New Petition + TSA Removes 91 Body Scanners

It’s been a crazy 2 years. I never really imagined myself as a civil rights advocate, but on November 16th, 2010, I found myself sitting in a South Beach bar unable to enjoy my evening because I was so disturbed by what had just occurred in our airports. I sat there thinking long and hard about how unbelievable it was that our government was now asking to photograph us naked if we wanted to enter an airport, and I eventually came to this poetic conclusion: “Fuck this shit!” I left my mostly-full drink on the bar and returned to my office at about 2 AM, and didn’t stop writing until the sun was brightly shining through my window. I made the 7 mile trek to the courthouse with my new documents on rollerblades across the Venetian Causeway, which is beautiful on a sunny day, in about 25 minutes. The friendly U.S. Marshalls for sure still know me as “the guy with the rollerblades.”

I’ve since had some crazy experiences (Getting kicked out of airports? Presenting my work to Congress? Seeing my name on Drudge Report?) and met some amazing people, who have encouraged and supported me to this 2 year anniversary. Our fight moves slowly, but I’m ready to keep going, thanks to you all!

Today, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, along with the Department of Homeland Security, will be opening packages with a brand new petition asking for judicial review of the TSA’s nude body scanner and genital inspection programs. This petition is the first to be filed in a Court of Appeals that squarely addresses the constitutionality of the body scanners, and will seek an immediate stay of the order. I’m excited that the merits of my case may finally be addressed! Documents are linked below.

Also, great news: the TSA has removed 91 scanners from active use, put into a notorous graveyard for expensive taxpayer-funded gadgets that the TSA refers to as a “storage room” in Texas. This storage room is the same place where the “puffer machines” of 2006 rotted until they were thrown out. My prediction is that these machines will never scan another person. It’s a great step forward!

Corbett v. DHS – Petition (.pdf)
Corbett v. DHS – Motion to Transfer (.pdf)
Corbett v. DHS – Motion to Stay (.pdf)

39 thoughts on “New Petition + TSA Removes 91 Body Scanners

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  1. It’s fantastic to hear about your case going forward. And I’m delighted to hear the news of the retired scanners. Maybe this problem will be resolved in my lifetime and I’ll be able to fly again. Thanks for speaking out for us.

  2. I will repeat that our hope lies in a Supreme Court appeal based on 5th amendment theory, as well as a claim of contracts of adhesion with the airlines. I’ve spent a long time developing this, but I am not concerned since I don’t fly.

    I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but anything less is is wild goose-chase.

  3. I’m confused.

    First the article states (Sanders quote regarding NOT going thru machines):

    Sanders said it’s worked and that lines at those airports are now moving 180,000 more passengers each day.

    Then it states:

    But moving through a scanner with stick-figure images takes 12 seconds, compared with 80 seconds for a pat-down, Sanders says.

    How is it possible to move more passengers by NOT going thru the machines when it takes MORE time by NOT going thru the machines or are they NOT doing pat-downs, which is MORE invasive.

  4. I’ve been behind you all the way from the beginning, Jonathan, wish you the best of luck going forward in standing up against this breach of our constitutional rights that so many others just sit down and take. Your work has had a very large impact in getting the TSA to stand down with these things, even former TSA employees say that your video had a huge impact on their operations, although the TSA will never admit it: Keep up the good fight, and I’ll continue to support you in any way possible 🙂

  5. so were these 91 scanners replaced with MWW? Andif so, are we still not being scanned in breach of the 4th & 5th Amendment? Putting our health at risk? and since the MWW have a higher false positive rate, we are still subject to the invasive pat-downs?

  6. Man gets past airport security unknowingly:

    TAMPA, FL. – A boarding pass ends up in the wrong hands. And yet the man holding it, ends up through airport security and onto a plane during the busiest travel week of the year.

    At least that’s what Charles Bailey thought when he was boarding a flight at Tampa International Airport.

    The frequent flyer checked in his bags and picked up his boarding pass before heading to security. “When I handed it to the woman,” said Bailey, “she handed it back. Then I get on the tram, and proceed to the last security checkpoint.”

    No problem there. And no problem either at the TSA screening area. “He checked it, initialed it. Gave the driver’s license and boarding pass back to me,” said Bailey. “I go to that line and I go through security to get to the gate as per normal.”

    Just as he was about to board his plane at the gate, he noticed something was wrong. A woman’s name was on his boarding pass. “When I realized it I was startled,” said Bailey.

    He unknowingly breezed through security with another passenger’s boarding pass without ever being detected. “I know what my fight number and gate is,” said Bailey. “I’m generally efficient to where I don’t look at it routinely from getting to point A to point B.”

    Airport “Security” Is Making Americans Less Safe:

    LAX Airport Workers’ Sexparts Go Ungroped:

    Journalists Educate Public About The TSA At Reagan Airport Avoid Arrest:

  7. TSA Blasted for Exposing Breasts of Congressman’s Teen Grandniece.

    The Transportation Security Administration is under heavy fire after publicly exposing the breasts of a teenage girl during its controversial “screening” procedures. Of course, passengers routinely complain of TSA abuse and molestation — some 17,000 formal complaints have been lodged against the widely ridiculed and despised unconstitutional Homeland Security agency just since 2009, documents show.

    The latest scandal, however, has turned into an international firestorm for the embattled bureaucracy, largely because the then-17-year-old victim was the grandniece of Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas). More than a few analysts noted that countless regular Americans suffer similar abuse and humiliation every single day; virtually nothing is ever done.

    Now, though, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are crying foul while demanding investigations. Rights activists from across the political spectrum, meanwhile, have jumped on the opportunity to rein in the federal abuses once and for all.

    According to official documents obtained by reporter Scott MacFarlane with an Atlanta TV news station, the girl was traveling to Australia on a trip with her classmates at Southwest Christian School in Texas. An internal investigation by TSA noted that after being selected for “secondary screening” and a so-called “pat-down,” which critics regularly equate with sexual molestation and assault, the screener “removed minor passenger from the corral.” Yes, the report uses the word corral, defined as an enclosure or pen for domesticated animals.

    The girl was not offered a “private screening,” the report noted, though passengers often prefer to be screened publicly anyway to ensure that there are witnesses to the controversial procedure in case of extraordinarily inappropriate fondling or other incidents. As the teen was enduring a “pat-down of the stomach area,” the top of her dress came loose and slipped down to her stomach, according to the internal investigation at least, revealing her breasts to everyone in the vicinity. Analysts suggested the dress had actually been pulled down, a far more plausible scenario.

    Surveillance cameras caught the humiliating event on film, but TSA claimed the footage was not good enough to determine whether its screener had “properly conducted” what commentators said sounded a lot like “sexual assault.” The girl’s chaperones, according to the report, became “visibly upset” about the event and notified her parents. On the following day, her father filed a formal complaint.

    The incident happened at the international airport in Los Angeles (LAX) some two years ago. However, it came to light only in recent days after journalist MacFarlane obtained the internal TSA report about the investigation using the Freedom of Information Act. When the findings were publicized, outrage quickly ensued.’s-teen-grandniece

  8. You know that most of those old body scanners that show actual images of passengers are being phased out, right? Most airports are using those new ones that don’t have the “nude” images and don’t use X-rays (whose genius idea was THAT?). In any case, good luck on the hearing w/ the Supreme Court. Its gotta be pretty exciting to be a part of history like that.

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