TSA Above Justice
August 6, 2012 by Sam Rolley
The Transportation Security Administration has had some hefty accusations levied against it — including perverted voyeurism, sexual assault, abuse of power and theft — by American citizens in recent years.
Yet, while a TSA agent can foist inconvenient and uncomfortable demands on travelers, the agency has, without explanation, failed to comply with an order from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for more than a year.
Last year, a suit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center alleging the TSA’s use of naked body scanners violated privacy rights provided in the Constitution made its way to the court. The court did not rule on the Constitutionality of the scanners, but did offer a small victory for EPIC in ruling the TSA breeched Federal law by implementing the machines without public comment.
According to the Administrative Procedures Act, the TSA was required to have a 90-day public comment period to allow citizens a forum to share concerns about the scanners. The TSA shirked this responsibility in 2009 when it officially deployed its initial genital-viewing machines.
It has now been more than a year since the court ordered TSA officials to fulfill the public’s right to question its invasive tactics, and the agency has yet to act. Last week, the court granted a petition from EPIC compelling the TSA to respond to the request that they act on the court’s initial ruling by Aug. 30.
The court’s action comes amid other recent TSA headlines. The agency entered into its first union labor contract with its employees last week.
Even with the agency signaling that it is here to stay and seeking more power for its employees, critics like Senator Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) are continuing to push back against the agency. Paul currently has a bill in the Senate that would privatize airport security, though he doesn’t expect much Congressional support.
You can ask TSA to obey the law by signing a White House petition here.