October 18, 2007, - 10:18 am
By Debbie Schlussel
I must throw out my liquid lip gloss (while having a hidden container of perfume elsewhere), because it might blow up a plane. But they can’t even keep the identities of commercial drivers with HazMat Hauling Certificates safe from terrorists who might exploit them.
Yup, that’s the good ole’ Transportation “Security” Administration for ya. Too scary for Halloween season:
Two laptop computers with detailed personal information about commercial drivers across the country who transport hazardous materials are missing and considered stolen.
The laptops belong to a contractor working for the Transportation Security Administration and contain the names, addresses, birthdays, commercial driver’s license numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers of 3,930 people, according to an Oct. 12 letter from TSA to lawmakers.
The contractor, Integrated Biometric Technology, told TSA that the personal information was deleted from the computers before they were stolen, the letter stated. But after the second laptop was stolen, TSA investigators discovered that a person with data recovery skills could recover the personal information that the contractor deleted. TSA spokesman Christopher White said none of the information on the computers has been misused.
News of the security breach came the day before TSA begins collecting similar personal information from employees with access to areas at the port of Wilmington, Del. The Transportation Worker Identification Credential program is set to launch in Wilmington on Tuesday. Eventually 750,000 employees across the country with access to port areas will be required to submit information for background checks.
“We’re outraged that on the eve of expanded worker screening for port workers, it appears that TSA and its contractors failed to protect the confidential information of other transportation workers who underwent similar background checks,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s transportation trades department. But White said the TWIC program would be run through TSA computers and not the contractor’s.
Since the two laptops were stolen, TSA has instructed the contractor to fully encrypt hard drives. The TSA program, called the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment, collects information for security-clearance purposes for any driver who transports hazardous materials. These assessments were mandated in the Patriot Act. Integrated Biometric Technology will provide one year of free credit-monitoring services to the 3,930 people affected.
Earlier this year, TSA lost a computer hard drive with sensitive bank and payroll data for 100,000 employees. The hard drive contained historical payroll data, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, time and leave data, bank account and routing information, and details about financial allotments and deductions.
“It would be nice if the department in charge of homeland security would actually be able to secure the data on their own computers,” said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
Yeah, that would be nice. Gee, I wonder who stole the laptops. Just someone who wanted a free computer and happened to pick the two laptops with the info you’d need if you wanted to impersonate someone who has access to poison that could murder Americans? Um, that was part of the plot in Showtime’s excellent first season of “Sleeper Cell.” Quelle Coincidence. They (our enemies) ain’t stupid.
If the TSA can’t protect such sensitive data and two laptops, how can it be entrusted to protect millions of American travelers? Answer: It can’t.
(TSA Chief Kip) Hawley, You’re Doin’ a Heckuva Job.
Too Stupid for America. But, hey, they are really good at Islamic sensitivity training seminars . . . .
Tags: American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations, bank, bank account, chief, Christopher White, contractor, Debbie Schlussel, Delaware, Ed Markey, Edward Wytkind, expanded worker, free credit-monitoring services, Halloween, Integrated Biometric Technology, Kip, Massachusetts, port of Wilmington, President, Sleeper Cell, spokesman, The Transportation Worker, Transportation Security Administration, Wilmington