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Wednesday, December 09, 2009
SOP

I published a blog post yesterday on the outdated, unclassified version of a Standard Operating Procedures document that was posted by the agency. It was improperly posted to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site wherein redacted information was not properly protected.‪‪ Once we were made aware of the situation, it was immediately taken down from the Web site and a full review by TSA’s Office of Inspection was initiated.

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.

This document was not the everyday screening manual used by Transportation Security Officers at airport checkpoints. Thorough analysis has determined the flying public and aviation community are safe and our systems are secure. TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Trollkiller on

So does this mean this was not a draft copy?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong."

How can this be if sensitive security information was disclosed? If procedures remain strong, then doesn't that mean that the sensitive security information actually wasn't at all to begin with? Can you please deconflict this?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TK, there go the bonuses they had planned to give to their senior management.

Submitted by Sandra on

Please, Bob, stop with the nonsense already.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is incompetence mandatory at TSA?

Submitted by Anonymous on
Thorough analysis has determined the flying public and aviation community are safe and our systems are secure. TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong.

**********************
Please explain to us why we should trust anything coming from DHS/TSA? You've pretty much lost all credibility.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"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."
------------------------
Now wait just one second. Haven't you been telling us that privacy laws absolutely, unquestionably prevent you from revealing whether disciplinary action has been taken and, if so, what type of action. Did the rules just change or am I missing something?

Submitted by Anonymous on

really it doesnt matter what type of information was there - it was sensitive and shouldnt have been made public. things like this is why we had 9/11

Submitted by Kurtis Rainbolt... on

Awesome. That just means you guys pretended to be open and transparent when in reality you were being "open" with crap that isn't even used.

Submitted by Bruce on

There was a time this blog was pretty decent. It’s a shame you turned out to be nothing more than a choir boy for the TSA spin doctors.

The last time I heard such outrageous spin from someone in the govt, it was a certain discredited President who called the Watergate break-in a “third rate burglary.” No matter how much you try to convince people that this is an ‘ancient’ proc manual that was never put in place, it won’t wash.

Fact is, the release of the manual gave away the farm. OK, maybe some of it is perhaps not in use today but the bulk of it? Oh yeah, this detailed everything right down to photos of IDs. Great, now all those who have govt IDs need to have new cards designed and issued. Who’s gonna pay for this? Uh, taxpayers of course, to the tune of millions of dollars.

Hmm, some idiots released a document to the public that detailed many of your procedures. Their punishment? Give them some paid ‘administrative leave’ compliments of the US taxpayer.

Nice. They sell out the nation, no matter how unintentional, and they are punished with a paid vacation. Brilliance on the part of TSA.

Go on, Bob, keep spinning and don’t forget the old adage: You can always fool some of the people some of the time. That is something the discredited President lived for. I would love to be a fly on the wall when the Congressional hearings begin.

Submitted by Anonymous on
really it doesnt matter what type of information was there - it was sensitive and shouldnt have been made public. things like this is why we had 9/11

***************

No it didn't.
Submitted by Anonymous on

As a TSO, I am appalled that this information could make its way on to the internet. Regardless of the face that it "was not the every day procedures carried out by our Transportation Security Officers", it is still SOP and therefore it is SSI! "Outdated" just doesn't work for me, I'm sorry Bob, someone at HQ screwed up, and the sooner TSA admits this, the better off our agency will be. What does "pending outcome of the review" mean Bob? Will these individuals be removed from Federal service, as would anyone on the lower chain if it happened at the airport level? What is the disciplinary plans for the persons responsible for this mess?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous @ December 10, 2009 9:48 AM said...

Now wait just one second. Haven't you been telling us that privacy laws absolutely, unquestionably prevent you from revealing whether disciplinary action has been taken and, if so, what type of action. Did the rules just change or am I missing something?

----

I didn't even think of that... but that's a great point. So what's the deal, Bob? Why are you able to tell us about administrative actions taken in this case but not in others?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
really it doesnt matter what type of information was there - it was sensitive and shouldnt have been made public. things like this is why we had 9/11

December 10, 2009 9:51 AM
..................

So who are you blamming?

It was DHS/TSA that placed the document on the web in the first place. It had been out there exposed for 9 months.

The bad guys could be expected to keep quiet about the document while others notified TSA shortly after the discovery.

Submitted by RB on

Perhaps I just missed it but am curious why the TSA Acting Administrator has not made a public statement about this event.

