People often think that a nation of laws is immune to the tyranny of men. Tyrants want you to think that. If you were a tyrant trying to give orders to everyone, that would be too exhausting to be any fun. What you would want was a self-governing society that ran itself except in the cases where you wanted to interfere. So you would, if you could, set up a society where the rule of law normally was honored, except when you decided to break the law.
There might be an added benefit to such a society. If you could convince people that they were, really, ruled by equitable laws rather than the arbitrary and self serving orders of tyrants, you would avoid the unhappiness and resentment that most tyrants provoke in their people. Plus, the economy would be more prosperous, giving you more money to play with.
So all you have to do is simply make sure some organizations are exempt from the rules. Like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Back in the summer of 2011, our nation suffered the tragedy of having the courts throw out the constitutional challenge brought against the TSA by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. This was a victory for the TSA, you would think.
But not enough of a victory to satisfy whoever is making decisions for the TSA, it seems. The court, as Wired reports, “also ordered the TSA ‘to act promptly’ and hold public hearings and publicly adopt rules and regulations about the scanners’ use, which it has not done, in violation of federal law.”
That order was made on July 15, 2011. We have now reached the Fall of 2013 and the TSA have not obeyed that directive or obeyed the pertinent federal laws. What has the Court done in response? They have punished the TSA with more extensions of time to comply. Tuesday, the TSA was given until March 2013. I wouldn’t hold my breath. When it comes to the TSA, judges are like the unarmed cop who says “Stop! Or I’ll say ‘stop!’ again.”
The TSA, being an unaccountable bureaucracy, is able to shift blame to other unaccountable bureaucracies.
The Transportation Security Administration has denied allegations from the Electronic Privacy Information Center that it was stonewalling the court’s order. (.pdf) The TSA said the agency was having staffing issues and was awaiting approval from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget before it releases public documents associated with its 2009 decision to make the body scanners the “primary” security apparatus at the nation’s airports.
The maddening fact is that a court only one step below the Supreme Court has ruled that the TSA has broken Federal law by implementing the scanners in the way they did, but has done nothing about it beside this toothless “order” (which is now effectively nothing more than a request or suggestion) to hold public hearings.
The public is being raped by an unaccountable bureaucracy. We are not safer because of it and we are paying billions for the privilege.