Previously, it was revealed that the screening manual of the Transportation Security Administration was made public by accidental posting online. TSA’s initial response was that the manual was outdated and it was investigating the matter.
Now, CBS News cites an anonymous TSA source who says that five TSA employees have been put on leave because of the security breach. Others, including CNN, are reporting that an undisclosed number of employees have been put on leave:
“The security of the traveling public has never been put at risk,” [Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano] told the Senate Judiciary Committee, and “the document that was posted was an out-of-date document.
“Nonetheless, the posting of it did not meet our own standards for what should be available on the Net and not available on the Net,” she said. “So we have already initiated personnel actions against the individuals involved in that.”
Pressed on who those individuals were by the committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, Napolitano said “the individual involved was a contractor. Some of the supervisors ultimately were in TSA.”
She did not say how many people were determined to have been involved in the posting of the manual, which outlined screening procedures for law enforcement officers, diplomats, prisoners, federal air marshals and others.
CNN also noted that other DHS officials told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that other agencies have been told that the security of their documents may also have been breached.
The practice of posting sensitive documents has been suspended, said Rand Beers, undersecretary of national protection for the TSA, and David Heyman, the agency’s assistant secretary for policy, under questioning from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Those involved are on administrative leave pending review, they said.
The issue won’t be going away any time soon. The Hill reports that House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has announced his committee will investigate the TSA security breach, as well.
Thompson said he wasn’t persuaded by assurances that the snafu did not put passengers at risk.
“TSA can try to downplay it all they want to,” he said. “Our committee will be committed to going forward with an aggressive review of what happened.”
Thompson said the incident highlights that TSA currently has only an “acting administrator,” as the nomination for a new chief has been stalled in the Senate.
“Clearly the buck stops with the person at the top,” Thompson said. “We really don’t have anybody at the top to hold accountable at this point because it’s been going on for several months now.