Transparency

Inspector General Pissed Over TSA Censorship of Critical Report

It's not the Transparency Security Administration, for sure.

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Top secret
Ninja M. / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

On January 16, the John Roth, the Department of Homeland Security' Inspector General, released part of a report critical of the Transportation Security Administration's "security controls over the servers, routers, switches, and telecommunications circuits comprising the DHS information technology" at John F. Kennedy International Airport. I say "part" of a report, because the TSA censored key parts of the document becasue, it seems, they were embarrassing. The move so ticked off Roth, that he has since publicly excoriated the bureaucracy for abuse of its power to smother criticism.

The redacted report with, apparently, juicy material (as government reports go, that is) excised is available here. The most interesting thing about it may be the Inspector General's tale of trying to bring a fuller version of the document to the light of day.

The report was originally provided to the TSA Chief Information Officer for review on July 22 of last year. After much nudging, it was finally returned, but with parts of the report classified as Sensitive Security Information, which means they can't be released to the public.

So Inspector General Roth appealed to TSA Administrator John Pistole.

Crickets.

He wrote to Pistole again.

Crickets.

He finally heard back. But not from Pistole.

Finally, on January 13, 2015, over five months after submitting the report for sensitivity review, and two months after writing to Administrator Pistole, I received a decision, not from the Acting TSA Administrator, but from the head of the SSI program office—the very same office that initially and improperly marked the information as SSI. Not surprisingly, the office affirmed its original redaction to the report.

Roth released the redacted partial report with the "sensitive" stuff removed, but he included the full tale. And then a week later, he blasted the TSA.

"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," said Roth. "I believe—and the computer experts on my staff confirm—that this report should be released in its entirety in the public domain."

The report, by the way, identified "numerous deficiencies in the information technology security controls associated with the Transportation Security Administration."

I don't think anybody at the TSA will be thanking the Inspector General anytime soon for calling out the bureaucracy's latest round of flaws.

Back in December, the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards suggested at Reason that the whole Department of Homeland Security be shut down and the ground it occupies be sown with salt (OK, that's my addition). That document has not been redacted.

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  1. How about just releasing the whole thing yourself? I know I’m signing someone else up for possible martyrdom, but this shit will never stop if the game plan is to wait for them to do the right thing. Same goes for tech companies, please, just fuck the government and out them while the potential for outrage isn’t totally conditioned out of the American character yet.

  2. He should just publish. Why is a DHS top man being restricted by some TSA lackeys?

  3. Well time to send another dog off to a friends house… Then maybe go camping somewhere remote, like Fiji. I wonder if they’ll do this guy like that ex ATF agent?

  4. At a minimum forward the report to a sympathetic congresscritter with the appropriate clearances and have them release it into the record.

    This is such a crock of shit.

  5. Back in December, the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards suggested that the whole Department of Homeland Security be shut down

    It’s kind of amazing how little traction this idea gets with people (of all political stripes). The stupid thing didn’t exist 15 years ago but now it’s seen by all and sundry as absolutely essential to Keeping America Safe(TM).

    They can go hang, the lot of ’em.

    1. I still think the basic problem with the TSA is that everybody with a grain of sense knew from the first that it was a waste of resources. It had to be done; the pressures of the time made it a political necessity. But it was a bad idea from the start.

      So the only people who involved themselves with it were

      A) Too clueless to know it was a waste

      B) Job-seekers

      C) Empire builders

      D) Sent over by some other agency with a sigh of relief

      E ) Some combination of the above

      The cold fact is that the next bunch of swine who try to take over a plane are going to be faced with passangers who will believe that allowing them to succeed is a death sentence. And will, comsequently, shortly be stuffed into the overhead luggage compartment in somewhat used condition.

      The TSA should be disbanded.

      But then so should about two thirds of the Federal Government. I’m not going to hold my breath.

  6. It amazing, they don’t even pretend to have accountability any more. Fuck you that’s why is the answer, always.

  7. It would be awesome if I could just ignore work emails until someone else agreed to keep my fuckups classified.

    1. Go work for the government, and it will be!

  8. OT: Deputy Press Sec. Eric Schultz says Taliban “armed insurgency.” Trigger Warning: Hot Air

    “I would also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group,” Schultz said. “So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.”

    Karl’s stood at attention after hearing this response and asked Schultz to repeat himself, which the deputy press secretary did but only after a prolonged and contemplative “um.”

  9. Goddamnit J.D. give a warning when you link a PDF

  10. DHS delenda est.

  11. Inspector General Roth appealed to TSA Administrator John Pistole.

    Crickets.

    With all due respect, why wasn’t Pistole slapped with whatever goes as a contempt charge in ? D .. H .. S ?. Never mind.

  12. Dude, who comes up with all that crazy smack.

    http://www.BestAnon.tk

  13. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who thinks that Leviathon isn’t too big, or isn’t big enough (read, out of control) isn’t being honest with themselves if they pay any attention to this crap.

  14. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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