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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 Jeffk464 on 8/2/2012 1:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
"allow citizens with concealed carry permits that are valid in both the departure and destination states to carry firearms on planes."

You know its hard enought to keep cops from being trigger happy. Do you really want every wannabe cop(zimmermans of the world) running around with concealed weapons, especially in a confined pressurized tube.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2012 2:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
That being said, I would say profiling is definitely in order. How much sense does it make to focus on the 65 year Japanese woman and let the 22 year old Muslim man to walk by as he is saying alla akbar.


RE: The TSA is useless
By MrBungle123 on 8/2/2012 2:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
I going to guess by your statements all you know about guns you learned from watching movies and that you do not have a concealed carry permit. The gun is the absolute last resort and can only be used in DEFENSE of yourself or someone else. Openly threatening someone with it or pulling it out to escalate the tension in a situation is brandishing firearm and is illegal.


RE: The TSA is useless
By sviola on 8/2/2012 2:29:45 PM , Rating: 1
You describe what people should do, not what they really do. If people were to act as expected, there would be no need for law enforcement at all (certainly not the TSA). But that's not the case, just watch the news and you see shootings, murders, hijacks and other things.


RE: The TSA is useless
By MrBungle123 on 8/2/2012 2:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
Sure people use firearms for illegal purposes all the time.. how many of the criminals are concealed carry permit holders? Virtually none because a criminal will not be able to pass the background checks to get the permit.


RE: The TSA is useless
By jeffkro on 8/2/2012 3:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
Or they aren't a criminal up until they use their gun


RE: The TSA is useless
By jeffkro on 8/2/2012 3:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
Its also assuming the gun owner will be rational 100% of the time for the time they own the gun.


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