August 14 2012
Vicki E. Alger
We the People is “a new tool on WhiteHouse.gov that allows all Americans to ask the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country.” Unless you consider the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) an important issue, apparently.
On August 1, Wired reported on the TSA’s failure to comply with a year-old order from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold public hearings and adopt procedures concerning the use of nude body scanners. Wired continued:
Jim Harper, the director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, has started a White House petition to force the TSA to promptly follow the law. By government policy, if the petition gets 25,000 signatures, the President Barack Obama administration is obligated to publicly respond. The petition needs another 9,000 signatures as of publication.
The following week the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reported:
At approximately 11:30 am EDT [on Thursday, August 9], the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House "We the People" website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for "maintenance" following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) in the wee hours of August 2, just one week before Harper’s petition was taken down from the president’s website, the TSA and the American Federation of Government Employees concluded negotiations for what the Washington Post reported was “the first-ever labor contract for 45,000 transportation security officers (TSOs).”
So much for “the most transparent administration in history.”