The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is being sued over the deaths of hundreds of people who died as a result of being forced to use their X-ray machines.
The controversial Advanced Imaging Technology has been used in airports for almost a decade in order to detect whether an airline passenger is carrying a weapon underneath their clothing.
But now there’s a lawsuit raising another claim: The machines are responsible for hundreds of deaths per year.
The lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Rutherford Institute against the Department of Transportation and the TSA.
The suit is being pursued in conjunction with a similar case by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When the TSA began installing the machines in 2007, the government failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirement that it propose and adopt standards. Consequently, formal complaints and challenges to the TSA program were delayed.
Now, the standards finally have been formalized, and they allow the use of “a device … that creates a visual image of an individual showing the surface of the skin.”
“TSA characterized AIT as reducing the need for pat-downs, and stated that privacy concerns regarding body scanners’ production of naked body images had been eliminated through new software that produced only a ‘generic outline’ of a passenger’s body,” the new lawsuit explains.
TSA noted the public opposition and “conceded” that some travelers are limiting airline travel as much as possible because of the screening demands.
“And it noted the argument of some individuals and organizations that, given the greater risks of driving compared to flying, this could raise a safety issue – ‘some estimated as many as 500 additional deaths per year,’” the new complaint says.
However, the TSA dismissed as negligible any such impact.
That creates an issue, the lawsuit contends.
“Comments from both analysts and private individuals squarely presented TSA with this issue. Many commenters pointed out that they had already reduced their air travel in favor of driving, for such reasons as privacy and airport screening hassles. Nonetheless, the agency summarily dismissed this as insignificant.
“But the agency’s own break-even analysis for the alleged life-saving potential of AIT demonstrates, the risks raised by a shift from planes to cars are at least as large, in magnitude, as the projected benefits of AIT. The agency cannot base its decision on one side of the equation while ignoring the other.”
The lawsuit demands that the rule be returned to the agency for further review.
“‘We the people’ have not done the best job of holding our representatives accountable or standing up for our rights,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of “Battlefield America: The War on the American People.”