The NYPD does not have to disclose where it has deployed heavy duty X-Ray vans which scan vehicles and buildings for explosives, drugs and other materials, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.
A lower court had decided that the NYPD could stay mum on how it is currently using the anti-terrorist Z-backscatter vans, but it had to spill the beans on prior use.
The court also said the cops would have to disclose to Pro Publica, an investigative journalism group, how many vans it has and what tests it has done to make sure the radiation it emits is at safe levels.
The Appellate Division in Manhattan said those disclosures are not required under the Freedom of Information Law because police brass made a strong case that disclosure could undermine current anti-terrorism operations.
The so called Z-backscatter technology is banned in European airports because it emits radiation doses that are 40% stronger than those used by regular airport scanners.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said he and his deputies were “very happy” about the decision because the vans are “an essential part of our counter-terrorism capabilities.”
The PD’s top lawyer, Lawrence Byrne, said the vans are used “selectively based on the situations we confront on a day to day basis” but he declined to elaborate.