The Most Transparent Administration Ever Kills Petitions It Doesn’t Like

Dear Leader’s minions have deemed your concerns unworthy of royal consideration. Heres a bit of the background from 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 Privacy Information Center for the court to enforce its order.

…Under the Administrative Procedures Act, agency decisions like the TSA’s move toward body scanners must go through what is often termed a “notice and comment” period if their new rules would substantially affect the rights of the public — in this case, air passengers. The Environmental Protection Agency often undertakes “notice and comment” periods for proposed pollution regulations.

But the court did not penalize the TSA for its shortcomings. The TSA argued to the court that a public comment period would thwart the government’s ability to respond to “ever-evolving threats.”

…Jim Harper, the director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, has started a White House petition to force the TSA to promptly follow the law. By government policy, if the petition gets 25,000 signatures, the President Barack Obama administration is obligated to publicly respond. The petition needs another 9,000 signatures as of publication.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center noted that the petition was unceremoniously removed in the dead of night:

At approximately 11:30 am EDT, the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House “We the People” website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for “maintenance” following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign.

It’s probably not a good idea to go pissing off online privacy activists as they tend to fight back. Expect a new petition, and another, and another…

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