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Man who bared it all at airport not about to bear TSA fine

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John Brennan took off all of his clothes in the security line at Portland International Airport in April 2012. (Photo: KPTV)

PORTLAND (KPTV) — The man arrested for taking off all of his clothes while going through security at Portland International Airport is challenging a $1,000 fine by the Transportation Security Administration.

John Brennan stripped in April 2012 after a TSA agent patted him down and after he declined to step into one of the body scanners or go through a metal detector.

“I was protesting their invasion of my privacy, my Fourth Amendment right and I felt I was assisting them in showing them that I was not carrying explosives,” said Brennan, who was told that some nitrates were picked up on his clothing.

As part of the protest, Brennan took off all of his clothes during the security screening. Within minutes police showed up and arrested Brennan.

“I’m not suggesting we get rid of security. I’m just suggesting that they’re going too far in what they’re doing,” added Brennan.

Last July a Multnomah County Circuit judge dropped criminal charges against Brennan, saying he was exercising his right to free speech.

The TSA, however, fined Brennan $1,000 for interfering with the screeners that day.

The TSA issued a statement saying “it doesn’t normally comment on civil penalty cases … but that all its policies and procedures comport with the law and the Constitution.”

“Part of the problem is that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have been set up so that they don’t have a lot of judicial review, so the systems of checks and balances, which is designed to keep our democracy fair and square, is a little bit tilted here,” said Brennan.

“What they need to do is find a balance between domestic security and our constitutional rights. Frankly, our constitutional rights are more important in the long run,” added Brennan.

Brennan’s hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning at a U.S. Bankruptcy courtroom.

If he loses, he can appeal that decision to a higher court, and he says he’ll continue to fight till the end.

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  • Fisher1949

    Apparently TSA isn’t satisfied to infringe on his 4th Amendment rights, they now want to infringe on his 1st Amendment rights as well. TSA may be able to get away with molesting children under a false premise of an administrative search but a judge has already ruled that his actions are protected by the 1st Amendment.

    If this fine is upheld, this means that any government agency, whether local police or Federal agency can deny citizens their rights under a claim of an administrative procedure. They can enter your home without a warrant, arrest you for criticizing government and seize your property without due process, and deem it administrative policy.

    He should sue TSA for trying to deny him his right to free speech and TSA management prosecuted for this blatant attempt to intimidate anyone who objects to their invasive searches into remaining silent.

  • re:anonymous

    Excuse me…he wasn’t he right to privacy..he went into a area for screening and willingly, then says he was assisting. Going naked is not exercising your right to privacy. Its exploiting others

  • Robert Rybolt

    Punitive fines used to be the venue of the Judicial Branch of government, not the Executive Branch-and certainly not applied without Due Process.

  • grannybunny

    Amazing that someone believes that he can protect his right to privacy by exposing his private areas to all! What about the rights of the innocent bystanders?

  • LH Whitehust

    I think the TSA is a bunch of idiots. They do a very invasive pat down which I feel is degrading then they want you to go through a Xray machine. I feel the guy was expressing his right to feel speech. Granted it would have been better for him to remove his clothes in a more private setting but he was reacting to his freedom of speech. A judge has already dismissed criminal charges so why keep pestering this guy. TSA just needs to suck it and move on to molesting the next person. As far as the other people around, if you do not like what you, then don't keep looking!!!!!!!!!!!