Exclusive: TSA agent’s notebook discovered in public place


UPDATE: To those of you concerned about whether or not the spiral binding on the front of the notepad above is the same as the one pictured below, here is a closer look at the inside.


What would you say if I told you that one of the federal agents who ventured to travel writer Steven Frischling’s house to issue a subpoena and search his electronic equipment for the source of the agency’s leaked security directive (SD) also happened to leave his notebook lying in a public place?

Would you define such a misstep as complete ineptitude?

Would you wonder how the agency protects the information it gleans from other – more important – investigations (you know, ones involving threats against our nation)?

A source with knowledge of the situation tells me that one of the two agents tasked with discovering the source of the SD leak left his notebook in a public area.

A TSA spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Here is what I’d like to know from the agency:

Has the special agent in question contacted the TSA about misplacing his notebook?

Can the TSA offer any sort of explanation for why the agent’s notebook ended up in a public place (in this case, the street)?

Considering the sensitivity of an agent’s notebook, what type of protocol (if any) is the agency putting into place to ensure that this does not occur again?

To satisfy my own curiosity, I must also wonder how many missteps can one government agency make in the span of four weeks? You may recall that the TSA’s ‘Screening Management Standard Operating Procedure” was published on the Internet in early December.

Note to the President and Congress – We needed a TSA administrator yesterday!

Keep an eye on this space for further updates.

Shall we file this in the “you just can’t make this stuff up” category?


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51 Responses to Exclusive: TSA agent’s notebook discovered in public place

  1. Trollkiller January 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Would you check and see if my name is in there please.

  2. John Frenaye January 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    That’s OK, as long as he did not leave his super secret decoder ring!

  3. someguy January 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    While keeping your source is of course important, is there any more information, or anything in the notebook, you can provide that proves this is one of the TSA agent’s notebooks?

  4. Mary Kirby January 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    Nothing that makes sense for me to post. I’m sure you understand.

  5. Political Humor January 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    Yeah I’m curious about its authenticity. I do not doubt it although I am curious.

  6. nova January 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    Maxwell Smart spoofed the secret agents in the 1960′s. Now he looks like he should head the TSA, or be National Security Direcktor.

  7. anon January 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Note to the President and Congress – We needed a TSA administrator yesterday!

    Do you really think that’s the problem? Cuz the real problem is that this ridiculous bureaucracy is missing a figurehead? Some presidential friend/crony to knock a few heads together and it’ll all be ship-shape?

  8. Mary Kirby January 3, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    The lack of a TSA administrator is certainly not the only problem and certainly not going to be a cure-all.

  9. Marrz January 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow, I kinda always knew TSA was incompetent but this just is worse then I thought.

  10. Mike123 January 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Remember, while the TSA and Dept. of Homeland Security was watching me, a terrorist was able to board a US bound plan with explosive underwear, no passport, and a cash paid one-way ticket.

    Thanks TSA.

  11. rob January 3, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Just by looking at the chicken scratch on the first page, I get the impression that this is authentic.

    Would be nice if you can scan and submit the complete book and black out names and numbers.

    It was left in a public space and is now open to the public.

    If nothing important is noted, that just adds more fuel to the fire that the TSA is as useless as thought.

    Good on you for the post.

  12. PissedOffAmerican January 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Do the guy a favor, and feed it to your dog.

  13. Dorothy Kernaghan-Baez January 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    This just gets weirder and weirder. What a bunch of jack-asses.

  14. a new twitter follower January 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Did you notice what is printed on the bottom of the notebook cover? “Created with Pride by Americans who are Blind”. Is that not a perfect description of the TSA?

  15. Mary Kirby January 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    I did indeed. I debated on whether or not to highlight that fact, and ultimately decided that I didn’t want to insult blind people.

  16. Michael Becker January 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Why does the cover of the notebook show wire strung through 14 holes, but the opened page only shows wire going through 13 holes?

  17. Micah January 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    The skilcraft brand is the brand that the government uses. The federal post that I work at uses there pens and notepads.

    The funny part is that he marked his notepad as “SSI” at the top. “Sensitive Security Information.”

    There are very strict rules as to how to protect SSI. Leaving it in the street doesn’t cut it.

