TSA Watch: “Secret” memo explains differences between medical devices and weapons of mass destruction

Remember when the TSA accidentally published its passenger screening manual online a few years ago? Well, in light of this week’s events, which call into question the agency’s basic operating procedures, I’m not waiting around for it to do that again (although it probably will).

In the spirit of helpfulness, I thought I’d write my own memo to the agency’s 58,401 employees, clarifying the functions of some commonly-confused items and how they should be properly screened. Since it’s the TSA, where everything is a secret, this memo would be labeled “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI) and you wouldn’t be able to read it until the agency inadvertently published it online, and then it would be absolutely fine.
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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.
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Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland Security

We had just put the kids in the bathtub when Special Agent Robert Flaherty knocked on my front door with a subpoena. He was very polite, and used “sir” a lot, and he said he just wanted a name: Who sent me the security directive?

I invited Flaherty to sit down in the living room and introduced him to my cats, who seemed to take a liking to him. The kids came by to say hello, too.

“A subpoena?” I asked the special agent. “Is that really necessary?”

“Sir,” he repeated. “You’ve been served.”

Alright, then. I’ve been served. Here’s the full text of the subpoena:
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