Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TSA giving away the kitchen sink

This is another example of how bloated the federal bureaucracy is. The TSA had a major security breach yesterday in revealing it's steps for security measures in airports -- including what they don't search. (If you're nervous about flying, like I am, you may never want to fly again.)

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.

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.

"This is an appalling and astounding breach of security that terrorists could easily exploit," said Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. "The TSA should immediately convene an internal investigation and discipline those responsible."

"This shocking breach undercuts the public's confidence in the security procedures at our airports," said Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., ranking Republican member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "On the day before the Senate Homeland Security Committee's hearing on terrorist travel, it is alarming to learn that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted its own security manual on the Internet."

"This manual provides a road map to those who would do us harm," said Collins. "The detailed information could help terrorists evade airport security measures." Collins said she intended to ask the Department of Homeland Security how the breach happened, and "how it will remedy the damage that has already been done." ...

The document contains a list of items for which screening is not required including wheelchairs, footwear of disabled individuals, casts and orthopedic shoes.

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.

Now the TSA claims this is an outdated document, and that they've changed their methods from what is enumerated. But we know how the government works, and the chances that they changed anything of significance is slim and none. Could they have changed some of their methods? Sure. With regard to disabled individuals or those with casts or prosthetics? We're too bloody PC to do that. (No, we shouldn't be searching granny, but the shifty guy in the wheelchair that looks a tad too nervous? You bet.)

The incompetence in this fiasco comes two-fold: Not only could the TSA keep this breach from happening, but they can't seem to redact the bloody thing properly. Back in 2006 our military did a document dump on Saddam's regime in Iraq; millions of pages of documents detailing everything from his WMD program to his ties to terrorist cells throughout the region. Within a couple months of that document dump, reporters at the NY Times discovered schematics in those documents for a nuclear weapon, and the documents were immediately sealed from public scrutiny. (Before that, bloggers poured over the documents digging up nuggets to shut the antiwar crowd up.) Then a lot of people gave the Times credit for keeping a secret (as opposed to blowing secrets like they did with the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program). Now we have another secret revealed that could do serious harm to the nation, only this time it wasn't a leak directly from a news organization.

It's from the TSA itself.

The entire Obama administration is a walking cluster-f*ck of incompetence, and this is just another point of reinforcement in that thought. Barry doesn't know the first thing about running a nation (or a business, for that matter), and he's shown it over 11 months. The political correctness evident in the military is getting our soldiers killed abroad and at home. They can't figure out how to stimulate the economy or create jobs to get us out of this recession that has REAL unemployment numbers topping 17%. One could overlook those things, but when it comes to national security the incompetence is inexcusable.

The TSA needs to fire whoever screwed this up, and reexamine their methods for security at airports. Above all, they need to keep their methods under wraps. When our enemy knows our security measures then they know how to hurt us. They're still focused on how to really hit us hard -- harder than 11 September. If the air transportation industry is used again to attack this nation, the screaming for heads won't be quelled by some flowery, fluffy rhetoric from the man-child president.

Publius II


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