate the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Paul, a freshman senator elected in 2010, has been a vocal critic of the TSA since taking office. He had a public run-in with the agency in January, when he refused a pat-down from agents at the Nashville International Airport.
Paul said this week through the political committee Campaign for Liberty (C4L) that it’s "time to end" the TSA.
"The American people shouldn't be subjected to harassment, groping and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane," he wrote in an e-mail to supporters of C4L, which was founded by his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
At the time of his run-in with TSA in January, Paul said airport security was at "a breaking point where we’re invading people’s privacy and we’re invading their dignity.
“The pat-down is not [catching] anybody, and I think it’s a disservice to our liberty,” he said in a January interview with Kentucky radio host.
TSA denied detaining Paul, saying at the time that its employees in Nashville followed normal procedure with the senator.
“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport,” TSA said in statement released after reports of Paul's run-in first emerged. “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.”
The anti-TSA petition Paul is launching contends that Americans "constitutional rights are being violated every day by an out-of-control agency that was created in a misguided attempt to interject the government into a place it was not needed.
"The TSA does not make us more secure; it simply wastes time and money," the petition says.