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Court demands to know why TSA is brazenly violating federal laws and its orders

We've covered over the past few years how the U.S. Transportation Safety Agency's "nude" full-body scanners have been used and abused.  The TSA has received sweeping condemnation for the Orwellian scanner program, which many experts say cannot detect dangerous materials as well as metal detectors or traditional search techniques.

A handful of high-profile civil liberties watchdog organizations have targeted the deployment.  Perhaps the most successful was the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) lawsuit against the TSA.  While EPIC fell short of felling the nude scanners on Constitutional grounds, it did score a victory of sorts when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the TSA violated a federal transparency law.

The court on July 15, 2011 ordered the TSA "to act properly" and rectify its breach of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) of 1946, which requires federal programs to hold public hearings.  The TSA held no such hearings with regards to the court scanners, so three judge appellate panel ordered the agency [PDF] to undergo a 90-day public comment period.

Body scanner images
The TSA has defied a court order to hold a public review its "nude" full-body scanners.
[Image Source: TSA]

So what’s problem?  The TSA never complied with the court order.  As of last month, it told Wired in an interview that the hearing and policy review had been shelved until sometime "next year".  The TSA has stated it really doesn't want to hold the public review at all, as it feels it could harm the government's capability to respond to "ever-evolving threats."

That defiant stance landed the TSA back in court this week.  In a short ruling [PDF] the federal court reiterated its demand for hearings, ordering the TSA to respond by Aug. 30.

Jim Harper, the director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, has an active petition on the new White House petition site rolled out by the Obama administration.  The petition demands the TSA follow the law and hold the public hearings.  The petition has almost 16,500 signatures and only needs about 8,500 more to reach its goal of 25,000.  Under the rules of the petition site, if the additional signature mark is met, President Barack Obama must personally respond.
 
TSA petition
A petition hopes to get President Obama to force the TSA to follow the law.

It's understandable why the TSA wouldn't want to have to answer tough questions from the public on health risks to frequent fliers and why the TSA was storing nude body scanner images, after it had promised not to.

However, even considering the controversy, it's in the relative minority.  Agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have complied with the APA rules, offering public reviews of contentious provisions such as the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards.

Sources: U.S. District Court for D.C. via Wired, Wired



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RE: The TSA is useless
By MrBungle123 on 8/2/2012 12:32:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Dude- lunatics will gun people down and then SHOOT THEMSELVES. Other people carrying guns will not stop them.


Other people carrying guns may not stop lunatics from shooting into crowds, but they may put a stop to the situation before said lunatic runs out of bullets. 5 or 6 people in that theatre in colorado with handguns could have completely changed the outcome of that shooting... perhaps 5 or 10 less people would have lost their lives. completely worth it in my opinion.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Camikazi on 8/2/2012 12:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
Doubtful considering the guy threw a smoke bomb (or teargas can't remember) before he went in shooting. Others with guns trying to hit him while the smoke was around would probably hit innocent people before they got the shooter. Remember the shooter didn't have to aim just randomly shoot, the others with guns trying to stop him would have to have good aim or they would hit random innocent people.


RE: The TSA is useless
By MrBungle123 on 8/2/2012 12:58:25 PM , Rating: 2
so innocent people being completely defenseless targets is better than innocent people having some chance of fighting back?

Sure the people in the theatre are caught off guard by a gunman with gas and a plan of some sort but that doesn't mean that one of the armed citizens wont be or can't get into a position to fight back. Some Chance > No Chance


RE: The TSA is useless
By Schrag4 on 8/2/2012 1:43:44 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Others with guns trying to hit him while the smoke was around would probably hit innocent people before they got the shooter. Remember the shooter didn't have to aim just randomly shoot,...


These kinds of statements really bug me. Were you there? Do you know how far the gas was affecting people, or to what extent? Would less overall innocent deaths and injuries have been a worse outcome if one or two of the casualties were accidental? Do you think it's OK when police injure or kill innocent people who were caught in the crossfire but it's not OK for non-LEO? Do you not believe that a legally carrying civilian could have exercised judgement in determining whether or not engaging the threat was the right thing to do, based on their vantage point (other innocents between them and the shooter or not) and based on if their abilities were compromised by gas? Do you really think people would just start randomly shooting around them if they didn't feel they had a clear shot?

quote:
...the others with guns trying to stop him would have to have good aim or they would hit random innocent people.


