oversight hearing on the Transportation Security Administration on
November 17, 2010. John S. Pistole, the TSA Administrator, testified.
Senators asked Pistole tough questions about the privacy and health
implications of airport body scanners. Senators also asked about the
invasiveness of pat-downs and the problems that the machines pose for
religious objectors. Pistole failed to provide proof of independent
studies regarding radiation risks and consistently downplayed privacy
and religious concerns.
EPIC has filed a lawsuit to suspend the body scanner program, calling it
“unlawful, invasive, and ineffective.” EPIC argues that the machines
violate the federal Privacy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the
Fourth Amendment, the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, and the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act.
Opposition to the program is growing: The American Pilots Association,
Airline CEOs, flyers rights organizations, religious groups, and others
are calling for an end to invasive searches at airports. Libertarian
Party Chair Mark Hinkle stated, “[t]he fact that I want to travel on an
airplane does not make me a threat, and it does not allow anyone to
conduct a warrantless search under my clothing.” The Libertarian Party
exhorted its constituents to call their members of Congress and “tell
them that they don’t want this expensive, worthless, intrusive,
Kate Hanni, Executive Director of Flyersrights.org, called for “a robust
debate by aviation security experts and a full presentation to an
expanded Aviation Security Advisory Committee with opportunity for
critics to be heard before these new procedures are implemented.” The
new security measures, Hanni stated, “should require an extreme
In a letter to his members, Captain Mike Cleary, President of the
American Pilots Association, urged pilots not to submit to body scanner
screening because “frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may
subject pilots to significant health risks.” Additionally, the
body-scanner machines and enhanced pat downs are “intrusive and have
been implemented almost overnight” leaving no time for public comment
and are effectively a form of “sexual-molestation” that adversely
affects pilots who are moments away from being in the flight deck.
Captain Cleary finds that the TSA is acting with “unchecked” authority.
A National Opt-Out Day is scheduled for November 24.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Senate Oversight Hearing on TSA
Senate Oversight Hearing on TSA: John S. Pistole Testimony
Press Release: “Libertarians Oppose Abusive TSA Strip-search Machines”
American Pilots Association, Letter to Pilots
The Fiqh Council of North America,
Council on American-Islamic Relations,
National Opt-Out Day
EPIC: Whole Body Imaging
EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)