Emerging details late Monday afternoon from CNN surrounding the latest of a trail of heated airport incidents involving the Ron and Rand Paul family raises questions about what really happened in the arrest of the 19-year-old son of Senator Rand Paul. The high-profile political family has a long history of problematic encounters with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
CNN updated Paul's arrest report, adding that although Paul's son was arrested after his flight with charges alleging "disorderly conduct at an airport" plus "being intoxicated and disruptive and consuming beer and wine underage," the airline soon denied serving him alcohol. This flies in the face of earlier speculation by a local policeman, Lt. Blake Holla, that the "teen was possibly served alcohol on the plane."
The plane landed about 10:49 a.m., and, according to the statement by Andrew Christie, a U.S. Airways spokesman, Paul "slept through the drink service and was not served on board." The airline did not publicly report any problems with Paul during the early flight from Kentucky to North Carolina.
It's uncertain whether Paul's problems were with the airline personnel or with TSA, or whether those problems occurred before or after leaving the plane. In the past, both Senator Rand and young William Paul's well-known grandfather, former GOP presidential candidate, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, have reportedly encountered a pattern of behavior from TSA airport officials possibly leaning towards harassment and retaliation for their highly publicized campaign to end passenger searches.
The relationship was so volatile between the Paul family and the TSA that the Huffington Post referred to it as a "war". In that report, Rand Paul was quoted saying,"The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe."
Following a run-in that Rand Paul had with TSA months earlier, later in August of 2012, Senator Ron Paul's family was detained and interrogated in Clearwater, Florida by eight TSA agents. Although private planes and passengers are not usually subjected to the vigorous scrutiny of commercial flights, TSA demanded Rand Paul's dad, mom, niece and their personal plane be searched.
Not only were the credentials of Paul's pilot questioned, but, according to The Washington Times insinuations were made "the Paul family was a threat to Mitt Romney, claiming the nominee 'might be nearby.'” After it became apparent that a Paul aide was recording their actions, the TSA agents finally relented and allowed the Paul flight to depart.
Until this latest run-in is legally resolved in court, the Paul family is justified in asking for privacy. A court date is set for Feb. 25, according to the Mecklenburg County court clerk's office.