You're absolutely right. People who exercise the right to protect themselves really ought to be proficient with what they carry, which means practice, practice, practice. I'm not suggesting that everyone who carries puts in enough effort, but don't you at least acknowledge that some - many in fact - do? If you think police and military officers are the only ones who know how to use a gun, you're very sorely mistaken. In fact, there are plenty of police and military whose proficiency with a firearm is well below what I would consider the average carrying civilian's profeciency level. Kinda scary when you think about it...


RE: The TSA is useless
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 1:55:02 PM , Rating: 3
I'm just glad we are calling it as it is, a lunatic was the problem not the guns he carried. The media seems to want to downplay his mental state and totally over exaggerate the fact he had guns. Honestly if the lunatic had been only armed with a sword he could have still managed to do the same amount of damage when going up against unarmed victims. The teargas and smoke was his greatest advantage in the situation and it would have made it very difficult for an armed victim to have taken him out easily, but even then one armed victim might have made a difference. We will never know though since none were.


RE: The TSA is useless
By sviola on 8/2/2012 2:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if he had a sword people would have had more chances of survival. All it needs is to hold a hard enough object to protect one(a fire extinguisher could protect anyone form a sword).


RE: The TSA is useless
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 3:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
Depends how proficient you are with the fire extinguisher verses the swordsman's proficiency with his weapon. A slashing movement with the sword would be fairly easy to defend against with a fire extinguisher, but a thrusting move would be more difficult since you would need to not just block the move, but deflect it enough to miss your body. If the sword slides past the fire extinguisher in a thrusting move then it can still go right through you.


RE: The TSA is useless
By chenjf on 8/2/2012 6:24:59 PM , Rating: 1
It is a fire extinguisher. Just before he gets in sword range, you can spray the contents of the fire extinguisher into his face and get away or throw it at him. With a gun, he can shot you from futher than the extinguisher can.

Yes, I agree that if there were patrons there that had guns then there would be less death and injuries. But it is only in these rare cases that it would help. The issue is not whether if gun carrying patrons would have lessen the damage in these rare cases but what happens the rest of the time that these gun carrying citizens are going about their regular lives. Say they are carrying when they are drunk and get pissed off by someone and decide to use the gun; I think this will occur much more often than the occasional crazy that decide to do something like this. So, its an argument of saving 10 or 15 people at one event vs 1 person getting killed/hurt in hundreds of incidents.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Solandri on 8/2/2012 7:47:34 PM , Rating: 3
This is a silly argument, but...
quote:
It is a fire extinguisher. Just before he gets in sword range, you can spray the contents of the fire extinguisher into his face and get away or throw it at him.

He was wearing a gas mask.

quote:
The issue is not whether if gun carrying patrons would have lessen the damage in these rare cases but what happens the rest of the time that these gun carrying citizens are going about their regular lives. Say they are carrying when they are drunk and get pissed off by someone and decide to use the gun; I think this will occur much more often than the occasional crazy that decide to do something like this.

In case you didn't know, there already are lots of citizens with concealed weapons permits carrying guns around you right now. And there hasn't been an epidemic of them shooting others while drunk or pissed off. The fact that you didn't know this is a testament to their responsible use (or rather, non-use) of firearms.

As for why this is a silly argument, mass shooting incidents are statistical outliers. Like terrorist attacks, they're very rare, and account for an almost negligible amount of the risk of death you encounter in life. If I remember the stats right, you're 4x more likely to be killed riding around in a car than you are from random gun violence (all gun homicides, not just mass shootings). Yet most people seem to have no problem accepting the bigger risk, while they wring their hands in worry about the smaller one.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 8:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
Something like 98+% of concealed carry permit holders are able to renew their licenses annually. Which means not only are they NOT going around randomly shooting people, but they aren't committing any other crimes either.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Warren21 on 8/3/2012 2:05:16 AM , Rating: 3
Also of note, something like 75% of all statistics are made up on the spot! Amazing.

Just playing Devil's advocate here; I am actually 1000% for concealed carry, and I'm Canadian. I would love to get it here.

All I'm saying is passing here-say/opinion/word-of-mouth off as fact is utterly useless. You tend to do this quite often. If you're going to claim something useful, back it up [with citations].


RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2012 11:24:44 AM , Rating: 3
Except that's not a made up statistic. No matter how you slice it, legal gun owners and especially CCW permit holders, are a very law abiding and respectable group of people.

quote:
All I'm saying is passing here-say/opinion/word-of-mouth off as fact is utterly useless. You tend to do this quite often.


