The Transportation Security Administration confirmed Dec. 9 that five employees “have been placed on administrative leave” while an investigation into the posting of a security operations manual continues.
More than 90 pages long, the document contained information on airport passenger screening procedures used by the TSA. A TSA news release said the material was out of date, and “was improperly posted by the agency to the Federal Business Opportunities Website wherein redacted information was not properly protected.”
The TSA release continued, “Once we were made aware, it was immediately taken down from the Website and a full review by TSA’s Office of Inspection was initiated.
“This version of the document was not the everyday screening manual used by Transportation Security Officers at airport checkpoints. As TSA is constantly adapting to address evolving threats, there have been six newer versions of the procedures since the version posted was approved.”
The incident came to light Dec. 6 when a blogger blew the whistle, drawing attention to the posted document. The exposed material included procedures for handling CIA-escorted passengers and details about screening equipment such as metal detectors.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee Dec. 9 that those involved included a private contractor and TSA supervisors. The TSA is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
With controversy surrounding the document’s posting, the TSA maintained that its “analysis has determined that [its] systems are secure and that screening protocols have not been compromised. TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong and the many layers of security keep the traveling public safe.”
The statement concluded, “TSA takes full responsibility for this improper posting and all individuals who may have been involved have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the review.”