A massive security breach at TSA


I spent most of the day reporting on the Obama administration’s new open government policy. Then I noticed this story from ABC News:

In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.

Perhaps not the kind of “open government” the White House has in mind. In all seriousness, though: The most sensitive parts of the document include details on how many bags are searched for explosives, which nationalities are subject to extra scrutiny, and other details of airport security that really should remain secret.

The agency posted a response on its own blog, saying that it plans to “conduct a full review” of the breach.

The version of the document that was posted was neither implemented nor issued to the workforce. In fact, there have been six newer versions of the document since this version was drafted. Standard Operating Procedures change regularly as intelligence provides information on new threats and we find better ways improve security.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, coincidentally, is holding a hearing tomorrow called “Stopping Terrorist Travel.” You can be sure the TSA breach will become a big part of that hearing.


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  1. Big suprise, problem been known for years. Maybe someone in the Govt should invest in simple, inexpensive SW to prevent this with clear policy enforcement

  2. I didn’t get through all of their top secret document. If you did, was there a section on how TSA personnel are to pull terminally ill cancer patients out of their wheelchairs and drop them on the floor of the airport? And how not to apologize? That’s what they did in Hawaii to a friend of mine, on her way to the hospital for the last time. I just want to be certain the TSA personnel were “just following orders” to the absolute letter of their prescribed duties and really, really protecting national security in so doing. Otherwise, I’m afraid they showed themselves to be inept, cruel, and callous bunglers.

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