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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 webstorm1 on 8/3/2012 10:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
I tend to agree that most of the type of people with the wherewithal to get a CCW are probably those that have respect for firearms. Movies have skewed perception of firearms pretty badly. It's a whole lot easier to miss than it is to hit. That's why your run of the mill thug gets taken out without injuring law enforcement in most cases. If you are holding your gun sideways, you are going to miss and possibly hurt your wrist.

I don't buy any of the rhetoric from either camp about guns, but I do believe that an overwhelming majority of gun owners are the safest people with those guns. The crazy we just had went out and bought some guns off the shelf and had no training- a well trained civilian in the right place could have easily subdued him. A chance would have been better than no chance. As long as people are free to move about the country there exists the possibility of mass murder, and if I happen to find myself in a situation I will be grateful for the armed civilians around me. I will be teaching my children about gun safety as soon as they are old enough to learn. I don't agree with Reclaimer on much, but I do agree on this topic. Even though he thinks you are a crazy left winger he wouldn't ever pull his weapon on you, even as a joke.

It is ridiculous to assert someone might try to murder a flight attendant for revenge. If that were a real concern we'd have a lot less aholes in this world for fear of retribution. You can't even punch a jerk in the face these days.


RE: The TSA is useless
By Netjak on 8/6/2012 5:20:33 AM , Rating: 1
Arms for safety? On battle field, yes. But on the streets - no. unarmed man can not easily kill; armed man can do that by accident. why? because it is to easy to pull the triger, even a todler can do that. Go to for clues; see UK, Germany, Japan... there is five or more times less murders per capita than in US.


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