Fallout increases over TSA report leak

December 9, 2009 9:13:37 PM PST
Three federal workers are on leave, some local travelers are worried and a local congresswoman is sounding off. It's all the result of guidelines from the transportation security administration being leaked onto the internet that gives the ins and outs of how security at airports works. The Transportation Security Administration posted the manual on a website that provides information for government contractors with sensitive parts blacked out, but someone was able to restore the information and now sensitive information is on the internet.

The front page of the TSA manual spells it out -- This record contains sensitive security information. It's now easily available to anyone who knows how to use a search engine, something that upsets U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, who co-authored a letter about the matter to the TSA.

"I don't believe any portion of this document needs to be in public domain. The question has to be why was this handled in such an irresponsible manner? Why was this material not protected?" said Jackson-Lee.

The TSA says five people have been suspended and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Wednesday told Congress travelers should not worry.

"The security of the traveling public has never been put at risk. And that document that was posted was an out-of-date document," said Secretary Napolitano.

Some of the sensitive material that was blacked out but not removed from the original upload, are examples of identification for members of Congress, ATF agents, CIA agents and federal air marshals.

Also revealed, passengers with passports from a dozen countries like Cuba, Iran and North Korea will be automatically selected for further screening.

The fact that all this is readily available on the internet is unsettling to some people boarding flights at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"This is going to be so easy for the terrorists to get access to all that," said Luis Ullrich.

Another traveler, Asia Miyamoto, said, "It's just more of a threat, I mean, because somebody could actually just forge some ID or something like that. Decide to terrorize people for the holidays."

Jackson-Lee said there will be another congressional hearing on the matter on December 16, while Secretary Napolitano said a breach like this will not happen again.


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