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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 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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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