A Little Sensitive Over “Sensitive” Airport Security Numbers

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah got into hot water this week with the Department of Homeland Security for disclosing the fact that there have been 25,000 breaches of security at U.S. airports since 2001, although it’s questionable the numbers had much relevance.
Chaffetz, a member of the House Oversight Committee, obtained the information from DHS and shared it with media outlets to support his contention that airport security is “a real mess.”
DHS Deputy Counsel Joseph B. Maher complained about Chaffetz’s actions, saying disclosure of  “sensitive security information” constituted “unauthorized disclosures of the document violated federal law.”  
Chaffetz’s committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-California) weighed in with a tough guy letter to Maher’s boss, DHS Secretary Janet Neopolitano, that Maher’s complaint was “a threat to the entire legislative branch that this administration will seek retribution when non-classified information is shared with the public.”
The Oversight Committee is one of the most aggressive anti-Obama panels in the Republican-led House of Representatives, having launched dozens of investigations of his administration.
While Maher and Chaffetz were arguing about the importance of secrecy and the various threats being posed to the country, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nicholas Kimball downplayed the security breaches, saying they represented a small fraction of 1% of the air travelers who used U.S. airports in the past decade.
Of the 25,000 security breaches, more than 14,000 consisted of unauthorized people entering “limited-access” areas by going through airport doors or passageways or going from airport buildings to planes.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

Airport Security Breaches Since 2001 Raise Alarms (by Gary Stoller, USA Today)


Leave a comment