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Oooops! Transportation Security Administration Accidentally Reveals Airport Security Secrets

It’s never a good thing when an agency which is part of the Department of Homeland Security — emphasis on Security — makes such a goof. Someone needs to pay closer attention.

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By Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

TSA officials said that the manual was posted online in a redacted form on a federal procurement Web site, but that the digital redactions were inadequate. They allowed computer users to recover blacked-out passages by copying and pasting them into a new document or an e-mail.

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Time December 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

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