Security theater: C'ville native nets airport disorderly charge

news-tobyAaron Tobey is photographed by police after his arrest.

When Aaron B. Tobey decided to exercise his First Amendment rights by displaying the Fourth Amendment on his chest while going through security at the Richmond International Airport, he expected that he might be detained for further questioning.

"He was astounded he was arrested for disorderly conduct," says his father, Charlottesville accountant Robert Tobey.

At the airport conveyor belt, Aaron, 21, removed everything but his shorts to reveal what he'd scrawled on his torso: "Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated."

"He thinks like I do," says Robert Tobey, explaining that his son, a graduate of Western Albemarle High School and now an architecture student at the University of Cinncinnati, finds that new airport security procedures that force passengers to choose between a full body scanner that produces what some consider a virtual strip search or an invasive body pat down are "security theater," says Tobey pšre.

The account of the incident, first reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, said Aaron stripped down to his underwear, but his father says it was just a pair of running shorts. And the elder Tobey, who took part in protests during his own youth, contends that his son acted respectfully and complied with the security procedures. But apparently the Transportation Security Administration was not amused with Tobey's corporal use of the Fourth Amendment.

"They accused me of being a terrorist," Aaron told his father of his interview with the FBI and a federal marshal. And they arrested him for disorderly conduct, a class 1 misdemeanor that can carry up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

news-body-scannerSome passengers believe new airport scanners that display their naked bodies are an invasion of privacy.

According to Richmond International Airport spokesman Troy Bell, it is not illegal to write the Bill of Rights on one's body when going through airport security. "He can write whatever he wants under his clothes," says Bell. "This was clearly a protest."

Is it illegal to protest airport security measures? "If it's disruptive, you can be charged with disorderly conduct," says Bell.

During the Thanksgiving holidays, when outraged air passengers organized an opt-out day to protest the full body image scanners, Richmond had a handful of people opt out, says Bell. No one was arrested.

John Whitehead, who has filed two lawsuits about the scanners and pat downs from his perch at the head of civil rights organization Rutherford Institute, applauds Tobey's protest and calls the decision to arrest him "stupid."

"They're going to see his penis anyway," says Whitehead, who has signed on to the Tobey defense team. "It's become absurd. The fact [Tobey wrote] the Fourth Amendment is very patriotic."

After his arrest, Tobey was released in time to catch his flight. "When I went through security, they just waved me through," he told his father.

State Senator Creigh Deeds, Tobey's attorney, declined to comment on the arrest, but Robert Tobey has no such qualms.

"I believe it's an overreaction when someone is complying with the search," he says. "I'm very proud of him."

Updated 3:20pm with the addition that John Whitehead will be representing Tobey.


@ boooo!:
If you think there's not a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, you are VERY much mistaken. If nothing is done, the same kinds of clowns who arrest folks like Tobey and can't spot a Glock handgun at airport so-called security checkpoints will be making decisions on whether you or your loved ones can get life-saving medical treatment. Obama has already started the process to set up end-of-life counseling programs. That's just for starters. Eventually the "death panels" will be instituted because there's no way the government can afford to run ObamaCare without health care rationing. You know there's a reason why a Canadian politician, not even a couple of years ago, had to fly to Florida for surgery. That kind of medical "care", where you have to wait months for treatment if you can get it all, will be coming here if ObamaCare isn't repealed/defunded. But don't worry, folks like Pelosi/Obama/Reid will be able to get medical care, even if it means flying to overseas facilities to get it. But the common rabble like us are screwed unless ObamaCare is stopped.


While Obama's police state tactics at airports have nothing to do with socialism, his ongoing takeover of the auto and health care portions of our economy certainly do. If Obama can force you to buy health insurance (and the liberal Dem appointed judges certify it) and have your groin massaged by TSA goons if you want to exercise your inherent right to fly on airlines (maybe bus and train travel groping to follow?) then he can pretty much do whatever he wants until January 20, 2013.

The LORD didn't give us rights. Commandments, yes. Covenants, yes. Rights? Nope. The government saves your body scan image so they can use it with your heat radiation signature off your shoulders so they can identify you from space. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Gotta love the way people never learn, and keep falling for the divide and conquer, "us vs. them," "libs vs. GOP" tactics foisted upon everybody by The Powers That Be. You all keep shooting insults, accusations and lamentations back and forth about which party is responsible for all the ills of this country, and meanwhile, the real powers behind the scenes that control BOTH parties, and everything else, laugh their a * * * * off.

Not too bright.

