I know that expecting a consistent and coherent implementation of policy from the TSA is a pipe dream. Still, there are a few bits that it would seem it makes sense to keep consistent. Take the pseudo-secret Sensitive Security Information ("SSI") classification of documents, for example. This is a designation that generally requires a document to be kept away from public view as it is considered integral to TSA operations, though not quite secret enough that it really matters. Sortof.
All manner of information that probably shouldn’t be is covered under the SSI designation, allowing the TSA to avoid FOIA requests and to otherwise avoid scrutiny. And I’m sure there are reasonable things covered by the designation, too, such as the Screening Management SOP. Actually I know that one is covered because there was an enormous fiasco a little while back when the poorly redacted version was posted online in public view. Whoopsie.
So it seems to reason that the SSI designation actually has some teeth. Which makes me wonder why it is so poorly observed at the airport. Today’s trip out of LaGuardia was another great example of this lax implementation, with a document clearly marked as SSI sitting out in plain view of the passengers walking through the screening checkpoint. The document was the daily schedule for "unpredictable" random checks that the agents are supposed to do, such as swabbing passenger hands or checking additional bags more thoroughly. I can understand why you might not want folks generally seeing that, though it also shouldn’t really matter. Still, it is marked as such so I would assume that would be enforced. Today’s experience suggests otherwise.
After noticing the document on display I asked to speak with the supervisor on duty, just to point out that the SSI document probably shouldn’t be in public. His response was rather surprising. His claim was, essentially, that the SSI designation on that particular document didn’t really count because the schedule on it changes daily. And because it was on a clipboard it wasn’t really in public view since I wouldn’t have been able to walk away with it.
Neither of those explanations make much sense at all, but that’s apparently how the TSA operates at LaGuardia when Steve is working as the lead TSO.
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