The TSA continues their clean-up operation

Since the discovery and publication of the non-redacted TSA Screening Management SOP this past Sunday the TSA has been working to clean up the mess.  Hardly a surprise and you’d think that they would be used to such situations by now.  They’re moving with amazing speed, actually.  First, they managed to get the document offline in relatively record time on a Sunday afternoon.  Then they were able to actually get a public statement out to inquiring press within about 5 hours – more than an hour per paragraph and the last one shouldn’t really count since it is just the same closing they use every time something comes up.  And then they realized, and mentioned in a post on their blog yesterday afternoon, that the version in the wild was never actually implemented.  Or at least that is what they’d have us believe.

Sure, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that they’re telling the truth on that aspect (and believe me, it is a stretch to go there).  That version was never implemented nor was it ever distributed to the workforce.  Fine.  But it was used to define the job responsibilities of a multi-million dollar annual contract (the deal was signed for just over $11MM) for a company that will be performing screening in seven Montana airports.  So either that version is substantially similar to the actual SOP in play at that time (it is dated May 2008 and was posted online in March 2009, a span of 9 months) or the contractor was asked to bid based on false specifications.  I don’t know which is worse.  Incompetence or fraud.

It is also interesting to note that the time span that the document in question was supposedly not implemented roughly matches the time span from when it was posted online until now.  In the recent span the TSA claims that six new version have been published and distributed to their workforce for implementation.  Yet in the previous nine month window apparently not too much changed.  At least not enough for the TSA to be concerned about the requirements they were asking contractors to bid on. 

I’ve reached out to the TSA for clarification on this issue and I’ll share what I get.  I’m betting on a lot of “no comment” but I’m hoping for a surprise.

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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.