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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 JediJeb on 8/2/2012 2:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So? Aircraft are designed to handle things like the exterior doors coming off or punctures to the fuselage. The pilot will have to drop to 10,000 feet (so the people don't pass out) and fly to the nearest airport. You've watched snakes on a plane a few too many times if you think a couple pistol rounds is going to tear a giant hole in the side of the plane and cause massive structural failues leading to the plane falling out of the sky.


This part is true. They even tried it on a Mythbuster's episode once (yea not the most definitive source but still). Even blowing out a whole window does not suck people out of the plane. Once you decompress in a couple seconds you just have the wind to contend with as it passes by the opening. Even that Hawaiian airlines plane that lost a big section of its upper hull only lost the flight attendant that happened to be standing in that area, and the plane still landed safely.

As far as having everyone armed, no, there are many people who just shouldn't be trying that. I am not for taking away any rights to have guns, but people need to be knowledgeable of their limitations in certain circumstances. I am however in favor of armed crews if they are properly trained.


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