Is she still on the job?

Submitted by Dan Kozisek on

When will the screener's SOP be released? Why are you afraid of the public knowing the EXACT laws, rules, and regulations that YOU require them to comply with?

Submitted by Rosemary Blair on

Everyone does make a mistake.
In Fact we learn from the mistakes.
It was corrected so I don't see a problem.
thank You for the Notification.

Submitted by Phil on
[part 1 of 8: My comments have not been approved recently. I've previously posted this comment, and am re-posting it after converting to Markdown. Each link is enclosed in brackets, followed by a number in brackets. Normally, URIs for each of these would be included at the end of the document. Instead, I'll follow this post with one for each link. Thus, TSA's moderator(s) can deny my post in part as deemed appropriate.]

The Identity Project have posted an [analysis of what they think is significant about the Screening Management SOP][1] (including a comparison with the redacted excerpts they previously obtained via FOIA requests), an update on their pending FOIA appeal for the current Screening Management SOP, and their other pending FOIA requests for other screening SOPs and related documents. Of particular relevance to this post is this from IDP:

"The TSA is [claiming][2] that “The version of the document that was posted was neither implemented nor issued to the workforce. In fact, there have been six newer versions of the document since this version was drafted.” But a [side][3] by [side][4] comparison of the comparable portion of this version with the excerpt provided to us in response to our previous FOIA request shows that while the pagination differs slightly, the version number, date, and text are identical. And the version on fbo.gov was part of a legally-mandated process for ensuring a fair and open competition among potential bidders for TSA contracts. We didn’t ask for any specific version, and the TSA disclosed this one to us in January, 2009 and posted it in May 2009. Why did the TSA post this version, or provide it to us, if if had never been implemented and had already been revised? Were they trying to mislead potential bidders, mislead us, mislead the public, or all of the above? And were the TSA FOIA staff who sent us this version aware of the attempt at deception in which they were playing a part? Or was this version actually implmented, at least at one time, and the TSA is lying in its latest press releases about what happened? We hope to find out more as soon as the TSA provides us with the current version, including all updates, in response to our latest pending FOIA [appeal][5] of their failure to act on our request."

--
Phil [Arrested][6] at ABQ airport TSA checkpoint November 2009
No comment at this time. Fight back: donate to my [legal defense fund][7]
Submitted by RB on

Since this thread is about SOP.

I'm still looking for any official update of TSA web pages (the only information available to travelers) stating that taking ice through a checkpoint is permitted.

I agree that ice is apparently permitted for those with special needs but nothing is stated for others.

Since you guys have extra time on your hands how about an update.

Oh, is the Britney video ready yet?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Everyday it seems like their is an SOP issue. All the airports I fly out of, DO NOT follow the same guidelines. What is management doing??? Also, I would like to know how complaints are resolved?

Submitted by RB on

Phil said...
[part 1 of 8: My comments have not been approved recently.
..............

Phil, why not place your entire post elsewhere with a link to it here.

TK may be willing to give you space for it.

Certainly you don't think Free Speech issues will be supported by
TSA defenders of the Constitution do you?

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Anonymous said...
"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."
------------------------
Now wait just one second. Haven't you been telling us that privacy laws absolutely, unquestionably prevent you from revealing whether disciplinary action has been taken and, if so, what type of action. Did the rules just change or am I missing something?

December 10, 2009 9:48 AM
-------------------

Actually all he has told you is that someone is suspect but they are still investigating, but until said invesitgation is over said suspects are on vacation (if anyone considers something sort of like school suspension vacation).

Submitted by Anonymous on

"TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong."

Bob, for something to "remain" strong it must be strong to begin with. TSA's farcical security theater is nothing of the sort. Until you stop wasting everyone's time with your shoe and liquid and ID fetishes, you will remain a sick joke and justly hated by Americans.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It amazes me that people are so quick to cast stones, as long as they aren't the one who makes a mistake (and that is all this was). People want to be protected but don't want to make any sacrifices to acheive that goal. "Oh please screen the middle eastern man wearing a turbon, but don't screen the "good ole boy" or the buisnessman, or the elderly, because there is no way that a terrorist would think to dress like a normal everyday person!". Am i to believe that no one on this blog has ever meade a mistake at work? This must be the "Perfect Employee" blog! Well God forbid that you should ever make a mistake and thousands of self righteous bloggers burn you at the stake! The people who made this mistake are human just like all of you, they have kids and families and bills, and responsibilities! More than likely they are going to lose their jobs and never work for the government again. Isn't that enough for everyone or do we need to throw the final stake in their hearts with our cowardly, behind closed doors "tough guy" blogging? Personally, i think people need to get over themselves and see this for what it was...a mistake!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Too bad Bob. TSA after 9/11, managed to squander the good public relations it had with travelers by not responding to valid complaints. Instead of using the complaints as a learning tool TSA ignored the frequent fliers and managed to create a very hostile us vs them attitude. Should some things be kept under wraps? Sure, but you let the public know what is expected from them in return. TSA, IMHO, hasn't done that.

