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Appeals Court Wants To Know Why TSA Is Ignoring Court Order Over Public Hearings On Naked Scanners

from the we're-the-gov't,-we-can-ignore-stuff dept

About a year ago, we wrote about a court ruling that the TSA’s naked scanners were legal (they didn’t violate the 4th Amendment’s restriction on “unreasonable” searches), but that the TSA failed to hold the proper public hearings before buying and deploying them. The TSA appears to have only paid attention to the first part. After a bunch of folks asked why the TSA was ignoring the order for public hearings, now an appeals court has officially weighed in and demanded to know why the TSA has failed to hold public hearings more than a year after that court ruling. The order is pretty straightforward:

ORDERED that the Department of Homeland Security, et al., respond to the petition on or before August 30, 2012.

The TSA has said that it would hold hearings “next year” (or two years after it was ordered to do so). You would think that it wouldn’t take the TSA two years to set up basic hearings — especially while it has continued to roll out a variety of new scanning machines…

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Comments on “Appeals Court Wants To Know Why TSA Is Ignoring Court Order Over Public Hearings On Naked Scanners”

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Jeremy says:

Re: "National Security"

…means “we do this to keep you safe, so don’t question.”

There were TWO lessons to learn from “A Few Good Men”

1) Yes, in the world we live in, you need someone on that wall doing the dirty work to keep a nation safe just as Jack Nicholsen portrayed so well.

2) Yes, we do in fact get to question how they do their jobs.

Apparently the federal government now acts like only #1 applies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "National Security"

Actually, most of the ‘dirty work’ to keep a nation safe when it comes to assassinations and preemptive monitoring of everyone isn’t necessary.

We have created Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations today by butting into the Middle East’s business when we should not have.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "National Security"

“We have created Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations today by butting into the Middle East’s business when we should not have.”

*rolls eyes in annoyance*
Yes, because Saddam Hussein, a man who commited genocide on the village of Dujail in 1982, got 100% of the yes votes from his people to reelect him for president under penalty of death for a no vote, and was scentenced to death for crimes against humanity is deffinitly a bad reason to leave the middle-east alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unions thumb nose at Taxpayers

“…with collective bargaining power over workplace issues such as work shifts and vacation time, unionized TSA screeners will be even less responsive to public complaints. Any changes that need to be made to address new security threats would need to be negotiated with the union.”


Wally (profile) says:

Columbus International Airport

Ok I have a question, the TSA agents are scanning naked people? I know it’s usually just a high resolution, over glorified x-ray machine that gives no 3D images. Of course the x-ray type is what Columbus International uses. Maybe the TSA needs to train its officers that you don’t need to strip people for the scans. The only clothing that should come off are shooes and belts. Maybe some states missed that memo.

But really, the TSA should do better to tell the public what the images actually show so nobody complains. Of all the Tomfoolery in top secrecy and national security, the TSA failed completely in realizing that people won’t understand until the machine’s capabilities (or lack thereof) are fully demonstrated.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Columbus International Airport


1. Put up big monitors so everybody can see the scan–everybody can be equally humiliated.

2. Put in place a “you can stab/hit/insert-into the stupid TSA Agent anything you can sneak thru the naked body scanner” policy.

(3. Record all this crap and add some zany music for America’s newest game show.)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Columbus International Airport

But really, the TSA should do better to tell the public what the images actually show so nobody complains.

I think they’ve done a reasonably good job of doing that. You can see sample images and everything at TSA’s site and other places. That’s one of the reasons that people are complaining.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Columbus International Airport

Ok, they show the details. I’ve seen a lot of the protest come from people who don’t notice that the screens these devices are attached to are behind blacked out windows and are hidden away from the public. Logic suggests that these examples on the TSA sites were volunteer models and if not, there should be blur in front of the faces and vital bits.

As for the scans at the airport, it’s no more revealing than an MRI or CAT scan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Columbus International Airport

Yes, but MRI and CAT scans are covered by HIPAA to protect your privacy. They are also handled by professionals who have studied their trade for years, and are held accountable to certain moral and ethical standards. I CANNOT say the same thing about the TSA airport security personnel.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Columbus International Airport

Not going to argue, just straightening our statements out 🙂 My mother worked with homeland security as a nursing consultant on biohazzard containment and detectinon of foreighn objects in suspects. She has lead a colorful career as an Administrative RN and OB Nurse and currently works on auditing US hospitals for medicare fraud recovery services. I asked her about it. Turns out that HIPPA does apply which means that the examples on the site are either vullentary demonstration models, or to avoid HIPPA violation, certain body parts and identifying features must be blurred out.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Columbus International Airport

We are subject to going through metal detectors in the same way. I think that in time, these implants will die down. Unlike most other government agencies, the TSA doesn’t give false or outlandish figures so I can give them credit for at least that. The scanners measure density in objects using a combination of x-ray and ultrasound and MRI which makes it much easier to detect explosives and illegal drugs.

I think that the press made such a huge deal out of the “possibility” of an agent being a pervert because of a very small and few incidents of devience in protocol. Most of the agents I have run into are trained professionals and would never purposefully scan someone because they wanted to see them naked.

As I stated before, it’s the media making a mountain out of a mole hill. Fox and CNN are always quick to jump the gun on single isolated incidents. They only report speculation rather than facts and use speculation to milk the story into a drama.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Columbus International Airport

I think that the press made such a huge deal out of the “possibility” of an agent being a pervert

Ahh, I think I see why I was unable to understand your point.

