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Court: TSA, Not Passengers, Deserves Privacy

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A federal appeals court has rejected claims by passengers and pilots that the TSA invaded their privacy and violated their rights by demanding pat-down inspections or full-body scans.

In fact, the ruling reported today by The Rutherford Institute affirms a district court ruling from Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr., who cited a “secret” order from the TSA as the reason he rejected the cases.

The government, insisting that the “secret” order contains “sensitive security information,” has refused to make public the document outlining the procedures, according to John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute.

Institute attorneys had argued that since the TSA “order” has remained “secret,” there has been no opportunity for the public to comment on it, and “passengers and pilots are not only being deprived of their Fourth Amendment rights, but also their due process right to a fair hearing on their challenge to the secret TSA policy.”

Whitehead said today the ruling is a dark cloud.

This ruling does not bode well for attempts to ensure transparency in government or efforts to safeguard Americans against virtual strip searches and other excessive groping of our bodies by government agents, especially when there’s no suspicion of wrongdoing,” he said.

“When civil liberties are tossed out the window – by government agents or by the courts – we all lose. No American should be forced to undergo a virtual strip search or be subjected to such excessive groping of the body as a matter of course in reporting to work or boarding an airplane when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing,” he said.

He reported it was the D.C. Court of Appeals that rejected an appeal on behalf of airline pilots and passengers who refused to submit to virtual strip searches – or highly invasive pat-down searches.

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