TSA finally agrees to comply with 2011 court order requiring them to take comments on use of full body scanners

TSA finally agrees to comply with 2011 court order requiring them to take comments on use of full body scanners

March 26, 2013
Originally published in Red Alert Politics

“I wouldn’t applaud TSA for doing this since they were required by the D.C. Circuit to open this proceeding by the end of the month,” Marc Scribner, fellow in land-use and transportation studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Red Alert. ”But it’s good that they’re not again in violation of the court’s order and that we are finally having this proceeding.”

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While the court case, Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, obligates TSA to accept comments, it does not stop TSA from using the scanners. Put bluntly: TSA is in no way required to consider any of these comments for rule-making in the future. But the public comment period is a step in the right direction, Scribner said, and could lead to better use of TSA funds in the future, should the D.C. court rule that the scanners lack the necessary rationale for their costly implementation.

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And despite the TSA’s eventual compliance with the court’s ruling, Scribner and CEI are “unimpressed” with the agency’s ‘notice of proposed rulemaking,’ according to a press release.

“The TSA’s poorly framed proposed rule does not offer any insight into why, where, or how the TSA is justified in using whole-body imaging scanners in airports,” said Scribner in the press release. “And that lack of transparency violates the court’s order because TSA’s rationale cannot be evaluated properly."