Appeals Court: TSA Violated Federal Law, But Scanners Stay

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Today, a Federal appeals court unanimously decided not to ban full-body scanners from airports, even though the Court agreed that the Transportation Security Administration had violated Federal law.

A Federal appeals court found today that, although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had clearly violated Federal law, the Court would not block them from using full-body scanners, called Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), in airports.

According to an article for Wired.com, the “appellate court, which is one stop from the Supreme Court, said that the Transportation Security Administration breached federal law in 2009 when it formally adopted the airport scanners as the ‘primary’ method of screening. The judges said the TSA violated the Administrative Procedures Act for failing to have a 90-day public comment period, and ordered the agency to undertake one.”

The suit, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), alleged that airport body scanners were “invasive, unlawful, and ineffective,” and violated the Fourth Amendment.

“The petitioners argue that using AIT for primary screening violates the Fourth Amendment because it is more invasive than is necessary to detect weapons or explosives,” The Wired article quoted the Court as saying. “As other circuits have held, and as the Supreme Court has strongly suggested, screening passengers at an airport is an ‘administrative search’ because the primary goal is not to determine whether any passenger has committed a crime but rather to protect the public from a terrorist attack.”

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