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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 Schrag4 on 8/2/2012 1:43:44 PM , Rating: 4
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?

...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...

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