TSA Threatens Congressman For Disclosing 25,000 Security Breaches

A complete video of the July 13, 2011 hearing in which Rep. Chaffetz discussed the 25,000 breaches.

Homeland Security to Chaffetz: Stop the leaks of sensitive information (Washington Post):

The Department of Homeland Security has complained to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) about what it says was an inappropriate disclosure of sensitive security information to the press by the House transportation panel that he chairs.

In a letter dated Wednesday, a clearly miffed Department of Homeland Security Deputy Counsel Joseph B. Maher told Chaffetz that “sensitive security information” provided to his subcommittee by the Transportation Security Administration was illegally disclosed to the press.

“This document was marked as [Sensitive Security Information],” Maher wrote, “and provided clear notice that unauthorized disclosures of the document violated federal law.”

The letter was obtained by the Washington Post from an administration official.

USA Today and other news outlets reported this week that “newly released” DHS documents revealed 25,000 security breaches at U.S. airports since November 2001.

Maher called the information on past security breaches “a topic of particular interest to our adversaries” and said the law against unauthorized disclosure is designed to protect air travelers.

In an angry response directly to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano late Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), head of the House Oversight Committee, called Maher’s assertions “meritless” retaliation for the committee’s efforts to address “TSA deficiencies.”

Issa called Maher’s letter a “threat to the entire legislative branch that this administration will seek retribution when non-classified information is shared with the public.” Issa denied that the security breach data was classified information. His staff said lawmakers and open-government groups have long debated whether security classifications are often used to hide embarrassing information.

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19 comments for “TSA Threatens Congressman For Disclosing 25,000 Security Breaches

  1. gregorylent
    July 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

    covering your ass as national security .. transparency has never been so important .. they are us.

  2. July 17, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Thank you for finding this footage. I *saw* this a couple nights ago and commented on Twitter. This, along with the arresting of the nice Japanese Grandma who ‘reverse groped’ a TSA so-called agent? These are test cases that will hopefully bring down the TSA once and for all.

    -Drunken Economist

    • Public Intelligence
      July 18, 2011 at 4:34 am

      The reverse grope was a bit fantastic . . .

  3. July 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    “So, “probable cause” has officially given way to “if the slightest possibility exists“(no matter how improbable) that someone could do something rash.” (Goby News, 7/8/11, author “lono”) Sensitive information? That even though the TSA even admits to a 70% failure rate in screener testing 2004-2005, with 21.9 million domestic departures during that time period, carrying nearly 1.5 BILLION passengers (source; Bureau of Labor Statistics) … and all of that with no – NO – incidents, this is sensitive information? This emperor indeed hath no clothes. We are Freedom to Travel USA, an organization dedicated to regaining freedoms taken away from us by the TSA. We believe that suspicionless unwanted touching should not be a condition of travel. We believe that being subject to the equivalent of Peeping Toms without cause should not be a condition of travel. We believe that exposing ourselves to radiation, however small, should not be a condition of travel. We believe that merely the presence of medical metal, in and of itself, should not constitute “probable cause.” h t t p : / / fttusa . org

  4. Edward
    July 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I worked on NY JFK Airport for six years in secure areas. I have since been to that airport and flown from it 100 times since. I know of roadways there that are so close to fueled up jumbo jets (with 30,000 gallons of fuel) which are wingtip to wingtip to other fueled up jumbo jets. Any van or panel truck could suddenly “get a flat tire” within 100 feet of a fueled up jet, and you can figure out the rest. (And fences don’t have to be down.)
    Why is EVERY passenger being radiated or groped “for safety” while situations like I have mentioned go completely ignored? I’m glad to see congress is finally addressing this issue.

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