Pat-down: Federal court demands TSA explain why it’s defying court order

posted at 10:26 am on August 2, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

Earlier this month, we checked in on the TSA scanner issue and found out the federal agency has been ignoring a year-old federal court order to hold public hearings and comment on the controversial back-scatter machines used in screenings.

Wednesday, the same federal court demanded the TSA explain itself, as reported by the good folks at Wired:

A federal appeals court Wednesday ordered the Transportation Security Administration to explain why it hasn’t complied with the court’s year-old decision demanding the agency hold public hearings concerning the rules and regulations pertaining to the so-called nude body scanners installed in U.S. airport security checkpoints.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s brief order came in response to the third request by the Electronic Information Privacy Center for the court to enforce its order.

The court will only accept TSA’s response in 3 oz. bottles that fit inside a quart Zip-lock bag. Tough luck.

The TSA had previously told Wired it might get around to hearings “next year,” but it must now provide an answer to the court by Aug. 30. Remember, though, TSA is full of nothing but hard-working, totally trustworthy professionals who are merely enforcing rules for the sake of civil society and do not feel their badges give them license to ignore those rules themselves.

If you’d like to try to get the White House to answer questions about why the TSA is ignoring a court order, sign the petition started by a Cato scholar. Theoretically, by its own rules, the White House would have to answer the question after 25,000 signatures, and we know how good the White House is about following its own rules.

In good news, TSA is worried enough about its public image these days that it’s taken to actually firing people caught stealing.

And, credit where it’s due: there are good ones out there.

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