You (TSA) roll out poorly planned processes and expect those processes to flawlessly work and then blame the passengers for process failure. Sorry, but the real world doesn't work that way.

Your agency had a chance to do things right but blew it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TK etal, you notice that you're not getting any response from Bob on your questions? This should stand as evidence to how TSA regards the citizens of the USA.

TSA holds us in contempt and view us as the cause of all of their problems.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Seriously?

You post the playbook on the Web for 9 months and it's no problem?

The system and passengers are safe? What extensive analysis do you base that on? Anything you can share or is that sensitive information?

Are you working with intelligence agencies to see who viewed and downloaded your playbook during the past 9 months? Who says caves in Afghanistan aren't full of these playbooks right now?

Are the procedures that haven't changed in the past six versions being changed as a result of this incomprehensible leak? Can you address law enforcement, congress, CIA personnell screening changes now that their IDs are publicly available?

Where does the buck stop at TSA? We shall soon see.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...
Anonymous said...
"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."
------------------------
Now wait just one second. Haven't you been telling us that privacy laws absolutely, unquestionably prevent you from revealing whether disciplinary action has been taken and, if so, what type of action. Did the rules just change or am I missing something?

December 10, 2009 9:48 AM
-------------------

Actually all he has told you is that someone is suspect but they are still investigating, but until said invesitgation is over said suspects are on vacation (if anyone considers something sort of like school suspension vacation).

December 10, 2009 4:25 PM
***********************************
That is exactly what he has said. Accept its not like school suspension since they are still getting paid!
***********************************
Rosemary Blair said...
Everyone does make a mistake.
In Fact we learn from the mistakes.
It was corrected so I don't see a problem.
thank You for the Notification.

December 10, 2009 11:55 AM
***********************************
Rosemary, corrected or not, the damage is already done. Since some of the screening SOP was incorporated into the management SOP, the damage is real, and there is no correction for something like this. The mistake in this case was a critical one, and the person(s) responsible should be fired. If a TSO released SSI information, that TSO would be dealth with swiftly, meaning, REMOVED.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob:
What does the SOP manual say about what articles must be removed before going through the metal detector? Could you answer yes or no to these:
a) a windbreaker
b) a thick, wool sweater
c) a lightweight, half-zip fleece
d) a hooded sweatshirt.

Additionally, despite what the manual says, what will TSA agents in the field say?

Submitted by Anonymous on

As i see it, to use a oft repeated phrase, "If you have nothing to hide, then there is nothing to worry about." That holds true for EVERYONE.

Submitted by Zac on

I agree, lost ALL credibility.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...
Actually all he has told you is that someone is suspect but they are still investigating, but until said investigation is over said suspects are on vacation (if anyone considers something sort of like school suspension vacation).

===============
In every past incident involving a TSO and a passenger the TSA has refused to say anything other than “appropriate action has been taken”. Nor do they announce the action taken against an employee claiming that the employees privacy is protected under federal law. Yet in this case they have no problem telling us the employees in question have been suspended pending the results of the investigation. Sounds like a violation of the federal privacy law the TSA claims to protect their employees when we want answers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's my suggestion for avoiding this problem in the future:

Take the file with the blacked-out SSI and print it out. Then, using s desktop scanner, scan the printed document into a .PDF file. That way, you can distribute the file and there's no SSI that can be extracted from it.

Unfortunately, I believe your knowledge of information technology is on par with your knowledge of the industry you regulate. This is evidenced by your proposal of the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which shows a clear misunderstanding on TSA's part of how general aviation works.

