Oops! TSA Accidentally Posts "Sensitive Security Information" Online

Remember this summer, when the U.S. government "accidentally" released a "highly confidential" 266-page document mapping out the country's nuclear sites? "These screw-ups happen," was the response of one official and, indeed, he was right.


The Washington Post reports that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed it "inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation." A document apparently labeled "sensitive security information."

The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

Those countries will come as no surprise -- they are "Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen and Algeria" -- but the accidental posting of such sensitive materials online seems like a pretty epic blunder, even by government standards. "It increases the risk that terrorists will find a way through the defenses," former Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary Stuart Baker told the Post. "The problem is there are so many different holes that while [the TSA] can fix any one of them by changing procedures and making adjustments in the process ... they can't change everything about the way they operate."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close