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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 EricMartello on 8/2/2012 5:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
1. Start profiling, it's politically incorrect but it will target the people that are more likely to cause incidents or acts of terrorism.

Agreed. The stop & frisk thing has been working wonderfully in New York.

Eliminate the TSA and have the FBI, CIA, and NSA screen passengers; use facial and voice recognition systems to find people with links to terrorists, gangs, or histories of violence. If any of those 3 organizations are looking for you I don't want to be on a plane with you.

I agree with the first part about eliminating the TSA. I do not agree that we should involve the other federal agencies and continue the passenger screenings.

The reality is that sooner or later someone is going to slip by all of these countermeasures and sneak a weapon or bomb onto a plane. Rather than take the "everyone is a threat" approach, they should simply improve the options for dealing with a threat if it presents itself on the plane.

Arm the flight crew and allow citizens with concealed carry permits that are valid in both the departure and destination states to carry firearms on planes. Law abiding citizens are not the issue and if faced with a hijacking situation then they should have the option of taking matters into thier own hands.

Partially agreed, however they should not be armed with standard guns. The crew should be armed with less-than-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets, stun gun, tranquilizer gun, etc. The crew should also be trained to deal with said threats quickly and efficiently so if it does happen they do not panic.

I do not think allowing passengers to carry loaded guns on flights is smart because the average person is an idiot. Knowing you have a gun means you are going to alter your behavior based on your willingness to use said gun.

A "law abiding" citizen who has never dealt with a high stress situation would likely cause more harm than good if allowed to carry a weapon on a confined area like a plane...also, people snap and they may just decided to do that on a plane.

RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: The TSA is useless
By EricMartello on 8/2/2012 8:23:22 PM , Rating: 1
And let me clue you in on something, on 911 there was a plane full of these "stupid idiot law abiding citizens", and when they heard what was happening, rose up and stopped the terrorists from flying that plane into the White House, our nations capital. With very little time to act and NO training, they prevented a further catastrophe that day.

So you're using 9/11 to justify allowing CCW carriers to bring guns onto planes? To what end? A shootout on an airplane? You're giving a lot of credit to a basic fight-or-flight response common to most creatures living on this planet. Obviously on an airplane flight, aka avoidance, is not an option so you really only have one choice of action - fight.

I don't have a problem with the 2nd Amendment and I am not against people buying, owning and carrying guns so long as it is not in some situation where some idiot with a gun is likely to cause more trouble than good. There is no intelligence quotient for receiving a CCW.

If you weren't being such a condescending cynical asshole, you would be surprised how well ordinary people can respond to extraordinary situations when given a chance. We're not all a bunch of hapless idiots waiting for someone to act for us.

By condescending, cynical a5shole you mean "consistently logically and factually accurate" then I appreciate the note. People don't like the truth and often vilify those who speak it.

I am not surprised that people still have an instinctual drive for self preservation...but yeah, most people are hapless idiots who would rather wait for someone else to intervene rather than saving themselves...and arming these idiots isn't going to improve the situation.

RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: The TSA is useless
By EricMartello on 8/3/2012 1:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
People like me? I'm not dumb enough to believe cops or any other law enforcement is there to save my a55 in the nick of time just like in the movies. The cops show up AFTER the fact so I am prepared to fight if necessary, or run if the odds are not in my favor.

The average person is not going to stand up and fight for themselves, especially in an airline hijacking situation and suggesting that CCW allow people to bring their weapons onto airplanes is just a bad idea across the board. As I said, the only weapons on the airplane should be non-lethal types that incapacitate or cause pain.

I do not think the TSA should exist. I do not even think we need the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act needs to be purged from record. These things are all big government and if you followed any of my postings you'd probably note that I am not a fan of big government in any way shape or form.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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