Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Keystone Cops Moment: TSA accidentally publishes its security procedures online

Just in time for holiday travel, this bit of chilling news from ABC News
In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (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.
The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operating Procedures manual were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame.
The document shows sample CIA,Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate. 
Here are some of the things published that terrorist now have available to them: 
The improperly redacted areas indicate that only 20 percent of checked bags are to be hand searched for explosives and reveal in detail the limitations of x-ray screening machines.
The redacted portions also indicate which law enforcement personnel are specially screened or exempt from some screening procedures, and indicate what requirements they must meet to be eligible for special screening.
TSA screeners are also told to require extra screening for any passenger whose passport was issued by Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq,Yemen or Algeria.
The document also reveals that during peak travel times, TSA screeners who check identification can reduce from 100 percent to 25 percent the times they use black lights to authenticate documents. 
With this manual, terrorists can now figure out how to work around the Point Objects Police. I was never a big fan of TSA and consider it one of Bush's failures. Ever since their inception, I have read all kinds of foolishness and security breaches. I always thought it would have been better to have had private security firms handle the job. For starters, different firms could use different procedures, thus making it a complete guessing game for terrorists to figure out which airport uses which procedure. Had something like this happened under a private set up, then the breach would only effect a number of airports and that firm could easily be replaced and new procedures brought in. But with the monolith of the TSA all airports are compromised.

The TSA says that the manual posted on the net was outdated and that the current procedures in place remain strong. Sorry, but that doesn’t buy a whole lot of confidence with me.  Amtrak anyone?

Via: ABC News


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

It is often said by exasperated individuals that a monkey could do a better job.
I would hire Curious George. He's cuddly AND wouldn't slip up like this.

Clifton B said...


I have little faith in TSA. How many of these bungling stories have we read about since the TSA's inception? Way too many for my taste.

Bruce said...

TSA = Square Badges Run Amok.

It's time for this ridiculous experiment to end, and these high school dropouts to be sent to the nearest burger joint - where they are better equipped to perform.

Another epic failure by the Dems, who stated the way to professionalise these misfits is to put them under federal control.

Clifton B said...

TSA = Square Badges Run Amok.
Great name for them. You are right, I remember when the TSA was started, it was started because the Dems wanted to create more union jobs. That is where Bush failed to put his foot down and say no!

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