Vitter reportedly set off a security alarm on a gate door at Dulles International Airport while trying to catch a flight back home. Citing an anonymous source, Roll Call reported yesterday that Vitter went "ballistic" on an airport worker and fled the scene after the attendant left to find a security guard.
Vitter denied the newspaper's account of the incident but admitted in a statement that he had set off an alarm after going through the wrong gate while scrambling to catch a United Airlines flight.
"I did have a conversation with an airline employee, but it was certainly not like this silly gossip column made it out to be," Vitter said, according to the Associated Press.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is still reviewing a report of the incident, and the particulars remain in dispute. It's an unwelcome distraction, however, for Vitter, who has worked hard to restore his reputation after he was implicated in a D.C. prostitution scandal in 2007. In an effort to burnish his conservative bona fides, Vitter has been a persistent critic of President Obama's spending plans and was one of only two senators to oppose Hillary Clinton's nomination for secretary of state.
A spokesperson for the TSA would not comment on an ongoing review and a spokesperson for United Airlines would only confirm that an alarm went off after someone opened a door that was closed.