Excuse me? So because you didn't do the legwork yourself, you just assume I'm lying? I'm not passing anything off here.

The problem is CCW permit's are revoked at the State level, I wish I could find a comprehensive neat list for all 49 States, but it's a case by case basis.

http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

For example * Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. At the time the law was passed, critics predicted increases in violence. The founder of the National Organization of Women, Betty Friedan stated:

"lethal violence, even in self defense, only engenders more violence." (13)

* When the law went into effect, the Dade County Police began a program to record all arrest and non arrest incidents involving concealed carry licensees. Between September of 1987 and August of 1992, Dade County recorded 4 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. None of these crimes resulted in an injury. The record keeping program was abandoned in 1992 because there were not enough incidents to justify tracking them. (13)(15)

* 221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. (15)

* As of 1998, nationwide, there has been 1 recorded incident in which a permit holder shot someone following a traffic accident. The permit holder was not charged, as the grand jury ruled the shooting was in self defense. (7)

* As of 1998, no permit holder has ever shot a police officer. There have been several cases in which a permit holder has protected an officer's life. (7)


To date, Florida has issued 1,136,496 permits, and revoked 157 (0.014%) due to gun crimes by permit-holders.


RE: The TSA is useless
By tamalero on 8/5/2012 3:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
it would still blind him, since the mask doesnt shot water.. it shots a goo-foam chemical that could get fixed in his mask.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Netjak on 8/3/2012 6:00:08 AM , Rating: 1
this is mental state in wich this can happen. you want a gun, you have right to kill, you think you can respond to man with fire arms. no, you can't. you have to feel safe, to delegate job of public safety to trained profesionals and firearms have to be on battle field not on streets in civilized country. in that state of mind nobody will see you as a threat and wil not shot you. in us everybody have a gun for safety and that is sole reason for high rate of murders in US, unseen in any other civilized country.


RE: The TSA is useless
By CowKing on 8/3/2012 2:10:37 AM , Rating: 2
That's completely inaccurate. You should feel ashamed of what you have just said.

Let's run down what happened at the recent Aurora theater massacre.
1)James Holmes throws tear gas canisters in to the crowded theater.
2)He then proceeds to unload on the crowd.

Now, this all happened within a couple of seconds. Plus some people thought that it was a stunt for the movie. But for the sake of the argument let's put armed citizens into the mix. We have people being shot and killed with loud sounds coming from the speakers, and the discharge of Mr. Holmes weapons.

Can't see? check
can't hear? check

What is an armed citizen supposed to think when everyone starts drawing their weapon? Just shoot the person that looks most suspecting? He also had protective armor on so you's need some fairly high powered rounds to actually do any damage. Even the police agree that it was a good thing that no body had a gun or otherwise it would have been a lot worse.

What delusional world do you live in?


RE: The TSA is useless
By knutjb on 8/3/2012 5:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's completely inaccurate. You should feel ashamed of what you have just said.
Have you ever talked to anyone who has had body armor on and was shot? Ever worn a gas mask and shoot a gun? Do you have any weapons training? In that environment ANY distraction would have saved lives. Holmes was not trained and any distraction would have thrown him off guard leading to forced errors. The police did what they do in the vast majority of their job, react and not prevent. That isn't a slam on the police just the reality of how they function.
quote:
What delusional world do you live in?


RE: The TSA is useless
By phazers on 8/3/2012 1:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
5 or 6 people in that theatre in colorado with handguns could have completely changed the outcome of that shooting... perhaps 5 or 10 less people would have lost their lives.


More likely that would have been 5 or 6 more sources of bullets flying out into the crowd, shot by untrained non professionals who might even start shooting at each other out of confusion in the chaos.

Really bad idea..


RE: The TSA is useless
By tamalero on 8/5/2012 3:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
that would happen in a perfect world.

except this isnt a perfect world..
due of panic, smoke and the suits everyone was wearing in the theatre, you will find yourself immersed in a huge friendlyfirefight.
because noone will know really who is the bad guy and who isnt.

I still love how proguns always thinks ¨guns solves everything¨ and ¨everything happens as planned¨ when its involved in guns..

guess what? IT DOESNT.. even trained officials make mistakes.
now can you imagine your gunnut hillbilly with zero training?


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