Is the TSA inviting someone to leak its new security directive?

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By Christopher Elliott

Talk about déjà vu. It’s a holiday weekend. The Transportation Security Administration released a vague new TSA security directive, but it won’t tell us what’s in it.

People start talking. Next thing you know, a blogger has published the entire security directive on his site.

We’ve been there. Are we about to go there again?

The Department of Homeland Security released what it calls “new enhanced security measures” for air travelers this morning. In a prepared statement, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was as clear as mud about what this security directive means.

These new measures utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats. The terrorist threat to global aviation is a shared challenge and ensuring aviation security is a shared responsibility.

OK, then …

Passengers traveling to the United States from international destinations may notice enhanced security and random screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process, including the use of explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, or pat downs, among other security measures.

Some have suggested the government will start profiling air travelers.

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But who really knows?

My prediction about the TSA security directive

So here’s my prediction: There are lots of people who have seen the new TSA security directive and who are reading this blog now. They know that the government’s lack of transparency is — how do I put this? — unhelpful. How long will it be before they send the directive to me?

Who’s to say someone hasn’t done it already? (Here’s how to handle the TSA when you travel.)

My point is, the TSA needs to be a lot more forthcoming about what air travelers should expect. Otherwise, history will repeat itself.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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