In a quick update to the latest TSA lapse, the Associated Press is reporting that five TSA employees have been put on leave pending an investigation. Everyone from Secretary Napolitano to former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley have said that the document, while not intended to be public knowledge, does not pose a threat to the traveling public.
"Hyperventilating that this is a breach of security that's going to endanger the public is flat wrong," Hawley said.
(Note they had to ask the former TSA Administrator, because guess what? The TSA has been leaderless since ole Kip was at the helm.)
There are more details about the contents of the document and some of it certainly doesn't help the TSA's public image:
Among many sensitive sections, 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 also offers examples of identification documents that screeners accept, including congressional, federal air marshal and CIA ID cards
Well that would explain why Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) made this bizarre statement to Secretary Napolitano during a Congressional hearing about the 'state of security.'
I also want to highlight that I remain deeply concerned about the state of aviation security, and especially general aviation security and air cargo security ... But I mean that whenever I've been out to Dulles airport I can never remember passing through any metal detector; I never remember having any check on anything. And that should not be.
Yeah, well according to this rogue TSA document, the reason you don't experience security screening is because you have one of those handy dandy Congressional cards and TSA employees have been instructed not to screen you. So, maybe your concern about aviation security from this standpoint is not really all that legitimate after all.
And, while I like to think we're all equal in the eyes of security, which apparently we're not, there are some legitimate concerns from this document. I especially don't like the part about allowing military folks, who actually do carry weapons, to automatically bypass security. I mean, someone with an army/navy surplus store, a good tailor and high-end printer could probably forge these things fairly easily, no? Don't get me wrong though, I would like to see our service people be escorted in white limos and cut every line possible, but bypass security? Two words: Fort Hood. I think exempting military is a dangerous precedent and since these are the people who put their lives on the line to ensure security, I feel like they of all people would understand my concerns.
And finally, the TSA is always assuring the public that there is no racial profiling involved in airport screening, however, this document states that individuals with passports from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, or Algeria, should be given additional screening unless there are specific instructions not to.