Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own Charge

images-1I have previously written about how the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) set out to create a crime never approved by Congress: the crime of making a joke in an airport about security issues. The TSA has long appeared to chafe at the notion of an agency dependent on Congress or the public for its authority. That appears the message being sent to John E. Brennan. You may recall Brennan from a story last year when he stripped in the Portland International Airport in protest of increasing invasive TSA security measures. He was cleared by a judge who found his stripping was a form of protest. However, the TSA was clearly miffed by decision of the judge, so Brennan was pulled into the administrative abyss by TSA with an agency charge. It appears that, if the law will not punish a citizen, TSA will.

imagesAgency fines and charges place citizens into a system that is heavily weighted in favor of the agency and denies basic due process protections found in courts. After the judge threw out the charge against Brennan, 50, the TSA got one of its administrative judges to fine him $1,000 for violating a federal rule stating passengers may not “interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate” TSA screeners. You may ask how stripping is an act of interference or assault or threat or intimidation. It does not matter. Once in the administrative process, the agency gets a huge degree of deference in determining violations with judges who are dependent on the agency for the very jurisdiction of their “court.”

What is equally troubling is the news blackout imposed by TSA over the case. Administrative judge George Jordan was asked to make an exception and allow cameras into the courtroom but he denied the request. The message seemed to be that Brennan’s move was in the hands of TSA and neither a court nor public opinion would save him now. TSA has refused to even answer questions on the case.

We can debate the ruling of the court in finding no criminal conduct, but the subsequent effort to fashion a new crime from the TSA regulations should be a matter of concern for all citizens. The TSA is taking an act found by a court to be an act of protest and re-defining it as an act of intimidation or threat to the TSA. The case should also focus attention at the ever-expanding system of administrative courts that are pulling citizens into a bureaucratic vortex where they face unfair procedures and treatment.

By the way, after the incident, Brennan was fired from his job as a web development manager at Seagate Technology.

Source: Oregon

75 thoughts on “Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own Charge

  1. oh wow, just wos. I bet the KGB just started out with fines too. How long will it be until a midnight knock on the door and a bullet to the back of the head and a cremation and distribution of ashes to a sewer system?

    This is how evil starts, end the TSA now. They pose a far greater threat to the American people than a couple of Islamofascists with bombs.

  2. The TSA definitely needs an attitude adjustment along with some much better procedures and guidelines. They don’t add much of anything to actual security. This sort of over reaction by some angry gnat isn’t going to help security and needs to be squashed by higher ups.

    But TSA=KGB? eh, not so much. Probably should dial back the hysteria below 11 otherwise it starts to lose its impact.

  3. I know that the TSA court is an “administrative proceeding”, but have we once again eroded the Bill of Rights with another double jeopardy exception?

  4. Reminds of of the Burn Notice episode when Sam was taken captive and tortured to some degree.

    After the first round, bleeding and disheveled, he said to his ‘interrogator’ “Was that as good for you as it was for me?”

  5. Love your articles and what you do, Mr. Turley, but perhaps some additional proofreading is needed for this post.

  6. From the Oregon article:

    “I totally support airport screening,” Brennan said Thursday. “I just don’t want it to be at the expense of my constitutional rights.”

    Brennan’s stance spurred onlookers to pull out their cellphones and cameras and document it during the five minutes it took police to arrive.

    Multnomah County prosecutors charged Brennan with violating a city ordinance that forbids people from exposing their genitalia in public and in the presence of the opposite sex. Judge David Rees last July cited a 1985 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling that nudity laws don’t apply in cases of protest.

    Next week, however, the administrative law judge won’t be allowed to consider Brennan’s defense that he was exercising his constitutional rights, his attorney said.

    If Brennan loses, Callahan said they’ll appeal to a higher court — either U.S. District Court or the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both courts can consider Brennan’s free speech defense, Callahan said.

    Regardless of whether Brennan successfully appeals the fine or not, the incident at the airport has cost him.

    Brennan worked as a web development manager at Seagate Technology, but said he was fired days after incident at the airport. In December he reached an undisclosed settlement with his employer.

    “Nobody admitted to any wrongdoing, but I think the settlement itself speaks volumes,” Brennan said.

  7. frankly:

    TSA = DHS = Gestapo = KGB. Department of Homeland Security = Secret State Police = COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY

    your math is wrong.

  8. The TSA needs to lose about 95% of its funding. Their purpose is to intimidate the public, else they would be providing better security around the planes and the loading.

  9. Considering that programmers have historically dressed rather casually, I don’t understand why he would lose his job.

  10. “We can debate the ruling of the court in finding no criminal conduct, but the subsequent effort to fashion a new crime from the TSA regulations should be a matter of concern for all citizens.”