To realist:
I maybe wrong, but the TSA was established when george bush was your president. Furthermore, the auto industry along with the other "to large to fail" corporations where begining to receive their bail out money before your president bush left office.
Additionally, The United States millitary never used pre-emptive strike as a strategy in the history of this country until your president bush and the (non existing) WMD in Iraq.
Just saying you know, cause your like liberal this and that.....

Doug invoked Godwin in only the fifth reply. Nice job Doug, That doesn't usually happen until after ten replies.. Very brave of you Aaron for invoking the Constitution. Very nice job!

Hoover, we are at war with the TSA, just ask them....

I agree with Sam! Taking it one step further, anybody who jogs in the summer shirtless and in running shorts should be arrested as well. After all, there might be kids in cars passing by!

Hope people can see the sarcasm, I am laying it on pretty heavy!

Anyhow, welcome to America 2010 version. It will get even better in 2011. Obama Bin Laden accomplished his mission quite well.

Be interesting to see how this case develops. Would not be surprised to see it dismissed in court.
There is a very effective way for people to protest invasive airport security procedures: Boycott Flying.
Hit the airlines in the pocketbook and it just might get their attention, when the revenue from ticket sales plummets.
Thats what Mahatma Gandhi would have done.
Nothing the government can do either. They can't make people travel.

Case will not develop. TSA does need any more lousy press. The question is not about our rights, it is about "what the heck are they looking for, and have they found anything".

Profile, profile, profile...............

Thankfully, we all got a lot of help Nov 2nd. Once our inept Prez is out of office two years from now, we'll get even more. Until then, perhaps CTO can find comfort in more Federal debt, more loss of your freedoms, and maybe even TSA gropings if that's his fancy and it makes him feel safe. Perhaps he should read about the undetected handguns that get past the TSA brainiacs:

But hey, at least Aaron Tobey can't get away with going through TSA security at RIC in nothing but running shorts. That makes us all safer.

Donner Pass,

"Thankfully, we all got a lot of help Nov 2nd."

We did? From whom? The Party that came up with the Patriot Act and almost unamimously signed? That Party? The Party of No? Only 3 Republicans refused to sing in 2001, and one of those was actually a Libertarian by the name of Ron Paul.

Tell me which Senate member from the GOP refused to sign on to the Patriot Act in 2001 or 2006? Do you know?

I applaud Glen Beck and Ruh Limbaugh for continuing to convince tools like you that it's the Democrats not the GOP who loves the most to take away your rights.

Don't worry, I am unhappy with the Democrats for letting this go on to assuage the fears of Republicans, but I know who the real motivators are. You can ask yourself which company got to make a lot of money selling these machines to the government.

Oldtimer, I hope you relish the freedom granted to you by the Democrats as they, in effect, hold a legal gun to your head as you're forced to buy your ObamaCare health insurance. Then start to wonder what new and marvelous programs the Dems will dream up and force you to buy into in the future if their power goes unchecked. Isn't "freedom" like that great?

Well lets hope he gets arrested for a very long time and also charged with indecent exposure. There are kids in the airport!!

I've already been nailed a few times for this, going out Richmond, and coming back in. They saw my face and tried to claim " it's radio waves now, not like an Xray." I let it happen once, but then it seemed that somehow I was getting flagged at the different airports. I even went through the scanner and was still tagged as a random search for the complete shake down. You stand inside of a giant plexiglass cage while they have their radio, waiting to take you out and then do more. My electronics ere wiped down, and then I was sent on my merry way.

I would like to boycott flying, but I really can't. It just seems like they are adding something that has little impact on trying to keep things safer. How about pulling out of places like Iraq and using that money for something else?

The government doesn't like the Constitution. He's lucky he wasn't beaten and tased and charged with felony assault on an Officer. That's their usual response to someone trying to assert their rights or calling attention to the Constitution. The Police and TSA are goons who are the equivalent of the German Gestapo. The Police are without thought or reason. The police are the army of International Bankers who have seized control of our nation's monetary system.

Breast cancer patients who have prostheses are also
often examined, patted down, or otherwise detained
(and coincidentally humiliated) which is actually against TSA regulations or was.

If this sort of thing prevented 9/11 would it have been worth it?

Got as far as the realization that this is about the son of Robert Tobey, ie, Bob Tobey, and that's about as far as I went.

That aside, I think the TSA "pat down" issue is very important because it is getting absolutely out of control. See this article here: where several women describe TSA gropes that invaded their genitalia. Basically they've expanded to now feel around in your vag.

"Nothing the government can do either. They can’t make people travel."

