TSA Covered Up Security Lapses by Classifying Them as Secret

By claiming they were “Sensitive Security Information,” the TSA covered up failures by abusing their authority.


As we all know, the Transportation Security Administration trumpets its own accomplishments, or its claims to have significant accomplishments. They want the newspaper to publish these accomplishments and then for the public to read and believe what they say about these accomplishments. The TSA expects us to praise and value the TSA on the basis of these accomplishments…

…which have been published lately without any mention of TSA failures.

Thus, the Washington Times, “TSA cites secrecy in deleting airport security breaches from report.”

The TSA has a number of security problems at John F. Kennedy airport in New York, but it declared many of the details classified to try to hide the embarrassing information from the public, the agency’s internal auditor charged in a report released Friday.

Inspector General John Roth said the Transportation Security Agency was abusing its powers in order to shield the information — though he said the agency had released the exact same kinds of details in previous reports, so there’s no valid reason not to release them now. He said the only conclusion is that the agency is hiding behind classification.

“Over-classification is the enemy of good government. SSI markings should be used only to protect transportation security, rather than, as I fear occurred here, to allow government program officials to conceal negative information within a report,” Mr. Roth said, referring to sensitive security information, or “SSI.”

Adding to the problems, TSA Administrator John Pistole refused to reply to Mr. Roth’s appeals, ignoring them for months and delaying the release of the report. Finally Mr. Roth went ahead with the release after one of Mr. Pistole’s subordinates wrote back insisting the classification be maintained. Mr. Pistole resigned from his job at the end of last year.

The report says TSA has failed to follow security protocols in a number of areas at JFK, which is one of the country’s busiest airports. But the total number of vulnerabilities and the seriousness of them were blacked out in Mr. Roth’s public report. TSA also made Mr. Roth delete details about TSA communications cabinets, which were not as secure as they should have been.

I have to point out that deleting the information is not merely a failure to report. It is a lie. Because the TSA is publicizing its accomplishment while hiding its failures it is deliberately giving the voting public a false picture of the agency.

We can’t have accountable government when it is so easy for the government to get away with lying in the name of national security.