    Yep. And it’s worse than many think. I’ll just keep saying it…

  11. Seagate Technology


    Products Hard disk drives

    Revenue Increase US$ 14.93 billion (2012)
    Operating income Increase US$ 3.10 billion (2012)
    Net income Increase US$ 2.86 billion (2012)
    Total assets Increase US$ 10.10 billion (2012)
    Total equity Increase US$ 3.49 billion (2012)

    Employees 57,900 (2012)

  12. The TSA is above the law. As a result every American citizen has to be aware that their freedom is always at risk when they go to the air port. Where are the freedom loving Constituion hugging Republicans on this issue?

    Democrats hold be pressing Obama to get the TSA in line. They would be if Bush was allowing this to be done.

    It is time for the TSA to be brought under the law instead of being free to make its own.

  13. Strategically placed (bought and captured political positions: the new game of “JUDICIAL CAPTURE”) judgeships are equally serviced by the extensive selective neglect of appointments left to opportunists to manipulate..
    The move to power control
    rule 1. Block finance from existing administration.
    rule 3 Control the CAPITAL by controlling the “capital”
    rule 4 Capture a supreme court judge and have older standing rules thrown out.


    Obama has made fewer judicial nominations than any president in recent history — with disastrous consequences.
    The Vacancy Crisis
    Jamelle Bouie November 15, 2010

    WASHINGTON — It’s bad enough that there are 82 vacant federal judge slots around the country, a level so high that many observers have deemed it a crisis situation.
    But perhaps even more startling is the fact that of those 82 vacant slots, 61 of them don’t even have a nominee.

    (read full article @ link)

    by Jennifer Bendery

  14. I have long maintained the TSA intervening themselves between you with your ticket and an airline company is obscene. Where else in our society do we have a federal agent search you before you can engage in a contract with another party? Bron has a great slogan in the making “End the TSA NOW!”

  15. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/justice/etc/synopsis.html
    In “Justice For Sale,” FRONTLINE correspondent Bill Moyers examines the impact of campaign cash on the judicial election process and explores the growing concern among judges themselves that campaign donations may be corrupting America’s courts.

    In the 39 states where voters elect some or all of their judges (see map of states), special interest money is pouring into judicial races helping to finance expensive tv ads, media advisers and pollsters, and threatening to compromise judicial independence and neutrality. This report includes a rare interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy who speak out about the threat to judicial integrity.

    “If there is the perception or the reality that courts are influenced in their decisions based upon campaign funding sources,” says Justice Kennedy, “we will have a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis of belief, a crisis of confidence.”

    “Justice for Sale” looks at judges’ races in three states–Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas–talking to judges, media consultants and special interest groups who are donating big money to judicial campaigns.

  16. The TSA could not get away with this if the court system was not in their pocket to the degree that it has been captured. But the real problem of judicial capture is only revealed by this abuse of power example. The real problem is power relations in justice itself and the insidious capture of the courts and judges.

  17. There can be no “reform” of these kinds of govt agencies. They must be eliminated. When will the American people, at large, wake up to this degradation of their rights?

  18. “When will the American people, at large, wake up to this degradation of their rights?” -Onlooker from Troy

    When “the comfortable are sufficiently afflicted”…, twisting Mother Mary Jones’ phrase;

    When it’s too late, I suspect.

  19. I think both sides and especially TSA need to lighten up a bit. I try to go through airport security checks with a smile, and a kind word for the agents. TSA is not going away but if they could learn to do their needed job with a little humor, and back the heck away from stupid over responses like this case we would all be better off. Every airport should have an “agent in charge of not doing stupid things to antagonize the public”. That agent would have laughed at the naked man, and called the cops and that would have been the end of TSA involvement.

  20. wishbone, why call the cops? there is no need. pass him through since he obviously has nothing to hide. he’ll get dressed on the other side and board the plane.

  21. Striping should be natural. Devils protest everything. I don’t want people beholding devils in people protesting when they are nude. People should n be relaxed when they are nude not combative protesting when they are nude.

  22. Bron kinda beat me to the punch on this one. I was going to ask, “What do you expect from an organelle of the Department of Fatherland Homeland Security?”

    The DHS and all its sub-units need to be dismantled.

    Repeal the Patriot Act now.

    Our freedoms demand it.

  23. Gene H. 1, May 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm:

    The DHS and all its sub-units need to be dismantled.

    Repeal the Patriot Act now.

    Our freedoms demand it.



  24. The money spent was based on fear. Those that fear are not perfect in love. Be perfect in love have a soul that will never die. Have a soul that will never die free others of fear too.

  25. https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/round_the_clock_surveillance_is_this_the_price_of_living_in_a_free_saf

    Round the Clock Surveillance: Is This the Price of Living in a ‘Free, Safe’ Society?

