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article imageBlogger finds TSA screening procedures posted online

By Michael Bearak     Dec 9, 2009 in Politics
An Internet blog site found outdated, yet confidential information about the Transportation Safety Administration's (TSA) screening practices posted online.
In another questionable lapse of security Fox News is reporting that an older version of Transportation Security Administration’s “Operating Procedures” was posted online.
The TSA says it was an accident, and although the document is outdated it was never intended for release.
The document has examples of identification documents which screeners can accept for congressional, federal air marshals, and the CIA. The document is marked as “sensitive security information” with detailed instructions on how it should be securely stored.
A blog called the Wandering Aramean found the document and posted a blog titled “The TSA makes another stupid move.” Included in that find was redacted information that, instead of being actually removed from the site, was simply covered up with a black box so the embedded text could still be uncovered.
The document was originally posted on the Federal Business Opportunity site. After the blog reported it, the TSA asked to have it removed. TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the posting of such sensitive information was improper, but that “TSA is confident that screening procedures currently in place remain strong.”
The document also contained information about screening protocols, pointing out that aircraft flight crew members in uniform with a valid ID are not subject to certain restrictions placed on the general public. It also discussed how to properly screen people in a wheelchair, disabled or with prosthetic devices.
Kip Hawley, a former TSA Administrator, told Fox News “Hyperventilating that this is a breach of security that’s going to endanger the public is flat wrong.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss. was far more concerned.
“Undoubtedly, this raises potential security concerns across our transportation system,” in a letter signed by himself and chairwoman of the panel’s transportation subcommittee, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas.
Senator Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who is Thompson’s Senate counterpart, said the incident was, “an embarrassing mistake that calls into question the judgment of agency managers. That it was incompetently redacted only compounds the error.”
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