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April 19th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

John Brennan explains why he took his clothes off during a TSA pat down, says 'nakedness shouldn't be illegal'

Since the 9/11 attacks, airport security measures have become much more intrusive to protect the flying public. On Tuesday, Portland, Oregon resident John Brennan decided to make a stand against screening stripping down.

Shocked onlookers averted their eyes as 49-year-old Brennan disrobed in protest of the security procedures, after his clothes supposedly tested positive for explosives. When Brennan refused to get dressed, he was arrested.

On Wednesday, he was charged with indecent exposure, while a second charge for disorderly conduct was dropped. The TSA issued a statement, saying "TSA partners with the traveling public to screen all passengers safely and efficiently. When a passenger chooses to be purposefully disruptive, we notify law enforcement."

Brennan talks with Soledad this morning on "Starting Point" and explains why he chose to take off his clothes in public.

"I found out I tested positive for nitrates, which is an explosive," Brennan says. "I decided the best way to show them that I'm not carrying a bomb is to take off my clothes. They get to choose when they see us naked in those machines, and I just decided I'm going to speed the process up."

"As an Oregonian, I know my right to free speech includes nude protest," Brennan adds. "As I look at any situation, I'm aware that's one way I can communicate and have a voice. And so, this, certainly, was not premeditated."

In the second video below, he explains that he's willing to give up some of his liberties for the sake of safety and understands that TSA workers have a job to do, but he felt that in his case it went too far.

"I went through a metal detector and I was patted down through my crotch by a stranger," he says. "That's giving up a lot. When they took me past that step, I said, here's what I'm going to do. I did not impede the search process. They were uncomfortable that I was naked, but it shouldn't be illegal. My nakedness should not be illegal."

Brennan did admit that he wishes he didn't have such a big belly, but says he's not ashamed of his body.

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