Oops! TSA Accidentally Posts "Sensitive Security Information" Online

The 93-page manual details screening procedures and includes photos of IDs used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals.

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."

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and World Special Coverage. Follow her on Twitter.
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018