    By John W. Whitehead

    May 13, 2013

    “If you’re not a terrorist, if you’re not a threat, prove it. This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is.”—Sergeant Ed Mullins of the New York Police Department

    Immediately following the devastating 9/11 attacks, which destroyed the illusion of invulnerability which had defined American society since the end of the Cold War, many Americans willingly ceded their rights and liberties to government officials who promised them that the feeling of absolute safety could be restored.

    In the 12 years since, we have been subjected to a series of deceptions, subterfuges and scare tactics by the government, all largely aimed at amassing more power for the federal agencies and extending their control over the populace. Starting with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, continuing with the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and coming to a head with the assassination of American citizens abroad, the importing of drones and other weapons of compliance, and the rise in domestic surveillance, we have witnessed the onslaught of a full-blown crisis in government.

    Still Americans have gone along with these assaults on their freedoms unquestioningly.

    Even with our freedoms in shambles, our country in debt, our so-called “justice” system weighted in favor of corporations and the police state, our government officials dancing to the tune of corporate oligarchs, and a growing intolerance on the part of the government for anyone who challenges the status quo, Americans have yet to say “enough is enough.” continues…


  26. I hope he fights this all the way and someone donates money to cover his legal expenses. He did what he was told, humiliate himself to the satisfaction of his captors. They should consider him to be a model passenger.

    When I was flying back from visiting Chuck, I went through the airport security and was putting on my shoes at the end of the security line when a passenger said to me in a joking manner “Well at least they didn’t find the bomb I was carrying.” I just smiled and agreed. But I was glad none of the TSA agents overheard it because the last thing I wanted was to be held over for hours for some nonesense they would drum up.

    I think one of the core reasons TSA is so trigger happy is they have never been real cops before and haven’t learned what is important and what is not. Then pair this up with a sense of power and bad influences from management that wants to regulate everything under the sun and often some real nazis will be created.

  27. I keep telling people the free society slogan is a deceptive lie. A cruel lie at that. If what we know of with surveillance and police to arrest when called on is freedom heaven must be a torture chamber. All know that is not true. Therefore people are under a deep hypnotic trance thinking that jails and bondage with the treat of being arrested is freedom.

  28. I showed Darren the medicine drum my son brought back from Alaska and told him the story. Seems younger son bought a medicine drum from a shaman. It has a row of feathers around the drum rim, and a handle. The goatskin drumhead has a native medicine mask painted on it.

    When he went through the TSA checkpoint, he was carrying the drum in an extra large pizza box because it was so fragile. It was wrapped in tissue, and when the woman TSA agent started to open it, he warned her to be careful because it was fragile. Naturally, she yanked the tissue off, and one of the feathers and its holder went flying. My son knew to keep his cool and not go off on her. He said she looked as if she were at least part Native, so he said, simply, “NOW look what you’ve done”

    He said he never saw anyone go from being arrogant to having a complete meltdown so fast in his life. Her eyes got wide and she started sobbing. She knew what she had done. She had broken a medicine man’s drum. As one goes through life, there are just a handful of things that one NEVER should do. Breaking a shaman’s drum is one of them. He said a supervisor came over and had to lead her away. No one bothered him after that. He picked the broken piece off the floor and went on his way. Really curious. None of the other TSA agents wanted anything to do with that box or the drum in it.

  29. I would agree the fear of profiling might be a factor, but that would be included in all the headache it must be to be an employee for that agency having to work for such an agency.

    Seriously, the below movie is a lesson in what to do when you have to go toe to toe with a bureaucrat, confront them with more bureaucracy:

  30. Isn’t this the same TSA who thought they were protecting us by allowing pocket knives back on airplanes??

  31. So, if you loose in real court just make your own. Now TSA after being but hurt has made a system that bypasses all laws. They are not the judge, jury, executioner, and law maker. I don’t get it. I thought “The Sexual Assault” likes nude images of people. I guess only when it is not volunteered. I bet if it was a 4 year old girl they (Terrorizing Sexual Assault TSA) wouldn’t mind.

  32. I actually had a TSA touch my testicles and ask me : “do you have anything in your underwear?” My response “I hope so”. He actually touched them again–just to be sure. I hear about these intrusions happening all the time (especially to women). I don’t blame the guy for “losing it”.

  33. I read somewhere of a fellow who prefers to travel wearing a utility kilt. For those who don’t know, a utility kilt is usually made of something like khaki, and has cargo pockets so no sporran is needed to carry stuff.

    He also prefers to go “regimental.” Said the TSA guy ran his hand up the inside of his leg, discovering what going regimental meant. When the TSA man examined the inside the other leg, he did not go quite so high. Our traveler enjoyed the examiner’s embarrassment.

  34. Maybe men should wear short skirts onto planes with no underwear. Just do a spin to show that you are unarmed. Dont aim the Thing at them as you spin and you will not get prosecuted for assault. Assault and battery if the thing hits them going by during the spin. Have an MD do this so he can be a Spin Doctor.

