Rep. Ron Paul after son's run-in: TSA 'a police state' that should be eliminated


“We must restore the freedom and respect for liberty that once made American the greatest nation in human history," Ron Paul said of his plan to eliminate the TSA. "I am deeply committed to doing that as President of the United States.”

TSA has defended its treatment of Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE, saying that its employees in Nashville followed its normal procedure with the senator, who has often sharply criticized the agency's pat-downs before he refused one Monday morning.

"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," the agency said Monday in a written statement. "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 White House is standing by the TSA in its standoff with Rand Paul. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that he didn't have any reaction to Paul's comment about "police state."

But Carney sided with the TSA, saying, "I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe."

U.S. security officials have denied that the Kentucky senator was held by the agency. Instead, they said he 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.

Both Pauls have been vocal critics of the TSA, calling for the agency to be disbanded.

TSA said in a statement that "the passenger," Rand Paul, "has since rebooked on another flight and was rescreened without incident."

—This story was updated with new information at 1:32 p.m.

Hill reporter Amie Parnes contributed to this report.