WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is defending the conduct of the Transportation Security Administration, after an incident at the Nashville airport today involving Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Paul, who is a frequent critic of the TSA, was stopped by security when a scanner set off an alarm. He refused to let a security officer pat him down. Police escorted him away, but he was allowed to board a later flight.
The security scanner had identified an issue with the senator's knee, but Paul says he has no screws or medical hardware in the area.
He says he was "detained" at a small cubicle and missed his flight to Washington.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney, while not confirming that the incident involved Paul, said the passenger in question was never detained. Carney added that passengers who "refuse to comply with security procedures" are "denied access to the secure gate area."
A TSA spokesman issued a similar statement.
Paul's father, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, says his son's experience is evidence that "the police state in this country is growing out of control." He says the TSA "gropes and grabs" innocent Americans "while doing nothing to keep us safe."
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