Print 94 comment(s) - last by Netjak.. on Aug 6 at 5:20 AM

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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By embedded_bill on 8/2/2012 12:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
The doctrine of security clearly has overtaken freedom. The terrorists of 9/11 have accomplished more in one day to change American values than any other tyrant in the past. This is just another indicator.

RE: It Simply Reflects a Change in American Values
By Ringold on 8/2/2012 2:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely nailed it.

The first big turning point was the Civil War, boosting the power of the federal government.

Then WW2 and Cold War created the military-industrial complex.

Then Vietnam sent a big chunk of the electorate rolling to the left, dragging the 'center' left and making people that've had the same principles about government and individualism for century's appear radical.

Then 9/11, and a supposedly conservative leader getting the police state ball rolling. Now we've got UAV's that'll start buzzing around over our cities.

The direction we're going is clear, history's verdict on how this turns out is clear, but no one cares except Ron Paul and a few tea party type.

By geddarkstorm on 8/2/2012 2:42:41 PM , Rating: 1
The TSA cares not for your tea bags! However, they do reserve the right to keep those photos on record to look at during lonely nights.

By retrospooty on 8/2/2012 3:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly true. Crazy that it happened, but it did, and here we are... and not alot of people even see it.

By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 4:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just like in the book "Animal Farm". Scary how accurate George Orwell was with that one.

RE: It Simply Reflects a Change in American Values
By knutjb on 8/3/2012 5:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
The military isn't the problem, federal government powers in and of them selves are not the problem, nor is 9/11 or UAVs.
So what’s problem? The TSA never complied with the court order.
This administration's management of the executive branch is the problem. Vote them out and annoy your representatives with constant messages. The squeaky wheel...
The direction we're going is clear, history's verdict on how this turns out is clear, but no one cares except Ron Paul and a few tea party type.
Dude you're going over the edge Ron Paul isn't the only one who cares.

By webstorm1 on 8/3/2012 11:16:16 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, you gotta stop the circle jerk here. There are plenty of rational people out there who don't have to go to extremes to make a point. This is ridiculous hyperbole, if you don't honestly see that, you've lost touch with reality.

RE: It Simply Reflects a Change in American Values
By Ringold on 8/3/2012 1:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ridiculous hyperbole? Empty claim, unless you want to try to debate the major points in history and how they've impacted the country. The poster before you is right, but only in a limited sense: it's not the government itself, it's the electorate, but I made that point as well, that Vietnam and the social divide it created sent the electorate to the left.

But no, very few people outside the Tea Party cares. There's big-government Republicans out there, and then obviously the Democrats gleefully pull the country left. Okay, there might be some Libertarian Party folks unassociated with the Tea Party, but they're almost the same things.

And it's hardly an extreme to point out the failures of nations and empires throughout recorded history, or the collapse of the welfare state going on throughout Europe and certain American cities, or its failure in the 90s in Sweden I believe it was, etc. Spain's about to need a huge bailout -- OMG, HYPERBOLE!!! Or, maybe I'm just repeating a headline from CNBC. One of those.

Not really extreme to point out the science, the psychology, of how people get comfortable with all this, and herd mentalities, either. That's all pretty basic stuff.

Sorry if your education has failed you, but all I did was point out basics, and indicated history has a verdict on how it all turns out. I know government education doesn't equip us to typically connect dots, but FFS, wake up.

By webstorm1 on 8/3/2012 3:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
When the military marches down my street, with the UAVs flying over, I will hop onto the internet really quickly to apologize about how wrong I was. Of course I'm sure by then the Big Government will have already turned off all access to the real internet. But in spirit I'll post something to you specifically.

You can follow your prophet, and the rest of us will listen to what he says and compile it along with the hundreds of other ideas we have to contend with. It must be great to be able to shut off all that other noise and focus on your one true message. But, the rational folks have discussions to have still, so run along.

I am right, anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. That's a great way to win people over to your cause!

It's so hard to find folks that don't like the TSA, I mean this board is full of people who are singing their praises. We are all just sheeple. The majority of this country is very happy with the patriot act, and are more than willing to give up their 2nd amendment. SOPA didn't generate an iota of pushback, and sailed right on through congress. So wow, you must feel really good about the coming military state, you'll be right while the rest of the US is thanking the government for their warm blanket of freedomless security.*tinfoil hat*

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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