SAN ANTONIO – An airport pat-down was met with a furious smackdown when a security screener touched a US congressman's private parts.
Freshman Rep. Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) said the San Antonio Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer handled that sensitive moment of the screening process roughly, causing him pain.
"He touched me in my private parts and it hurt," the lawmaker said, adding that he batted the officer's hand away -- causing a hostile standoff in which police were summoned and both men demanded the other be arrested on assault charges, FOX News Channel reported Wednesday.
Father-of-three Canseco said, "It's embarrassing to say that, but that's true. I was going through the body scanner, the agent stopped me there and said, 'I'm going to pat you down.'
"I said fine. I lifted my arms up, he starts on my leg, and as he's starting up on my leg he goes up very aggressively, and he hurt me. The natural reaction is to move aside."
The 62-year-old told Politico, "As I moved his hand away, he claims, 'I've been assaulted, I've been assaulted.'"
As the guard urged a cop to arrest the lawmaker, Canseco in turn protested, "Hey, I'm the guy who was assaulted."
In the event neither was arrested over last week's incident.
However, Canseco was pulled aside for a second pat-down at the same airport this week -- an incident which he does not believe was a coincidence, although the TSA insists both checks were random.
Canseco told Politico he is "very sensitive to security" and believes US agencies must be on guard for potential terrorists -- but said he also believes the TSA should be more careful not to offend travelers' dignity.
The Canseco case is one of several incidents in which travelers have complained of heavy-handedness or insensitivity on the part of TSA screeners -- most infamously when one outraged passenger sparked a catchphrase, by telling agents, "Don't touch my junk."
Canseco this year co-sponsored a bill seeking to ban TSA agents from using law enforcement trappings, such as wearing police-style uniforms and being called "officer."