Two civil rights organizations have gone to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to challenge the Transportation Security Administration’s invasive airport body-imaging machines, which originally produced a nearly nude image of travelers.
As WND reported, it has taken five years for the TSA to comply with the D.C. court’s order to “promptly” issue a final rule regarding use of the controversial scanners and allow public comment.
Now that the rule has been issued, parallel lawsuits have been filed against the TSA.
One of the petitions for review, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, challenges the TSA’s decision to make full-body scans mandatory for some passengers. EPIC argues that denying passengers the right to opt out of the “Advanced Imaging Technology” is contrary to the agency’s previous statements and the court’s ruling.
The petition also “challenges the TSA’s failure to establish the effectiveness of AIT and the failure to adequately consider alternatives to AIT.”
EPIC noted that “public comments overwhelmingly favored less invasive screenings … but the TSA decided it may now mandate body scanners.”
The 789 full-body scanners in use in 156 airports now use a stick figure to depict the location of any item that requires TSA attention.
The organizations contend the TSA acted arbitrarily, capriciously and contrary to law in promulgating its rules on the use of the technology at airports.
“We are the unwitting victims of a system so corrupt that those who stand up for the rule of law and aspire to transparency in government are in the minority,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. “This corruption is so vast it spans all branches of government, from the power-hungry agencies under the executive branch and the corporate puppets within the legislative branch to a judiciary that is, more often that not, elitist and biased toward government entities and corporations. The whole body imaging scanners are a perfect example of this collusion between corporate lobbyists and government officials.
“‘We the people’ have not done the best job of holding our representatives accountable or standing up for our rights. But something as invasive and seemingly ineffective as these scanners certainly shouldn’t be foisted on an unsuspecting American populace without the absolute assurance that it will not harm our health or undermine our liberties.”
In 2009, the TSA began deploying the scanners at airports throughout the country but without the support of any legislation or agency regulation.
The TSA was criticized in 2010 by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for “enhanced pat-downs” that that were offered as alternatives to the scanning, and WND reported judges threw out challenges against the agency based on a “secret order” issued by the TSA.
At one point, the Libertarian Party of Florida formally asked sheriffs across the state to start arresting TSA agents in the 67 counties for sexual battery.
“As sheriff, you have the absolute duty to enforce the law uniformly and without prejudice. You are, at best, engaged in selective enforcement by choosing to further ignore these flagrant violations of federal and state law. At worst, you are complicit,” said a message to the 67 sheriffs from the party, signed by chairman Adrian Wyllie.
Paul’s criticism of the process was blunt.
“The press reports are horrifying: 95 year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure,” he wrote. “If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this case the perpetrators are armed federal agents. This is the sorry situation 10 years after the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.”