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January 09, 2002
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Michigan Congressman Forced to Strip to Underwear For Security at Washington Airport

by Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) Security guards at Washington's Reagan National Airport forced U.S. Rep. John Dingell to strip to his underwear before boarding a flight to Detroit.

The guards at the Northwest Airlines terminal did not believe the 75-year-old congressman's explanation about his metal hip, which he received after a horse fell on him 20 years ago.

"They felt me up and down like a prize steer," Dingell, D-Mich., said. "I was very nice, but I probably showed I was displeased."

The private security guards made him take off his overcoat, then his suit coat, then his shoes and socks on Saturday. When he still triggered metal detector alarms, the guards took him to a back room and asked him to remove his trousers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta heard about the incident and said he would look into it, Dingell said.

"I asked Norman to check to see if they treated me like they do everybody else," Dingell said. "I just wanted to be sure that what they did was necessary, that I got the same treatment, no better or no worse, than anyone else."

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