TSA finally agrees to comply with 2011 court order requiring them to take comments on use of full body scanners

TSALibertarians haven’t succeeded at getting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) privatized yet, but at least TSA has finally agreed to take comments on its use of full body scanners — only 20 months after it was mandated that it do so.

“I wouldn’t applaud TSA for doing this since they were required by the D.C. Circuit to open this proceeding by the end of the month,” Marc Scribner, fellow in land-use and transportation studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Red Alert. ”But it’s good that they’re not again in violation of the court’s order and that we are finally having this proceeding.”

TSA is finally complying with a court order handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals in July 2011 requiring the government agency to give the public the opportunity to comment and offer its opinion on the full body scanners, otherwise known as advanced imaging technology (AIT).

While the court case, Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, obligates TSA to accept comments, it does not stop TSA from using the scanners. Put bluntly: TSA is in no way required to consider any of these comments for rule-making in the future. But the public comment period is a step in the right direction, Scribner said, and could lead to better use of TSA funds in the future, should the D.C. court rule that the scanners lack the necessary rationale for their costly implementation.

The controversial federal agency argues that the purpose of the airport scanners is to keep civilians safe from terrorists, but many conservative and libertarian groups argue that administering full-body scans and pat-downs are an unnecessary violation of privacy.

And despite the TSA’s eventual compliance with the court’s ruling, Scribner and CEI are “unimpressed” with the agency’s ‘notice of proposed rulemaking,’ according to a press release.

“The TSA’s poorly framed proposed rule does not offer any insight into why, where, or how the TSA is justified in using whole-body imaging scanners in airports,” said Scribner in the press release. “And that lack of transparency violates the court’s order because TSA’s rationale cannot be evaluated properly.

Sen. Rand Paul introduced two bills last summer that would get rid of the screening program altogether and even called for a passenger’s bill of rights. However, neither bill made it out of committee. More recently, the Kentucky Senator included privatizing TSA in his FY 2014 budget. That budget failed to pass during the Senate’s vote-a-rama Friday night, with only 18 Senators, including Paul, voting for it, and 81 Senators voting against. Paul was unavailable to comment on the TSA’s decision at the time this article was published.

To voice your opinion about TSA’s use of full body scanners, you can comment here.

(h/t Lachlan Markay)

Comments

Comments

  1. Anthony says:

    So the scanners are to keep us safe from terrorists, while at the same time they are adding travelers from Saudi Arabia to he Trusted Flier List. In what world would that ever make sense? These people are morons!

  2. It bothers me that any agency is big enough and powerful enough that they can play so fast and loose with a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals – and get away with it.

    So they finally decided to comply, eh? That’s good – and to think, it only took ‘em two years to do it.

Polititainment

Secret Service once threatened Mr. Met's life

Mr. Met sure has a lot of fans in New York. But the larger-than-life mascot definitely doesn't have one in the Secret Service, who threatened to shoot and kill him if he approached President Bill Clinton, according to a firsthand account.

Jill Biden on Joe: "I fell in love with the boys first"

Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden didn't marry Vice President Joe Biden for his sense of humor -- instead, she "fell in love" with his two sons first.

Joe Biden's first Instagram photo

Ladies and gentlemen of this great nation, rejoice! Vice President Joe Biden has joined Instagram -- and his first post is everything you ever dreamed it would be.

Celebrate Tax Day with this ditty

What better way to celebrate curse Tax Day than with a little toe-tapping, finger-snapping ditty that perfectly describes how we all feel about the Internal Revenue Service?

Joy Behar roasts Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) may need some ice for a few burns he sustained from former "The View" host Joy Behar, as the comedian delivered an awkward roast of the 2016 presidential hopeful.

White House

Jay Carney: “Never been a more transparent administration”

Despite consistent objections by journalists that the White House overly restricts press access, Press Secretary Jay Carney believes that there has "never been a more transparent administration."

Jay Carney: Toughest interview for Obama in 2012 was with Jon Stewart

Give comedian Jon Stewart a gold star sticker. The host of The Daily Show was President Barack Obama's toughest interviewer during the 2012 election cycle, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday.

The most powerful selfie in the world

Joe Biden — he's just like you, and he takes selfies, too.

Obama: Republicans a threat to the right to vote

President Barack Obama slammed Republicans on Friday for supporting voter identification law and labeled the GOP as a threat to the right to vote.

Republicans renew fight against Obamacare as Sebelius resigns

FOX NEWS -- Republicans responded to news of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' resignation from the Obama administration on Thursday with fresh calls to repeal the president's health care law.

Read more at FOX News.

Congress

Rep Black: GOP budget makes a path to a bright future

Our nation is $17.4 trillion in debt and out of control Washington spending has no end in sight. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that on our current trajectory we will return to $1 trillion annual budget deficits by the year 2022.

Cruz: Impeach Holder

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pulled no punches when criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, as he called on Congress to impeach the Department of Justice head.

Pelosi: GOP not acting on immigration because of race

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled the race card when speaking about Republicans' inaction in passing comprehensive immigration reform and said "race has something to do" with the GOP not bringing such legislation to the House floor.

House passes Ryan's budget plan

The House on Thursday passed a 10-year Republican spending plan drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Read more at The Washington Examiner.

Harry Reid's Koch-fueled meltdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been in a Koch-fueled rage, seizing moments left and right (mostly from the left) to bash Charles and David Koch.