John Brennan, Naked Protestor, Faces TSA Civil Investigation
Seattle Weekly: Naked TSA protestor John Brennan Portland man recently beat the indecent exposure charges standing against him stemming from his clothes-less act of civil disobedience. But that’s only one of the many difficulties Brennan has faced because of his now-infamous protest. Included on that list of difficulties Brennan has been dealt since taking his clothes off: a civil investigation into his actions launched by the TSA.
As you’ll recall, in April Brennan made national headlines by stripping naked at Portland International Airport in protest of a protracted TSA search. Brennan was subsequently arrested by airport police and charged with indecent exposure in Multnomah County. After a three-month court ordeal, Brennan beat those charges last week.
But according to a letter from late April addressed to Brennan and recently provided to Seattle Weekly, the TSA launched an investigating into “an alleged violation of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § Part 1540, Section 109,” following Brennan’s infamous naked protest. In layman’s terms, Brennan is accused of messing with TSA’s screening process, to the determent of the process and other travelers. The letter, which notifies Brennan of the investigation and gives him an opportunity to provide “information regarding this matter,” describes the code Brennan may have broken:
Title 49 CFR § 1540.109 states: no person may interfere with, assault, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.
Given the fact his naked protest was directed at the TSA, it’s no surprise Brennan stands strongly opposed to the way the agency has handled the situation.”They’re going to continue their policies that aren’t working for me, and I don’t think they’re working for most people in the United States, given the support I’ve had for my protest,” says Brennan. “People are angry at the TSA, and there’s no need for that.”
While Dankers declined to comment on specifics of the TSA investigation into Brennan’s naked protest, saying it’s “not a public process,” she was able to offer a statement on the indecent exposure charges Brennan was found not guilty of last week.
“TSA respects the decision of the Multnomah County Circuit Court judge in this case regarding a Portland, Ore., city ordinance. We continue to focus our attention on TSA’s primary mission of keeping our nation’s transportation system safe from security threats.”
For his part, Brennan fears the possible monetary penalty facing him whenever the TSA investigation concludes. While not listed as a standard punishment for the infraction he’s accused of, Brennan says he also fears that TSA could restrict his ability to fly because of the flap.
“Not to be conspiratorial about it, but the U.S. government, with the loss of habeas corpus under Bush, and renewed under Obama, allows the American government to identify people as terrorists without judicial review, and disappear them,” says Brennan. “If people don’t think we’re headed in that direction, they’re stupid. I don’t want our government to have that power.”
UPDATE: Dankers responded to an inquiry this afternoon seeking clarification about whether Brennan could be barred from flying by TSA as an outcome of the civil investigation against him. She notes that TSA does not maintain the “No-Fly List,” it’s actually operated by the FBI, and says Brennan, despite the investigation, would be “screened just like anyone else.”
“Right now, the process we’re involved in is a civil process,” says Dankers of the investigation. “The only sanction is monetary as a result of a civil investigation.”