Felonious or just stupid? Time for the TSA to pick one.


I’m not a legal scholar.  I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.  But I am pretty good about spotting what appears to be a felonious act, especially when it jumps off the computer screen and smacks you right in the face.  And after reading through the various non-responses from the TSA regarding this leak one bit seems to stand out more than the others.  The TSA appears to be playing down the breach in part because:

The version of the document that was posted was neither implemented nor issued to the workforce.

That’s the direct quote from the TSA’s blog entry regarding the matter.  The problem with that statement is that the document appears, in fact, to have been issued.  At least once.

In May 2009 the Identity Project posted on their website the results of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that they originally submitted in June 2008, right around the time that the document in question is dated.  The document that was returned in reply to the FOIA reads 100% the same as the document uncovered over the weekend.  It has the same revision number.  And it has the same date.  It is very, very difficult for me to believe that there is any way that document previously released to the ID Project is not the exact same document that was published on the fbo.gov website and then found to have been improperly redacted.

Fullscreen capture 1282009 101758 PM
The FOIA document
Fullscreen capture 1282009 101856 PM
The fbo.gov document

What does that mean?

Either the TSA is lying about the fact that this document was never actually implemented or they issued a false reply to a FOIA request.  They’re stupid or felonious. I wonder which one.

I reached out to the TSA Public Affairs office and even tried to get an answer from their “breaking news” duty officer.  I didn’t get very far in either of those efforts.  But I know that a number of major news organizations are covering the story now and I’ve been feeding bits of information to a few of them.  Hopefully one or more of them will be able to push the TSA harder for a legitimate answer than I can.

(For those concerned about possibly having been exposed to SSI documents but reading here anyways, both bits above are considered public and not really SSI in any way.)

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. enjoy the cavity searches I'm sure the TSA will subject you to in your future travels for publicizing this lapse 🙂

    (that assumes TSA actually does something other than matches your driver's license to the name on your boarding pass… and yes, I'm bitter, having spent 35 minutes waiting to enter the A (CO) gates at LGA Terminal B at 4:45AM this morning — it was a near riot, you should have seen it)

  2. Are they not under oath when they are talking to congress? The document says implemented and the date.

    It appears this went beyond inept and into fellony land. It's also horrible that you can't get your questions answered from a "democratic" government.

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