The federal government improperly posted an internal guide to its airport passenger screening procedures on the Internet in a way that could offer insight into how to sidestep security.
The document outlines who is exempt from certain additional screening measures, including members of the U.S. armed forces, governors and lieutenant governors, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and their immediate families.
It offers examples of identification documents that screeners accept, including congressional, federal air marshal and CIA ID cards; and it explains that diplomatic pouches and certain foreign dignitaries with law enforcement escorts are not subjected to any screening at all. It said certain methods of verifying identification documents aren't used on all travelers during peak travel crushes.
The Transportation Security Administration, which oversees airport security, said the document is outdated. It was posted in March by TSA on the Federal Business Opportunity site. The posting was improper because sensitive information was not properly protected, TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee said.
As a result, some websites, using widely available software, were able to uncover the original text of sections that had been blacked out for security reasons. On Sunday, the Wandering Aramean blog pointed out the document in a posting titled "The TSA makes another stupid move."
According to the blog, TSA posted a redacted version of the document but did not delete the sensitive information from the file. Instead of removing the text, the government covered it up with a black box. But the text was still embedded in the document and could be uncovered. (continues here at USA Today)