They can see you naked – but you can’t see their rules:
Want to see the federal government’s regulation authorizing airport security personnel to pat you down before boarding a plane? You can’t. It’s a secret rule. Would you like to read the government regulation that says all passengers must present identification before being allowed on an aircraft, or what sort of identification meets the government requirement? Sorry, you’re out of luck. That’s a secret law, too. They’re just two of several secret regulations issued after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The intelligence bill that Congress sent to President Bush this week establishes a new “privacy council” that’s responsible for reviewing government activities and ensuring that privacy rights of Americans are protected.
The secret rules are an outgrowth of a 1974 law that allowed the Federal Aviation Administration to withhold from public disclosure any information “detrimental to the safety of persons traveling in air transportation.” After 9/11, Congress transferred airport security to the newly created TSA in the Department of Homeland Security and broadened the FAA rule to cover anything that might be “detrimental to the security of transportation.” The government is now declaring all forms of interstate transportation – including airplanes, buses, trains and boats – covered by the cloak of “sensitive security information” and moving to keep information from public scrutiny, said Todd Tatelman, an attorney with the Congressional Research Service. Even the wording of regulations authorizing government employees to carry out the procedures is kept secret. TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser said the regulations aren’t available for public reading because that might provide terrorists with information on airport operations.