Tag Archives: DIA

CBS Denver Report: TSA Screeners Exploited Scanners To Grope “Attractive” Male Passengers

Denver, CO- An investigation conducted by Denver’s CBS4 station revealed that two TSA employees at Denver International Airport have been fired after one employee acknowledged manipulating the airport’s scanning machines to allow the intentional groping of male passengers.

According to an anonymous tip from a TSA employee from last November, a male TSA screener allegedly told a female colleague that he was able to fondle “attractive male passengers” that arrive at the screening area by having another employee deliberately input incorrect data into the scanning machines:

“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”

In February, three months after the initial claim, TSA security supervisor Chris Higgins observed the screening area to check the accuracy of the anonymous tip. A law enforcement report obtained by CBS4 stated that Higgins “observed (the male TSA screener) appear to give a signal to another screener … (the second female screener) was responsible for the touchscreen system that controls whether or not the scanning machine alerts to gender- specific anomalies.”

The report went on to state that after a male passenger was seen entering the scanner, the investigator “observed (the female TSA agent) press the screening button for a female. The scanner alerted to an anomaly, and Higgins observed (the male TSA screener) conduct a pat down of the passenger’s front groin and buttocks area with the palm of his hands, which is contradictory to TSA searching policy.”

The female employee who took part in the groping scheme was later interviewed by Higgins and admitted that “she has done this for (the male TSA officer) at least 10 other times. She knew that doing so would allow (the male TSA officer) to perform a pat down on a male passenger that (the male TSA screener) found attractive.”

The two TSA employees involved in the incidents have since been fired. The TSA declined to name the employees who were fired.

The TSA reportedly has video of the incident observed by Higgins, but it was not yet been released to CBS4. The TSA claims that there have been no further complaints of “serial” groping, and the male passenger observed by Higgins has not been identified. A prosecutor declined to press charges in the case because no victim had been identified and there was no “reasonable likelihood of conviction.”

A statement from the TSA said that “These alleged acts are egregious and intolerable. TSA has removed the two officers from the agency. All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the agency. And when substantiated, employees are held accountable.” CBS4 reports that the TSA refused to answer any questions or offer any more information beyond the agency’s statement.

The NSA Created Its Own Secret Google

A new batch of classified documents obtained by The Intercept shows that the National Security Agency is using a search engine similar to Google, called “ICREACH” to deliver data to U.S. government agencies.

ICREACH was created to function as the “largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day.”

A top-secret document provided by The Intercept from 2007 stated that the ICREACH team “delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

The Intercept reported that the classified documents regarding ICREACH provide the first “definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies.

These documents were among the ones leaked by NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden, and they reinforced the fact that the NSA was collecting phone calls, e-mails, cellphone locations, and Internet chats from hundreds of millions of innocent Americans.

While a document from 2010 shows that ICREACH “has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work,” a document from 2007 cites the Central Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as key participants.

This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets,” the document revealed.

This is not something that I think the government should be doing,” said Brian Owsley, an assistant professor of law at Indiana Tech Law School, who said he was shocked that agencies like the FBI and DEA were involved.

Perhaps if information is useful in a specific case, they can get judicial authority to provide it to another agency. But there shouldn’t be this buddy-buddy system back-and-forth,” Owsley said.

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jeffrey Anchukaitis, maintained that the mass sharing of information has become “a pillar of the post-9/11 intelligence community.”

Anchukaitis also insisted that by using ICREACH, “analysts can develop vital intelligence leads without requiring access to raw intelligence collected by other IC [Intelligence Community] agencies.”

A co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, Elizabeth Goitein, said that she found the mass scale of the ICREACH system “extremely troublesome.”

The myth that metadata is just a bunch of numbers and is not as revealing as actual communications content was exploded long ago,” said Goitein. “This is a trove of incredibly sensitive information.”