TSA Reprimands Employees For Airport Screening Manual Breach

The Washington Post

Specifically, several TSA workers were put on administrative leave after an agency contract employee failed to properly redact a 93-page TSA Standard Procedures Manual onto a government Web site. Computer users were later able to uncover information that was hidden behind black boxes by copying and pasting them into other documents, such as an e-mail or a Word file, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday morning. Napolitano added that TSA supervisors were also held accountable for the security breach.

TSA officials contended that the recently published screening manual was not up-to-date, and had been subject to six more revisions after it was initially compiled in May 2008.

Napolitano said that the DHS is conducting an independent investigation, along with an internal TSA Office of Inspection review, examining the details surrounding the breach, according to The Washington Post. Meanwhile, the DHS has stopped posting documents online that contain sensitive or privileged information, until the TSA investigation is complete.

The breach, which made the TSA's most sensitive screening practices public, revealed how TSA employees should conduct airport security practices, including how bags are checked for explosives, who should be screened and how to deal with CIA agents. The document also included images of numerous identification cards that screeners would be required to recognize, including those used by member of Congress, the Federal Air Marshals, the CIA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in an effort to entrap individuals who attempt to illegally replicate them.

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The TSA manual also provided numerous other details, such as to how often to conduct hand searches, the technical limitations of the screening and surveillance equipment and procedures used for various protected foreign officials.

The TSA removed the screening manual from the Web site on Sunday after bloggers reported the security breach.