6/1/2010 – Follow Up On The Whole TSA Debacle
I have thought long and hard about my follow up post to questioning a TSA Special Agent misplacing a notebook used in the investigation of how I obtained a copy of Security Directive SD-1544-09-06.
In response the enquiries surrounding the misplaced notebook by the TSA Special Agent, TSA Public Affairs issued this statement
“TSA takes any breach in security very seriously. In light of the posting of sensitive security information on the web, TSA sought to identify where the information came from. The investigation is nearing a successful conclusion and the subpoenas are no longer in effect.
“In addition, a TSA investigator accidentally dropped a notebook, his personal property, in a public area. The notebook did not contain any sensitive security information; however, TSA will continue to review the incident.”
This statement leaves me with a few questions, some more mundane than others.
The first question that came to mind was that of the notebook being ‘personal property.’ Are TSA Special Agents required to purchase their own notebooks and then not reimbursed by the agency? If so, this means that TSA Special Agents are subsidizing the Federal Government. However, if TSA Special Agents purchase their own notebooks, then expense it to the agency, the notebook is probably not considered to be personal property…since the tax payers have paid for it.
I know in the scheme of things this is a minor detail, but it is a detail that has been eating at me.
Additionally the TSA claims there is nothing containing sensitive security information inside the notebook. I disagree with them on this point, the agency wants to distance themselves and I understand that. After many hours of weighing my options I have decided not to publish the first page of the notebook because it would be counter productive and go against everything I have ever stated about wanting to find better security solutions.
The first page in the notebook is the only page that has investigative notes pertaining to someone other than me. Generally investigators do not have one unrelated page of notes in a notebook, it would make tracking notes difficult…which is why I believe page one is related to the investigation of SD-1544-0906.
My question about page one is this…without releasing the details…why was a TSA Special Agent also investigating someone who matches the name and description of a person who has served in the position of Deputy Federal Security Director at a major US airport?
TSA Public Affairs was informed of the content of this page and never got back to me… which is why I now mention it here, although trusting my better judgment because in this area I am fairly sure the TSA once again is unaware of its potential security risks.
While the TSA may continue to state there was nothing ‘sensitive’ in the notebook, I’d counter if nothing else, my personal information was in the notebook. Information that I don’t want in public, that could open me up to hackers, was in the notebook. Name, title and direct contact information for clients was in the notebook…I am sure they didn’t want that left laying around.
In this seemingly increasing standoff with the TSA someone needs to blink…and given certain events that I cannot believe are mere coincidences, I will be the one to blink first. I am sure there are those of you out there who will complain that I should disclose everything…and I’d love to. This blog post is the fifth revision, but ultimately I am experiencing the hand of ‘big brother’ at the moment. I am not a conspiracy theorist, however I fear I have kicked-the-cage of the lion a bit harder than I should have. I am dedicated to Flying With Fish, but it is not my job. Continuing to rattle this case has ramifications for my family and my kids didn’t ask for any of this. I may have moral supporters, but without a defined support structure in place, going forward in the direction I’d like to would potentially have significant impact on my kids…and they come first.
If I had millions of dollars at my disposal like Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, who has trashed me quite a bit, maybe I’d continue down this road. If the people on FlyerTalk who have enjoyed second guessing me and bashing my name around, want to create a legal defense fund with say US$75,000 to start, plus secure funds to ensure my kids have a house, clothing and food, then maybe I’d poke the stick a little deeper.
Ultimately what I want from the Transportation Security Administration is accountability and it is clear I will not get that from the agency…nor will anyone else. As of now I am moving forward, looking back won’t get me anywhere. The solutions are ahead of us, not behind us.
I’d like to leave the Transportation Security Administration with these famous words from Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States of America
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
PS: -Note To The TSA– You might want to check your public affairs office for your leak. Certain media outlets are quoting ‘sources’ with a mis-fact regarding this investigation that could have only come from Public Affairs. The mis-fact comes from a question with incorrect wording that was asked of TSA Public Affairs…