Back in April, John Brennan stripped in front of TSA officials at the Portland airport. Brennan claimed that his act was a form of protest against the TSA that is backed by the First Amendment and Oregon law. Guess what? The judge bought the argument.
“They are just doing their job and as a citizen of the U.S. I’m doing my job to protect my constitutional rights to privacy. The TSA had already violated my privacy by doing a pat down and being pulled out of the line. It’s stripping me of any dignity,” Brennan said.
While Oregon law makes it a crime to expose one’s genitals in a public place where those of the opposite sex might view them, an Oregon appeals court had previously ruled that statute only applied if the nudity was “not intended as a protected symbolic or communicative act.”
The prosecution argued that because Brennan did not have a sign or any other message criticizing the TSA, then his nudity should not be considered as a protected right. Brennan said that his actions were a spur of the moment decision after the TSA found traces of nitrates on him and demanded a further search. Brennan stripped to prove that he had no bombs on him. If the judge had ruled for the prosecution, then a spur-of-the-moment protest could be considered as unprotected speech. Fortunately, the court decided to reaffirm current Oregon law and not limit freedom of expression.