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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 Solandri on 8/2/2012 7:47:34 PM , Rating: 3
This is a silly argument, but...
It is a fire extinguisher. Just before he gets in sword range, you can spray the contents of the fire extinguisher into his face and get away or throw it at him.

He was wearing a gas mask.

The issue is not whether if gun carrying patrons would have lessen the damage in these rare cases but what happens the rest of the time that these gun carrying citizens are going about their regular lives. Say they are carrying when they are drunk and get pissed off by someone and decide to use the gun; I think this will occur much more often than the occasional crazy that decide to do something like this.

In case you didn't know, there already are lots of citizens with concealed weapons permits carrying guns around you right now. And there hasn't been an epidemic of them shooting others while drunk or pissed off. The fact that you didn't know this is a testament to their responsible use (or rather, non-use) of firearms.

As for why this is a silly argument, mass shooting incidents are statistical outliers. Like terrorist attacks, they're very rare, and account for an almost negligible amount of the risk of death you encounter in life. If I remember the stats right, you're 4x more likely to be killed riding around in a car than you are from random gun violence (all gun homicides, not just mass shootings). Yet most people seem to have no problem accepting the bigger risk, while they wring their hands in worry about the smaller one.

RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 8:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
Something like 98+% of concealed carry permit holders are able to renew their licenses annually. Which means not only are they NOT going around randomly shooting people, but they aren't committing any other crimes either.

RE: The TSA is useless
By Warren21 on 8/3/2012 2:05:16 AM , Rating: 3
Also of note, something like 75% of all statistics are made up on the spot! Amazing.

Just playing Devil's advocate here; I am actually 1000% for concealed carry, and I'm Canadian. I would love to get it here.

All I'm saying is passing here-say/opinion/word-of-mouth off as fact is utterly useless. You tend to do this quite often. If you're going to claim something useful, back it up [with citations].

RE: The TSA is useless
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2012 11:24:44 AM , Rating: 3
Except that's not a made up statistic. No matter how you slice it, legal gun owners and especially CCW permit holders, are a very law abiding and respectable group of people.

All I'm saying is passing here-say/opinion/word-of-mouth off as fact is utterly useless. You tend to do this quite often.

Excuse me? So because you didn't do the legwork yourself, you just assume I'm lying? I'm not passing anything off here.

The problem is CCW permit's are revoked at the State level, I wish I could find a comprehensive neat list for all 49 States, but it's a case by case basis.

For example * Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. At the time the law was passed, critics predicted increases in violence. The founder of the National Organization of Women, Betty Friedan stated:

"lethal violence, even in self defense, only engenders more violence." (13)

* When the law went into effect, the Dade County Police began a program to record all arrest and non arrest incidents involving concealed carry licensees. Between September of 1987 and August of 1992, Dade County recorded 4 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. None of these crimes resulted in an injury. The record keeping program was abandoned in 1992 because there were not enough incidents to justify tracking them. (13)(15)

* 221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. (15)

* As of 1998, nationwide, there has been 1 recorded incident in which a permit holder shot someone following a traffic accident. The permit holder was not charged, as the grand jury ruled the shooting was in self defense. (7)

* As of 1998, no permit holder has ever shot a police officer. There have been several cases in which a permit holder has protected an officer's life. (7)

To date, Florida has issued 1,136,496 permits, and revoked 157 (0.014%) due to gun crimes by permit-holders.

RE: The TSA is useless
By tamalero on 8/5/2012 3:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
it would still blind him, since the mask doesnt shot water.. it shots a goo-foam chemical that could get fixed in his mask.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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