Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Lucky Journalist Found Classified US DHS Docs Jeopardizing Super Bowl

Super Bowl fans GETTYFans react during the game of Super Bowl
Patty Aguilar | 06 February, 2018, 17:10

Sensitive documents from the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) related to Super Bowl security were reportedly found in the pocket of an airplane seat.

CNN said on its website it had delayed reporting about its discovery until after the game, at the request of federal officials. "As for the documents themselves, additional warnings advised readers to "[lock them] up after business hours and to shred them prior to discarding". The officials were also unclear on who they could share information safely with during an emergency.

The exercises simulated the event of an intentional anthrax attack. Calls to him were not returned.

A travel itinerary and boarding pass belonging to Michael V. Walter accompanied the documents, CNN said.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Walter is a microbiologist who has been the program manager of BioWatch since 2009.

"The biggest outcome of this mistake may have less to do with terrorists knowing our vulnerabilities and more to do with confidence in the Department of Homeland Security", Juliette Kayyem, a former DHS official, told CNN. "On the other hand, it is obviously significant that these were left behind", said Juliette Kayyem, the former assistant secretary for the department.

"Who knows who else could have picked this up", she said.

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CNN said it notified DHS to let government officials know it found the documents.

The network has also opted not to publish much of the information found in the documents, which could threaten national security.

The reports are based on two DHS exercises that simulated an anthrax attack at the Super Bowl.

The concerns are marked as "areas for improvement", including confusion among health agencies concerning alerts, and even differences of opinion on determining just how many persons could potentially be exposed. The report states that because DHS did not develop "performance requirements" for the program, the agency could not make informed decisions about how to upgrade it.An agency official noted in an email to CNN that "Biodetection is one aspect of a layered approach to biodefense", and that "DHS continues to develop requirements and field enhancements to our national biodefense".

"What you would expect to happen is that these teams are working together to say, 'Hey we have a communications problem".

"It is important that operators regularly exercise their capabilities against a wide range of scenarios in order to effectively counter the changing threat environment", Houlton said.

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