Airport body scanners, long the object of both public opposition and legal scrutiny, are headed back to court. Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sued the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over its airport body scanner rule, which was published after lengthy delays on March 3, 2016.
Joining CEI as petitioners are the Rutherford Institute and individual air travelers and CEI staffers Iain Murray and Marc Scribner.
CEI Fellow and co-petitioner Marc Scribner said,
“While the TSA is promoting body scanners as a security measure, the odds are that this rule actually puts the traveling public at greater risk, not less. For years, the TSA violated federal law and a court order by deploying body scanners in airports without a required regulation. When they finally produced the court-ordered rule in March, they failed to account for the invasiveness and delays associated with the TSA’s scanners that prompt some air travelers to take to their cars instead, which is a riskier mode of travel than flying. This failure is yet another violation of federal law and we seek to hold this rogue agency accountable.”
CEI is arguing that the TSA arbitrarily downplayed the intrusiveness of its scanners, which are replacing walk-through metal detectors at many airports. As a result, the agency ignored the fact that the scanners will cause many would-be air travelers to drive instead. But because car travel is much riskier than air travel, the net result could be an increase in overall travel fatalities.
Last July, CEI and the Rutherford Institute sued the TSA for failing to issue a final body scanner rule after over two years had passed since the TSA came out with its proposal in 2013. The TSA released the proposal itself only after a 2011 court in EPIC v. DHS ordered the agency to “promptly” produce a final rule.
CEI filed its petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Briefing in the case is likely to start within several months.