The government can bail out the airlines :-)

Did the people who charged him, or the airport spokesman, even read the law he is charged with breaking? It prohibits "conduct having a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person or persons at whom, individually, such conduct is directed." Is airport security that prone to violence? The rest of the law has to do with disrupting schools, public meetings, etc.

It also states "..., the conduct prohibited under subdivision A, B or C of this section shall not be deemed to include the utterance or display of any words or to include conduct otherwise made punishable under this title."

Excuse me Mr. Gasbag, we are at war. please don't make treasonous remarks about our President.

Since when did Osama Bin Laden become our president?

TSA worker: If you are a prevert and want to view my junque, you are guilty and hereby sentenced to: Having to operate a full body scanner at a major airport in the US. For life.

He is lucky that he didn't pull this stunt while wearing his old man's red plaid vest. That alone is a felony offense.

If he was in his jogging shorts, then what is the disruption? Too much or too little hair on his chest?

Had RIC posted "Shoes and Shirts Required" at the door perhaps they had something if he refused to leave or put on his shirt, well they did ask him to take off his shoes.

The treatment here is an illustration of Government vs. the private sector. The government arrests when up-set. If Tobey went to McDonalds dressed as he did at RIC they would just refuse him service and ask him to leave.

Why on earth does anyone think our government can do things such as health care better than the insurance companies? We need to LIMIT the powers of government.

It seems to me since the TSA have police powers then they are agents of the government and must comply with the constituion.

This makes them different than say the folks at JPJ. THe difference is that they are preventing you from performing a private commercial transaction with an illegal search. Suppose they started searching people at the entrance to 7/11 because a robber has gone in and shot people while screaming allah accbar?

The legal premise should be the same should it not?

I don't have a problem with the basic search, but it must be accompanied by some form of profiling. To not profile is actually reverse profiling because they purposely let Osamas cousin roll through to give the impression of fairness.

Leave Granny alone!!!

Dear Mr Smiff,

What is this "war" about anyway? enlighten me.

Back when I was in school 40 years ago and learning history and the Constitution, I would have called the teachers insane if they had told me that someday in our near future a total stranger could reach in a girls pants or skirt and feel around.

A former WAHS student? I applaud his high school government teachers for helping to instill--along with his parents, a very Madisonian sense of the US Constitution. Old Danny Patterson would be proud. Illegitimi non carborundum


"welcome to socializm."

Open a dictionary and learn what words actually mean. The two words you should have considered using were either totalitarian, or authoritarian, and can easily be applied to fully capitalist societies, or fascist societies.

The one word that CANNOT be applied to the abuse of government authority in this story is socialism.

I've explained to my family that the next time I fly, I intend to wear nothing but a string bikini, bathrobe, and flip-flops. It will not be a pretty sight.

They're all hoping I will never fly again.

Lindsay Williams said that his now-decased source Ken Fromm said that the cancer rates are going to skyrocket because of the body scanners and I'm saying herpes and crabs rates are going to skyrocket if people opt out and choose to be groped instead. Of course, I don't care, I can't afford to fly anyway and I'm scared of being in planes anyway. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Decased. Look it up on urban dictionary.

Assuming he was in fact wearing running shorts, this sounds like the type of expression that is at the core of the protections of the First Amendment. In Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court (correctly) held that the government cannot punish an individual, consistent with the First Amendment, for wearing a jacket in a courthouse stating "[F-WORD EXPLETIVE] THE DRAFT." 19-year-old Paul Cohen had been arrested under the guise of a disturbing the peace charge for conveying that message.

The TSA may be caught up in its own bureaucratic view of the world, but what they did here cannot be reconciled with the First Amendment or the Supreme Court's longstanding Cohen decision. Aaron's message--the text of the Founders' Fourth Amendment--is perhaps even more clearly within the bounds of what the First Amendment protects. I don't think the Founders would be surprised that bureaucrats would try to silence such dissent; they were aware of the tendency of centralized power to corrupt. But I think they would be surprised if our society didn't enforce the First Amendment and put a stop to this immediately. The entire purpose of the First Amendment was to avoid the type of conduct evidenced by the TSA here.

I don't think this is even a close call. Violating someone's constitutional rights under the guise of Federal law can subject the government to liability. The lawyers should get involved in this immediately, hold the TSA to the law, and dismiss the charges with an apology.

Herpes and crabs rates are going to skyrocket if people opt out and choose to be groped instead??? Doctors rip off their rubber gloves and put a new clean pair on before moving on to the next patient. Are you saying TSA gropes numerous people without changing their gloves? If so, that's just plain nasty!