Neither myself, nor anyone I personally know who objects to the scanning (which hovers near 100% of the people that I know) object to it because they think the agents might be perverts.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Columbus International Airport

“Neither myself, nor anyone I personally know who objects to the scanning (which hovers near 100% of the people that I know) object to it because they think the agents might be perverts.”

Precisely, ^_^ and I do realize that people are really self conscious about their bodies too. I could hazard a guess to say that has a bit of a factor in it. But what people fail to realize is that the TSA agents that are actully looking at your body are trained medical professionals who are not inclined to share your “naked” photos online.

I should clarify and merge a couple of things as well so hang in their I will do my best to explain.

Say we have an incident where ONE agent goes out of line and decides to strip search a hot chick or a hunk of a guy, and that one person objects to the strip search. It gets spread that the person was quite violated. So what happens is, that one person tells their experience. Now maybe the person understands the fact that particular agent was out of line, maybe he or she doesn’t. The story trickles on slowly and then WHAM!!! It reaches CNN and Fox. Both of whom make huge deals out of isolated unrelated incidents and both seem to make it like a conspiracy. They report on the fact that she was being hatrassed and make it look like the entire process is like that.

Nothing on anyone to object to it because they are self conscious, but when I look back on how much hype these incidents got on CNN and Fox I start to realize how it has slowly been indoctrinated into viewers who actually rely on them for news eventually start believing the misinformation they receive from those two news agencies.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Columbus International Airport

Nah, they use MRI to make sure you aren’t trying to hide things in your body. Some objects cannot be picked up by x-ray alone so they use a low res quick scan MRI (rubbers filled with cocain for instance). I was told to hold absolutely still in the times I was scanned.

Most bodies show up as a white blob with no ID features. The only identifiable (and i mean just basic shapes) things are the naughty bits. Heck even with the naughty bits it’s in such low detail you can’t identify who it is.

In other words, it’s no porno, they don’t see vitals, they only check for foreign objects.

As for the illegal search and seizure bit, I personally think the TSA needs training from the police to determine the nessecity for that. A lot of the TSA policies were written by politicians and not law enforcement officers.

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

Enjoy your traveling now Mike. Get used to seeing the letters SSSS – you publicly pointed out they were liars. We already know they are domestic terrorists (following the DOD definition which says “?The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.
(Source: Joint Pub 3-07.2, Antiterrorism, (24 November 2010))”
They’ve used ‘threat of violence’ (do this or you’ll get blown up) to cooerce societies (ie the traveling public into nudie scanners) for ideological (that they’re supposed to be in control) and political (ditto) beliefs, for a goal that’s political ‘anti terror legislation passage, and government control’

They are, by definition, terrorists.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

For the ‘ignoring the court order’ one, not a gorram thing. If they were actually answerable to anyone, they wouldn’t be able to get away with even half of the stuff they do. At most I’d expect some really stern language sent their way for flaunting in public what everyone already knows: that they are very much above such petty things as ‘laws’.

As for the second, say goodbye to ever flying into, out of, or around the US; defy the TSA and you’re not boarding your flight, period.

Dave (profile) says:

Don't look behind that curtain

Interesting question: has ANYBODY, besides a TSA insider, actually seen one of these machines in action at an active airport. Perhaps the “Theater” is more profound than we think. Maybe it’s ALL theater, and they are just bullies getting off on humiliating the public. If the nudie machines were just empty, non-functional shells that we were paying millions for, that might explain the TSA’s reluctance. Follow the money. FBI: who’s getting rich off this scam I’m paying for? WE’d like to know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't look behind that curtain

Unfortunately the FBI would likely find someone who is in the middle of being screwed over by one of the bailed out banks by foreclosing on that person and trick them into being a stooge, like the fake terrorist stooges they’re so good at creating, and then arrest that stooge instead of the real criminals- federal law officers like TSA, FBI, Homeland Security, Congress, etc.

Ven says:

Re: Don't look behind that curtain

I have seen TSA agents ask someone to check their pockets after being screened by a back-scatter x-ray machine, he had left a money clip in back pocket. So they do in fact do something, but from the TSA’s own prior statements about their ‘big finds’ it’s usually stupid things like pocket knives and such.

relghuar says:

You would think...

“You would think that it wouldn’t take the TSA two years to set up basic hearings — especially while it has continued to roll out a variety of new scanning machines…”

Actually, I would think it would take the TSA a lot more than two years to set up anything — especially if it has a variety of new scanning machines still to be rolled out for taxpayer (=easy) money…

Anonymous Coward says:

The radiation is the problem.

These scanners are not regularly tested.

The TSA does not allow it’s employees to wear dosimeters.

No one knows how much radiation passengers are exposed to.

If you’re more concerned about the visibility of your genitals than you are about developing cancer from radiation exposure you’re sadly misguided.

Michael says:

In order for the TSA to stop, people would need to stop flying, which doesn’t seem likely.

As for the dangers from being exposed to radiation, what do they care? Recently they’ve been putting truck drivers through the same thing.

Ironic how the TSA, supposedly charged with overseeing public safety, would just as soon clobber someone over the head if they protested their draconian measures.

Remember when they beat that Iraq soldier in Las Vegas just for carrying a can of Sprite?

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