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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 12:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then there are pilots and stewardesses with armed guns that any well trained militant could potentially disarm? Even without that, if not screening someone will get weapons on the damn planes and turn it into a giant 600mph cruise missile ala 9/11.


The whole point is to make it much harder to take a plane by force. The passengers and any potential bystanders on the ground stand a far better chance if a hijacking attempt turns into a gun fight in which 10 or 15 people get shot on the plane than if the plane is taken and flown into an office building.

15 people (including the hijackers) dying is better than 3000 people dying.


RE: The TSA is useless
By retrospooty on 8/2/2012 12:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
"The whole point is to make it much harder to take a plane by force."

Agreed. Then no guns on planes. If there are known guns on planes then plans will be made to take the guns and take over. You cant count on potential bystanders. One planefull may have 4-5 and another have none. If the terrorists know the flight crew has weapons, then they will hatch a plot to disarm them. Its a rediculous plan. There are so many holes it's not even funny.

Like I said... Its a way more difficult task than it appears when you look at the details and the reality and nature of the enemy nutjobs. The only thing that can be done is to screen everyone that flies, no exceptions. You also have to randomly inspect old ladies and babies to make sure the nutjubs arent using old ladies and babies to smuggle in weapons.

If you dont like it, then dont fly. There arent any other solutions that work, unfortunately.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: The TSA is useless
By retrospooty on 8/2/2012 3:38:22 PM , Rating: 1
"Sorry retro but your lefty streak is really showing on this one. Using all the standard talking points."

Oy... First off, I am not against guns. I have a freegin Baretta Px4 compact FFS. I just dont think putting them in the hands of the flight crew is a good idea. I said above, in the hands of a law enforcement pro it would be fine, but not pilots and stewardesses. Too easy to take it from them and cause the very problem its designed to defeat. Its just not a smart move. It sounds to me like you are being "pro gun" just to be pro gun and not really thinking about what would actually happen on a plane.


"How? Magic? What would happen is they would stop trying to hijack planes and move on to other targets. That's what would happen."

This would cause them to TRY and hijack. It would actually invite it. Clock them over the head from behind is the first thing that pops into mind. Not very magic or elaborate. Even 4-5 guys simultaneously rushing all stewardesses and now you have a plane full of armed islamo-fundies. Its just not smart. 4-5 stewardesses or flaming stewards with guns is not exactly striking fear in anyones mind. Especially someone that is already willing to die for the cause.

"This is such a typical Liberal viewpoint it's not even funny. You're only safe, apparently, if a Federal employee is armed. NOBODY else can be armed because that would just be crazy, but if the Feds have guns, that's different."

Come on man, stop putting me in that boat. I dont think anything like that, it's not about gun control, its a plane and too easy to take over with a gun.

"This just shows that you don't truly understand the enemy, and are applying White man's Western thinking to the problem."

I thought that is what you were doing ;)

Dood, its a fucked up situation and difficult as hell to deal with, but you jsut cant put weapons in the hands of stewardesses and expect that not to SCREAM - easy target.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Manch on 8/2/2012 5:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
I say arm the pilots. They have the secure doors on the cockpits. A lot of them are former military pilots and know how to handle a weapon. Those that dont, well train them! Air Marshall's are on random planes, so you never know who in the cabin is armed. I do agree that the stewardesses should not be armed. They can be too easily distracted, and have to constantly reach over people while serving etc. You could have a gun safe that can only be released by the pilot on the plane tho.

As far as passengers being armed, I think enforcing conditions upon them carrying on the plane would serve as a nice balance between everyone's concerns.

No alcohol
no bullet in the chamber, safety on
Aisle seat only
Must attend briefing/training yearly/as needed to ensure they are aware of the latest guidelines, etc.
They cannot advertise the fact that they have a weapon.
restrict bullet types to rat shot, plastic or other riot/"non-lethal"/less than lethal ammo.**these munitions are quite lethal and effective at close range, but have much less chance ricochet, and other secondary injuries. Also they wont breach the cabin.

Plastic bullets have been used by riot police to prevent ricochets.

I use rat shot up in my loft at my farm. Great for killing snakes too. No holes in it yet. I bet SLJ wish he had some!


RE: The TSA is useless
By retrospooty on 8/3/2012 12:35:25 PM , Rating: 2
"I say arm the pilots. They have the secure doors on the cockpits. A lot of them are former military pilots and know how to handle a weapon. "

That works. The other good thing, is they are behind secured doors, so no-one could just sneak up and clock them on the head and disarm them.


RE: The TSA is useless
By GreenEnvt on 8/2/2012 1:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
You think in the post 9/11 days that if someone tries to hijack a plane with a knife or similar (since no guns should be able to get on planes), that the passengers are going to sit idly by?
If I'm on a plane and someone or a group of people try that, I'm going to try and stop them. The passengers greatly outnumber and potential hijackers.

Even if the guy had a gun, you can only shoot so many people before you're overwhelmed.


RE: The TSA is useless
By sviola on 8/2/2012 1:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even if the guy had a gun, you can only shoot so many people before you're overwhelmed.


They only need too shoot down one person, and all the rest will stay quiet.

You and the OP seem to think the ordinary citizen is brave and have the will and skills to disarm an armed terrorist. Well, living in a city that is among one of the most violent in the world, I can tell you that's not the norm. People will shy in fear and stay put, waiting to be released free of harm. Take for instance bank robberies: how many have you heard of that the average person in line fought back, disarmed the criminals and took care of the situation?


RE: The TSA is useless
By Digimonkey on 8/2/2012 2:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but if said bank robbers were notorious for blowing up banks along with hostages after the robbery then you have a scenario much like a plane hijacking. The idea is I have a chance if I fight back, if I don't fight back death is almost certain.


RE: The TSA is useless
By bodar on 8/2/2012 3:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
Back when hijackers were most likely trying to redirect the plane to Cuba or something, yes. However, after 9/11, passengers are far more likely to assume that if the terrorists are not stopped, they are going to slam the plane into a building.

Not to mention, some passengers DID fight back on 9/11. Do you seriously not recall this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Fligh...


RE: The TSA is useless
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 4:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
Glad someone brought that up! The average citizen doesn't make waves when it could rock their boat, but when the boat is already turning over, they will do whatever is needed to try and stop it.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Manch on 8/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/12, Rating: 0
"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs














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