Submitted by BOS TSO Blogger on

There is a baseline SOP, but each airport goes above and beyond that in different ways. It is confusing for travelers, and I feel for you. However, it is meant be be "unpredictable", though "less predictable" is more appropriate.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob, where's the dialog?

You make statements and don't answer our questions?

Seems to be pretty much one sided.

Submitted by TBride on

It appears to be a significant breach from what I've read, although it is refreshing to see quick admission of the problem and to observe prompt action taken to find resolution. People make mistakes; we all do. Taking accountability shows true organizational maturity.

From what I've read on the blog I'm confident the issue will be resolved in a professional manner. I appreciate the work you all do!

Submitted by Anonymous on

You may as well just leave the document there. The damage has already been done, and you will never be able to pull it back in.

Submitted by Randy on

I *really* don't see the problem about releasing the unredacted document.

This is a case that the only people that don't know what's in the document are the people being protected (the flying public). I believe that anyone wishing to do harm already knows how the TSA operates. Wouldn't it be as simple as being hired by the TSA?

Or am I alone in my opinion?

Randy

Submitted by Anonymous on

So Blogger Bob how is the witch hunt going? Have we decided on the sacrificial lambs?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...
Anonymous said...
"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."
------------------------
Now wait just one second. Haven't you been telling us that privacy laws absolutely, unquestionably prevent you from revealing whether disciplinary action has been taken and, if so, what type of action. Did the rules just change or am I missing something?

December 10, 2009 9:48 AM
-------------------

Actually all he has told you is that someone is suspect but they are still investigating, but until said invesitgation is over said suspects are on vacation (if anyone considers something sort of like school suspension vacation).

----------

I fail to see how this would be allowable under the incredibly strict interpretation of the privacy laws that TSA has cited in the past. Can we please get an official comment indicating TSA's official policy with regard to these situations.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Gee, Bob, you're really giving the Delete-O-Meter a workout. All one has to do is quote the leaked document and WHAM into the Black Hole you go.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Blah blah blah, who cares? If the TSOs do their job properly, it doesn't matter if the SOP is released publicly. I'm more interested in the unanswered questions, like how can it be justifiable to treat soft drinks or shampoo as hazmat only until it has been confiscated, at which point it is thrown in the trash with a bunch of other 'hazmat' with absolutely no inspection? Why are these bottles of 'hazmat' treated like they are just bottles of harmless substances? The obvious answer seems to be because they are harmless substances, and TSA knows it, yet 3-1-1 continues to be enforced. We also still have yet to see a single piece of peer-reviewed research that shows 3-1-1 is effective.

Yet more PR damage control on the blog, still no actual information. You guys foul up so often it's beginning to become boring!

Submitted by Anonymous on

How about updating this blog??

Submitted by William Bennington on

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Dan Kozisek said...
When will the screener's SOP be released? Why are you afraid of the public knowing the EXACT laws, rules, and regulations that YOU require them to comply with?
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Hey Dan, I travel a lot, and I mean twice a week for the last six years at my current job, and if you think that TSA will release the documents on EXACTLY HOW they do everything, and that anyone who wants to cause a 'man-made disaster' a.k.a. terrorist won't use those documents to subvert every layer of security than you're just stupid.

If you wanted to take down a plane, and some idiot asked the security people for their exact manuals on who they look for, how they check them, and all of their secondary processes, wouldn't you read those documents and then know EXACTLY HOW to get things past them?

Yeah, you would.

I don't care how many flights I have to miss because someone calls a bag check on my bag or the line is long because the person checking the tickets in my line is slow, (to date it's two flights), but I'm very happy and proud to be able to tell you how many flights I've missed, because without those people doing what they do I probably wouldn't be alive, as in dead Dan, as in some idiot like you asked for the manual and someone who wants to kill a lot of people got it and completed their mission!

So, TSA, federal government, Mr. President, and above all, God, please excuse Dan, because he knows not what he's asking, and he had trouble in school, and his parents beat him with a stupid stick. Amen.

Peace,
William Bennington

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hello?? Testing???

Now that we know your secrets (not all that secret) are you in hiding?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why was my comment on video-SOP deleto-O-metered???

Submitted by Bob on

Anonymous said... Why was my comment on video-SOP deleto-O-metered??? December 15, 2009 11:09 AM
------------------

We expect that participants will treat our employees with respect.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Earl Pitts on

@Bob: "We expect that participants will treat our employees with respect."

Unlike how screeners treat the flying public ...

Earl

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