  35. One way to stop these TSA accostings is for the public to uniformly refuse to fly until these abuses come to an end. The airlines will then put a lot of pressure on the federal gov’t (which will be losing a lot of tax money and more importantly, to politicians, bribes campaign contributions.)

  36. If I remember correctly a woman pulled the same stunt at the ticket counter at Denver International.

    As I recall, she was released without charges.

  37. Sounds like a great idea. That would allow something to be between the skin and the seat. That is all that is need really. It would be people looking like they all had a kilt on. They come in all sorts of colors.

  38. If you travel a thousand miles or less one way and two thousand round trip, then you will be using around sixty five gallons of gas for a car trip. That will be cheaper than flying and having to go through the Russian gestapo. If it is farther then consider not going.

  39. Yes, what they did is double jeopardy and is illegal. This man should sue the tsa for what they did, and he would win. obviously the tsa people aren’t very highly educated and don’t know anything about common law!!!

  40. Brennan should also sue his employer for firing him on a false charge for clearly using his first amendment rights and he had already been cleared by a court. This was firing based on a lie!!!

  41. I’m tempted to refer to this as a “kangaroo court,” but seeing as how the all monkey business is being run by TSA apes and baboons, it just doesn’t seem to fit, does it?

  42. I have family in NM, TX, NY, PA, FL, NC. I have visit all these states in the past 5 years by auto. I refuse to be groped.

  43. how i wish i had been able to read this article before buying seagate sata drives not 1 but 3.. This is horrendous and only going to get worse. unless the people are willing to stand up and fight as one.. but those who believe they are in charge apparently think they have all bases covered.. if only the people would be willing to give up the toys which we’re given to them to keep them distracted from finding out about atrocities like this along with the case that i posted on another board concerning Sylvia stolz

  44. ok for those who might be thinking what does seagate have to do with this. they fired this man.. for standing up for rights and freedoms and i refuse to support any company in the pocket of the corporation formerly known as the government

  45. What does TSA stand for? Too Self Absorbed? Thuggish Smug and Arrogant? Tight Sphinctered A*******?

  46. How about this man going into an appeal of the administrative hearing and claim he was denied his property (money) without due process of law? But if civil drug seizure hearings are to be any lesson from the past it could get really scary.

  47. what we ought to start doing is bringing a tube of KY and give it and $10 bucks to the agent and say how about a hand-job while your at it. Turn these b*st8rds into sexual objects.

    If half a dozen people gave me a tube of KY and a $10 bill and told me to give them a hand job, I think I would quit my job in disgust.

    I dont know if the Mahatma would approve but I think Marilyn Chambers might.

    Actually I guess you cant give them $10 bucks or it would be prostitution but I think you could give them the KY.


  48. All that is required is that he raise a 1st Amendment issue in the administrative proceeding and appeal any adverse determination to the federal District Court. While the Court must give deference to an administrative determination, this particular determination will have been made without respect to Constitutional protections, and so is void.

  49. IANAL, but I thought, constitutionally, the courts were charged with findings of guilt and punishment. On what legal basis does an executive branch agency get to decide this?

  50. What’s funny is long before 9/11 airports were a rights free zone. It’s just now we have finally woken up as a nation.

    One thing interesting I found out searching old posts on an airliner forum back in the 90s a lot of innocent people were being harassed for photographing in the gate areas even though it was legal.

    Bags would go thru unscreened yet the moment you took out that camera of you’res the rent a cops would be on you’re case.

  51. Does anybody know why a year before 9/11 outside observation decks were mysteriously closed all over the nation with only a notice on the doors citing *Security reasons* very vaguely?

    Also the other reason we don’t need TSA is air travel has been MUCH safer since the *Hijack to Cuba* era.

    Even without any form of airport security whatsoever airplanes would not have any incidents the staff cannot control if they had proper authority and be allowed pepper spray.

    It’s amazing that NO airliner in the world has been hijacked since the early 90s *Cuba* crisis.

    (I don’t count 9/11 as I have seen a lot of coming proof of fowl play involved and if you so much as even question 9/11 you get name called.

  52. We have gotten out of the *Cuba* crisis of hijackings so why doesn’t the TSA do the same too?

    9/11 was just a weird *WTF?* kind of event which reeks fowl play.

    If you want decent discussions about 9/11 without name calling go to a forum I discovered called Let’s Roll and you will be amazed at the evidence that keeps coming forth as people start to speak up.

    The MSN has been controlled since the 70s to support communism.

  53. From where does the “administrative court” derive its authority over the general public? Isn’t it only applicable to those within its administrative sphere, namely the TSA themselves? How is it possible that illegally instituted courts which do not adhere to the rules of evidence or Constitutional limitations may enforce any ruling on Americans?

Comments are closed.