Washington, D.C., July 19, 2012 – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should be compelled to at last give the public an opportunity to comment on the agency’s use of full-body scanners in airports, a new brief of amici curiae by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) urges. For more than three years, TSA’s use of body-scanners has affected millions of Americans, yet passengers still have had no opportunity to formally voice their concerns to the agency.
The TSA has already been directed by the D.C. Circuit in EPIC v. DHS last July to “promptly” begin a legally required notice-and-comment rulemaking on the use of these scanners. CEI’s brief is in support of a petition for writ of mandamus filed on July 17 in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which aims to compel the TSA to begin the court-ordered rulemaking proceeding within 60 days.
CEI is joined by Robert L. Crandall, former Chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines, the National Association of Airline Passengers, Americans for Tax Reform’s Digital Liberty, Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Rutherford Institute, Center for Individual Freedom, Cyber Privacy Project, Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights, and the Liberty Coalition.
“All we are asking is that the TSA follow the law. They failed to initiate a notice-and-comment rulemaking proceeding as required under the Administrative Procedure Act, and they are now failing to comply with a court order telling them to do just that. The TSA is out of control, and we believe the court will recognize this and grant EPIC’s petition,” said CEI Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner, who will be discussing the filing this afternoon at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Cato Institute.
The brief urges the court to set a timetable for the TSA to open public rulemaking so that the public can bring important concerns and facts to agency’s attention. If the TSA cannot then justify the use of body-scanners to the public, then further court supervision could be required.