Airport Stripper: TSA Violates Civil Liberties

Aaron Tobey
WTVR
A Virginia man who was arrested last week for stripping down to his shorts at an airport security checkpoint said his only regret from his one-man protest was drawing attention away from the death of his grandfather.

In an interview with CBS News affiliate WTVR-TV in Richmond, Va., Sunday, Aaron Tobey, 21, said he was outraged with new security procedures the Transportation Security Administration put into place before Thanksgiving.

(Scroll down to watch a report from CBS News affiliate WTVR-TV)

"I viewed it as a violation of my civil liberties, and I wanted to start a dialogue about that," Tobey, of Charlottesville, Va., told WTVR-TV. "I decided that the next time I would go through one of those screenings that I would make a statement somehow."

That next time turned out to be a Dec. 30 flight from Richmond International Airport to Wisconsin, where his grandfather's funeral was to be held. Before heading to the airport, the University of Cincinnati architecture student wrote a reference to the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, on his chest.

"Upon being directed there, I took off my T-shirt and my sweat pants and stood there in my running shorts waiting for them to proceed with the screening," Tobey told WTVR-TV.

Instead, Tobey was arrested, issued a citation for disorderly conduct and released. He was able to arrive at his grandfather's funeral, but his protest had not gone unnoticed.

"That is my one regret that I have is that I took something away from what should have been a very special day for them," Tobey told WTVR-TV.

However, Tobey's father, Robert Tobey, told WTVR-TV Friday that he stands by his son and also opposes the new TSA procedures, which includes pat downs for passengers who refuse to go through a full-body scanner or require additional screening.

"I'm uncomfortable and do not want to be touched in that way," Robert Tobey told WTVR-TV. "It's almost like a sexual assault in some way."

Aaron Tobey isn't alone in acting out against the TSA. In opposing the government's use of the 10-second full-body imaging machines, a loosely organized movement attempted to spark a nationwide protest of fliers opting out from the full-body scan for the longer pat down in the busy travel days before Thanksgiving. The protest was not a success.

Tobey's arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Virginia.