December 8th, 2009
07:15 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Security Breach at TSA

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We have breaking news from Capitol Hill, where liberal and moderate Democrats have reached “broad agreement” on a health care bill. That’s what Democratic leader Harry Reid said just moments ago in a news conference. Will Democrats drop the government-run insurance option and open Medicare to those under the age of 55? We’re working our sources and we'll give you the latest developments, tonight on 360°.

Meanwhile, there’s a big embarrassment for the Department of Homeland Security. A 93-page manual for airport security screeners made it onto the internet for the world to see, including terrorists.

“As Americans make travel plans for the upcoming holidays, this shocking breach undercuts the public’s confidence in the security procedures at our airports,” said Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine., of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The TSA operating manual went online in March on the Federal Business Opportunity site, as part of a posting for contract work.

However, those who were computer-savvy could undo the blacked-out sections, making the security playbook no longer secret.

The TSA, which has been in charge of protecting America’s airports since the September 11th terror attacks, released this statement:

"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has become aware that an outdated version of a Standard Operating Procedures document was improperly posted by the agency to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site wherein redacted material was not properly protected.‪

TSA takes this matter very seriously and took swift action when this was discovered. A full review is now underway.

TSA has many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe and to constantly adapt to evolving threats. TSA is confident that screening procedures currently in place remain strong.”

The agency also said the manual posted online, dated May 2008, was outdated and was never implemented. Six newer versions have been issued since that one, a TSA official said.

Tonight on 360°, we’ll be digging deeper into the controversy.

We’re also following developments in the battle for Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzi said today he’ll need help from the U.S. for 15 to 20 years.

"We hope that the international community and the United States, in particular the U.S., as our first ally, helps us reach the ability… sustain a force that can protect Afghanistan with the right numbers and the right equipment, " Karzai said at a news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates by his side during an unannounced visit to the war zone.

Just last week, Pres. Obama announced he wants U.S. forces to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in 18 months.

But today, Pres. Karzai asked for patience. He laid out his own timeline.

The Afghan leader wants his Army to have control in parts of the country within two years, and total control in five years. There’s also the request for U.S. assistance for 15 to 20 years.

Secretary Gates pledged the U.S. “will never turn our back” on Afghanistan.

“The president has been very clear that will begin this process of transitioning in July of 2011… I would hope we not only could meet the timelines President Karzai has laid out… but as more afghans are trained that we will be able to beat those timelines,” Gates said.

“We expect this is a several year process, ” he added.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Linda B., Ga.

    Are we really surprised over this yet another "security breach"? ahem!
    We are no more prepared for another terrorist attack, in the USA then the man in the moon. Add more jobs to CBP/CUSTOMS and BORDER PATROL. Take the prisoners that are in more minor offenses and put their @sses into the Military (they used to do that years ago). There are several things that could be done, but, aren't being done and we can't blame the current Administration for that one.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  2. Tim Gibson

    The TSA are about as effective as the old question, has anyone you don't know given you any items to carry onboard the plane today. Do they create a feeling of safety while traveling, not in my opinion. Our airport security has always been a joke and remains such to this day.

    As to 15 to 20 years of assistance in Afghanistan, seriously. Sounds as if we are to first educate the individuals who will eventually become the Afghan "control" mechanism or Afghan military. We begin with K1 education and end with a perhaps a tech school or some college, provide the weapons, provide our blood. Are they becoming a proxy arm of the US?

    December 9, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  3. KC

    Terrorism in the U.S. ? Ummm so just for laughs lets pretend that you pay folks who work security in airports about the same wage that Wal-Mart greeters receive. Now, just for the idea of rapid change lets pretend that they are given safety training that is similiar to what one would receive... say for the same ammount of salary. Yup

    December 9, 2009 at 2:19 am |
  4. Cornelius

    i don't understand people that say that they do not want the government running things. if the government is so bad, why are we putting young people in harms way in other countries to help build up a government? who is running homeland security, the military, law enforcement, the state, the local community, the civil sevice and the list goes on. who are they trying to fool?and don't forget the irs who collects our taxes to pay their salaries. what we need is some honest people in government

    December 9, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  5. Teri in New Jersey

