A CNN employee found sensitive Department of Homeland Security reports about the Super Bowl in the seatback pocket of a commercial plane.
The documents contained information about protecting the Super Bowl from terrorism along with the travel itinerary and boarding pass of the government scientist in charge of BioTech, a DHS program that operates a nationwide aerosol detection system designed to provide an early warning of a biological attack across all levels of government.
The “important national security” and “For Official Use Only” marked documents contained DHS critiques to a drafted plan in response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday.
As well as several areas listed for improvement targeting problems “some local law enforcement and emergency management agencies” have.
A DHS official told CNN that the identified areas needed for improvement in the draft reports had been addressed before Sunday’s game and that the agency had “great confidence” in its preparedness.
Tyler Q. Houlton, an agency representative, said in a statement, “This exercise was a resounding success and was not conducted in response to any specific, credible threat of a bioterrorism attack.”
CNN reported, they chose to delay the publication of the article until after the Super Bowl following government officials reaching out with concerns of publishing jeopardizing security for the event.
CNN also alleges DHS officials attempted to shut down the publication altogether, arguing the release of the documents could be considered a threat regardless of when it’s published.
No information on why Michael V. Walter, microbiologist carelessly left these sensitive documents for anyone to find or how it was a CNN worker who coincidentally recovered them is available at this time.
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