TSA hearing for "Naked American Hero" John Brennan

NewImageRemember our happy mutant comrade John Brennan, who removed his clothes at the Portland Airport during a TSA screening? He was acquitted of a ridiculous indecent exposure charge, and now he is appealing an equally stupid fine from the Transportation Security Administration for “interfering with the screening process.” This might sound silly, but it's serious business. As Brennan points out in his press release below, "This is the first time the TSA has followed through on assessing civil penalties for 'interference with screening" purely for nonviolent, non-obstructive protected expressive conduct.'"

I'm grateful to Brennan for being a civil liberties champion.

John Brennan’s TSA Hearing for Nude Protest on May 14, 2013

May 09, 2013

Portland, OR - John Brennan, the man who protested TSA at Portland International Airport in 2012 by removing his clothes, has a TSA hearing at 9AM on May 14, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Brennan is appealing a fine from the Transportation Security Administration for “interfering with the screening process.” Under docket # 12-TSA-0092, Administrative Law Judge George J. Jordan will preside at U.S. Bankruptcy Court 1001 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 700 Portland, OR 97204 Room: 9th Floor, Courtroom #2. Robert Callahan of the Northwest Law Center represents Mr. Brennan.

Mr. Brennan is charged with an alleged civil violation of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § Part 1540, Section 109, which states, “No person may interfere with, assault, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.” The first step in appealing this fine is an administrative hearing. Mr. Brennan was acquitted of the criminal charges of indecent exposure in 2012.

Mr. Brennan’s TSA hearing is of note for several reasons: This is the first time the TSA has followed through on assessing civil penalties for "interference with screening" purely for nonviolent, non-obstructive protected expressive conduct.

Mr. Brennan’s hearing will have an administrative record resulting from a public hearing, the first of its kind in the United States with TSA legal proceedings according to Freedom To Travel USA, http://fttusa.org/.

The Administrative Law Judge has no authority to consider the Constitutionality of TSA regulations or orders.

While the criminal charge of indecent exposure, initiated by the State of Oregon, were resolved within months of Mr. Brennan’s protest, the civil charges, initiated by TSA, are on-going. TSA provided verbal notification of an investigation at the time of Mr. Brennan’s arrest, April 17, 2012, and written notification on April 26, 2012. On August 30, 2012, Mr. Brennan was notified in writing that TSA proposed to assess a civil penalty. Mr. Brennan’s hearing on May 14, 2013, comes more than a year after his protest.

If Mr. Brennan loses at this hearing, his next action is an administrative appeal to the head of the TSA. If he loses the administrative appeal, Mr. Brennan will have 60 days from the administrative appeal decision to file a "Petition for Review" of the TSA decision by the Circuit Court of Appeals.

On April 17, 2012, TSA referred the Port of Portland Police Department (POPPD) to John Brennan, who was going through TSA screening and chose to engage in a political protest of the TSA after allegedly testing positive for nitrates, an explosive. In, what he says was “effective and appropriate” protest (and a way to show TSA that he was not carrying explosives), Mr. Brennan removed all his clothes. POPPD arrested Mr. Brennan for the criminal charges of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct charges were immediately dropped, and Mr. Brennan was acquitted of the indecent exposure charges on July 18, 2012. The trial judge concluded, “…it is the speech itself that the State is attempting to punish and that it cannot do, so I am finding Mr. Brennan not guilty.”

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  1. The real reason the TSA is angry with this guy is that they had to train all of their workers to slap strips of black foamcore over the angry bungholes of  irate “customers.”

  2. Yeah but it was Portland. that guy might have just thought he was in line for a Dead Show. There’s more Jerry sightings up that way than Elvis sightings in Vegas.

    1. Or got separated from the other “Naked American Heroes” on the World Naked Bike Ride….

  3. Stick it to them John! Thanks for putting yourself through all this hell to make a point.

    1. Stick it to them John!

      In context, that seems like an exhortation to… well, it should be obvious.

      1. “Fuck the TSA”?  I don’t know about you, but I’m OK with that sentiment…

        1.  I majored in walking at UT Austin. Hell. We all majored in walking. It was an unsuspected requirement. Double entendre was just a nice fillip.

  4. All he was doing was making it so they don’t need to irradiate / molest him.  If you are going to use a radioactive strip-search, you can’t complain when someone simply preempts you.

    1. That would be cute, but irrelevant, and I think it would invalidate his earlier protest. Let him show up articulate and demand his freedoms.

  5. These charges will seem even more ludicrous a few months from now when strip searches become mandatory for all airline passengers.

  6. Speaking of charges, the TSA should be forced to provide an itemized receipt for the costs of going after a naked guy. I’m no expert, but looking at all the resources going into it it has to be >$1M.

    1. Which is worse?  A mere million dollars?  Or the possibility that millions of Americans might think they have the right to be naked?

      1. What are you talking about. He’s clearly wearing glasses and a neck-strap. What I find irritating is that the angle and blackout obscures his great big brass balls.

      2. One thing that those scanners revealed is just how many passengers have attempted to smuggle naked bodies past security checkpoints by concealing them under their clothing.

  7. If everyone involved in the prosecution of this guy were fired tomorrow and not replaced, would anything change other than the taxpayers would save a few bucks?

    1. Similarly, why not disband all the courts? That way The People could get a huge tax cut.  Maybe Mr. Romney would get a bigger one than you, but shut up, that’s just class warfare. Also, no more enforcement of the laws, so anybody who can hire their own security force wins!  God bless America!

  8. “Interfering with the screening process?!?!” Seriously?! If the TSA doesn’t know how to handle a single naked guy (umm… he clearly isn’t hiding anything. No need for a pat-down or electronic strip search), then what confidence can anyone have that they’ll know what to do with a terrorist if one ever shows up at an airport?

      1.  Yes. It seems to me that he was facilitating the screening process rather than obstructing it.

  9. Somehow I find the most disturbing thing about this being a legal proceeding in which the constitutionality of the statute being enforced is barred from consideration.

    1. Why?  Different judges have different jurisdiction. This judge also couldn’t try a murderer or a copyright lawsuit.  Is that disturbing?

  10. I like it when people have had enough and show their balls, Literally and metaphorically.  I think someone should set-up a site to help him pay for the legal case.  In fact the only way we’re going to take the country back for citizens is to pull together and take on these issues in the legal system

  11. Is there a place to donate to his legal defense fund anywhere?  The only thing I could find was a Facebook page that I can’t view.

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