    The country's security does not depend solely on airport security anyway. It is hardly acknowledged but since September 11, 2001 the amount of heroin that is easity available has skyrocketed. And it is also cheaper than ever. That alone is crippling the country with substance abuse, court time, crowded jails, children not provided for, robberies, gang violence, guns, guns, and more guns. Where do we get 90 percent of the heroin in the world? Afghanistan. From where are we supposed to prevent breaches in security. The middle east and specifically anything coming in illegally from Afghanistan. So why today is airport security the only thing getting attention? Who is responsible for preventing heroin coming in and obviously tons of money going out. Before 911 using an aircraft as a weapon was unheard of. I think they are smarter and more persistent than we believe. What will be the next unimaginable act? There is a bigger picture here.

    December 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  6. miles j. Zaremski, Highland Park, Illinois

    Obama and the Democrats are no better than George W. and his Republicans. Neither care about spending money where it should count – – – like health care for all Americans. And why is it that health care has to be budget neutral yet no one really cares about paying for Afghanistan before troops are sent over there?

    December 8, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  7. ken

    This problem has been known for years. Mistakes by poorly redacting documents. There is SW that cost less than $30 that could have prevented this leak, that;s the real shame...


    December 8, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  8. John

    TSA in general is ran very inefficiently. I tried to get hired by them meeting all the requirments for a TSO and I went through all the processes including full health exam;paided by teh tax payers! I waited and ended up gettting a job on a cruise ship, out of the blue a year later they tell me they had no openings, even though they are still short staffed at the N.O. airport. So this secturity breach does not suprise me.

    December 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Jim

    Traveled through Washington National. After obtaining my ticket I was taken to the side by TSA, questioned and released. Went through the metal detectors, was taken to the side, questioned, searched and released. Just prior to boarding my flight to Los Angeles, I was again taken to the side, questioned and searched. I complained to the supervisor, "Come on guys, this is the third time you've questioned and searched me." His response, "It's good training for you."

    Complain and you just may miss your flight.

    December 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  10. Daniel Bednarik, Ph.D.

    Anderson: I must comment on your report of the TSA security breach. The people at the top (not the average TSA employee) should be fired. They have created an oxymoron out of their own name and their mandate - Perhaps they can call their executive level people "Totally Stupid Administrators".

    Dan Bednarik
    Highland, Maryland

    December 8, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  11. Rita Nalette

    Ah TSA those badge heavy mental lightweights that practice rudeness and add to the hassles of air travel.

    my first introduction to these intellectually challenged individuals is when they ran my video camera through their x-rays machines. this was film of NYC on the 1 year anniversary of 9/11. i had flown non-stop from seattle to NY and spent the day there at the terrorist crime scene. Fortunately i have my memories....just no film

    thanks TSA. – i'd like to see them all unemployed, homeless and living under a bridge. but that's just me.

    December 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Steve

    This is just another example of an uncontrolled govenment agency. Have you looked at the number of people it takes to screen passengers? I travel every week and just shake my head everytime I go through security. How about an efficiency consultant. We could save millions if it was an efficient agency.
    I could only imagine what a government health care system would be like. That's like saying we can make a program more efficient and less wasteful by creating another agency, or paying for it by making one more efficient. What level of reality do these guys live on? Probably grew up in the 60's in San Francisco. NO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.

    December 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    Quite a difference between Obama's 18 months and Karzi's 15 to 20 years. Afghanistan is starting to sound more and more like Vietnam. As the US becomes more involved the Afghanis grow less involved. Our impressive weaponry can destroy targets and kill people but there is no guarantee that it can bend the Afghanis into the sort of country we want it to be. We will have to be careful that as Karzai calls for more US involvement that we do not increase our numbers to the point that the Afghani's scale back their own efforts. We can impair Afghanistan's efforts by doing too much ourselves. I'd like to see us come home now – I don't see Afghanisan ever really stepping up to the US's view of what it should be.

    Was disappointed that AC360 did not do a Planet in Peril this year. There are still a lot of situations left uncovered and it would be nice to see what a difference 2 years have made in the places PIP covered in the first year of the show. I think people would be startled at how much the melting has advanced and how some people and species are being impact now and not waiting until 2020 or later.

    December 8, 2009 at 9:55 pm |