Security video of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s run in with the TSA earlier this week has been leaked to a newspaper, and critics say it proves that Paul was not detained by the federal agency.
The footage, obtained by The Tennessean shows the Senator seated in a chair within a glass walled cubicle in the security area of Nashville airport after refusing to undergo a pat down.
As Paul talks on the phone, presumably to his office as he had stated in interviews, three TSA officials stand guard, along with police officers standing outside the cubicle.
The video then shows Paul later being escorted through the airport by an official. The footage represents about one minute of the incident which Paul said lasted over an hour.
The Senator is partially obscured by a column blocking part of the cubicle for some portions of the video. When asked why the camera would be set up only to be obscured by a column, airport spokeswoman Emily Richard told The Tennessean that cameras are “placed for the widest view possible, not a specific area.”
The airport authority and the TSA have declined to comment on the footage.
Watch the video below:
Although the report in The Tennessean points out that the footage contradicts a police report that claimed Paul was “irate”, critics jumped on the footage to suggest Paul over reacted and exaggerated the incident.
Max Read of blog site Gawker said he believes the video proves the Republican was “totally full of sh-t” when he called his spokesperson.
“I got a lot of mail, some of it syntactically and orthographically correct, disputing my account of Rand Paul’s full-of-sh-tness by referring to the dictionary definition of the word ‘detained.’” Read wrote.
“Here is my feeling: when your argument centers around ‘the dictionary definition’ of anything and involves the adverb ‘technically,’ you are full of sh-t. When you tell someone you are being ‘detained by the TSA,’ you don’t mean ‘sitting in a chair while they decide what to do.’”
Another blogger suggested that “the way Paul was treated (not a finger laid on him) doesn’t quite illustrate the harshness that word [detainment’] usually suggests.”
In response Paul supporters pointed out that just because Paul wasn’t shackled and pushed around doesn’t mean he wasn’t being detained by the TSA.
“‘Detained’ is a legal term that very much applies to this situation. It does not matter that he is not in handcuffs or behind bars; when a peace officer restricts your freedom to vacate an area through verbal instruction (the consequence of disobedience being immediate arrest for disorderly conduct), you are detained.” one commenter noted.
Following the incident Monday, Rand Paul told reporters “I tried to leave the cubicle to speak to one of the TSA people and I was barked at: ‘Do not leave the cubicle! So, that, to me sounds like I’m being asked not to leave the cubicle. It sounds a little bit like I’m being detained.”