Aaron B Tobey is hot!

hollowboy says "the government can't make you fly..." Well, evidently the government can force you to buy healthcare, so why not? maybe this year the gov will make us all by GM (government motors) cars, too. welcome to socializm.

While I agree with airport security and the such, I am not sure I agree with the way things have turned out for the American citizen (next best thing to porn in airport security and violation of personal areas). Such a shame that "we" (airlines) are all so afraid that it has come to this...isn't this letting the terrorist win? Isn't that their ulitmate goal? To strike terror in the hearts of others thus paralyzing an entire nation? Somehow I think terrorists are winning the war on terrorism and our own government is allowing it to happen.....disorderly conduct? What is that REALLY? Gasbag, you got the goods to explain...I am up for one.

"Disorderly Conduct" is the catch all that police can use for basically any reason.

From Mr Tobey's ill-conceived,peaceful protest to hurling insults at an officer's intelligence or parentage.

If an officer doesn't like the way you act around him--he can charge you with disorderly conduct.

Usually, if you didn't make too big a jerk of yourself, the charges are dropped if you act contrite.

It's generally used as a warning--but if you push it, it does have some teeth behind that bark.


TSA groin massages, child gropings and porno pics were NEVER done at any time during Bush's presidency. Not that I'm Bush's #1 fan, but he's a superstar compared to Dear Leader. The bailouts of the auto industry were handled by Obama as payback to the UAW. Normal bankruptcy procedures were NOT followed. Instead, union members moved to the head of the line, bondholders be damned. Maybe along with being forced to buy into ObamaCare, they'll require us all to buy Chevy Volts. Liberalism means ideas so good, they have to be mandatory. Preemptive strikes? I never mentioned them but they're just fine. They saved Israel's butt in 1967, that's for sure. I suppose libs must like being victims first. Unnecessary casualties must not be a problem. I suppose what "the world" thinks of us must be more important. Maybe that's why the Dems manufactured the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964 to put the Viet Nam conflict into high gear. Btw, the libs also believed in the "non-existing" WMD's that you mentioned, a fact conveniently overlooked.

@Jimi Hendrix

"If this sort of thing prevented 9/11 would it have been worth it?"

Nothing could have "prevented" something that was created and allowed in the first place. 9/11 was a stepping stone, a problem-reaction-solution pre-text that allowed The Powers That Be to move forward with an agenda they wouldn't have been able to justify otherwise.

Just when I think that this country is making progress in terms of the general public's awareness about what's really gone on I come across comments like this. !!

This should make an interesting line on his resume.

Just before 9/11, a major issue was privacy. Google's tracking our searches, ID theft and confidentially of our emails at work were part of our national conversation. Post 9/11, privacy rights gave way to widespread tapping of phones as well as other extreme measures.
I've been waiting for privacy to become a topic again.Funny it took something like pictures of our genitals to bring it back into our focus.

"Two national governments exist; one to be maintained under the Constitution, with all its restrictions; the other to be maintained by Congress outside and Independently of that Instrument."

-- by Supreme Court Justice Marshall Harlan (Downes v. Bidwell, 182, U.S. 244 1901

@ realist
Dude, you need help.

Anyone who freaks out about end-of-life counseling and calls them 'death panel while blaming Obama has already shown themselves to not in any way deserve the name 'realist.' I think 'irrational ignorant tool' is more in line with the appropriate handle.

Everyone after the age of 21 should have some end of life counseling so they do udnerstand reality. Most funny is the fact that it was a Republican, not Obama, who suggested this end-of-life counseling, and it was included because members of congress of both parties thought it was great.

Health Care rationing? Hello? Was there something that made people think Health insurance companies don't ration you health care? What does in-network and out of network mean?

God is fake, so obviously there was no LORD to give anyone rights. God is simply a hallucination caused by ingesting too much fluoride.

Picking up sorta where you left off Mr/Mrs/Miss Somebody, it's just a matter of time before some rouge TSA agent saves the nude scan image of a star such as Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock and distributes it nationwide. Or they might be slightly less than intelligent and try and sell the scan to some of these weekly tabloids. It's coming! I'll bet $10,000 it happens sooner or later.

God only knows how many images of total strangers have already been saved and distributed around the country in e-mail.

@GSOE: aren't there already much, much beter color images of those types of females available on the internet? Besides, the money they have, they can afford flying general aviation (i.e. hired jet) to avoid this mess.

The only good thing to come to light out of this entire squalid situation is the fact that Mr. Tobey is real eyecandy!