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

Talk about déjà vu. It’s a holiday weekend. The Transportation Security Administration releases a vague new 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 document 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 it it all 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.

But who really knows?

So here’s my prediction: There are lots of people who have seen the new 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?

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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(Photo: Pricey/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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