    If SC Senator DeMint would stop the block on the TSA Admin appointment, maybe they’d be doing a bit better.

  18. Joe January 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    “If SC Senator DeMint would stop the block on the TSA Admin appointment, maybe they’d be doing a bit better.”

    Yeah, this definitely wouldn’t have happened if the bloated fed bureaucracy had one more name on the payroll….jeez, they probably could have stopped the Underwear Bandit if they just had one more political appointee. Yes, that’s exactly the problem – not enough political hacks.

  19. PacWal January 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Usually when Kojaks make mistakes they take it out on the people they are “protecting”.

    This inept fed will probably spend a few weeks harassing bloggers until the heat from his mistake is gone.

    For the next few weeks the person who broke this story has to be careful about doing things like pouring rancid milk down the drain (“attempted sabotage of the water supply”) and spilling gas at the chevron station (“felonious dispersal of explosive liquid”).

  20. PacWal January 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    For the next few weeks the person who broke this story has to be careful about doing things like pouring rancid milk down the drain (“attempted sabotage of the water supply”) and spilling gas at the chevron station (“felonious dispersal of explosive liquid”).

  21. RM3 Frisker FTN January 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    Don’t Worry. The new Federal Health Care Agencies (~ 130 in total) will not foul up your health care as badly as TSA has fouled up air travel (Come on through you strapping young buck teenager from Islamic country. Now Granny, walk through the metal detector, leave that oxygen bottle behind you)

  22. steve January 4, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    He’ll definitely be looking for it when he makes it to his thinking chair!

  23. Shane January 4, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Skilcraft is commonly used throughout the government. Apparently the government has been buying things they make for over 70 years, and it employs over 5,000 blind Americans in over 44 states. Sounds like win-win to me.

  24. Shawn January 4, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    One thing you all need to remember…when you say TSA you are also referring to the people who work hard at airports doing something they do believe. Maybe not all of them but I know at least in my city most of them do. They are NOT the issue.

    These bozo Management types from Homeland Security are the ones you should be addressing.

  25. PacWal January 4, 2010 at 1:44 am #


    The thing kept saying “internal server error”…
    so I kept going back and reclicking it.

  26. Cadavre January 4, 2010 at 2:13 am #

    Were there any full body scan images between the pages that were stuck together?

  27. Bill W January 4, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Obviously this moron has been promoted due to his intelligence and education.

    He was interviewing a happy journalist.. which is TSA Lingo is Joyrnalist… He is at the high 5 percentile of his associates. Which includes the head of TSA. Sorry to insult toilets.

  28. slothrop January 4, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Not only that, look how he/she obvioulsy struggled with the spelling of “journalist”! Looks like the work of a 4th-grader.

  29. Mary Kirby January 4, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    No worries. It’s not your fault. The system has been exhibiting a few quirks, lately, but I’ve just sorted out the repeats. Thanks.

  30. Maabel January 4, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    TSA has the worst “job satisfaction” scores for the entire government. The number of TSA “officers” caught stealing is mind-numbing. “Integrity, Team Spirit, Innovation” is sewn around the border of the new TSA patch.
    Have you EVER seen an organization that had to sew a reminder not to STEAL, LIE, and CHEAT on their own shoulders!!!! They STEAL from the “confiscated” items, BACK-STAB the PASSENGERS (and their CO-Workers) and “INNOVATIVELY” CHEAT on their own tests. The TSA is specificly designed to lull the American Public into passively accepting random, pointless, searches at the whim of the government. Look at them. TSA screeners are being trained to be smiling and polite. WHY? To appear benign and unthreatening as they strip you of your Freedom. Look at their faces, if YOU seriously believed the next passenger might be an armed and murderously suicidal killer, would you be all relaxed and cheery? If you seriously believed that the next suitcase you open may blow you to Kingdom Come, would you be a Perky Pixie? If you do NOT believe that ……… WHY ARE YOU HERE!?

    Security Theater ………… and POOR theater at that.

  31. Ed January 4, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    13 holes in each, the end of the strand is inserted in the last hole to stop it unravelling, but this is only visible on the outside.

    Don’t work for the TSA do you? anything you need help with?

  32. Uwe January 4, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Don’t think in “Kojak” terms.

    Think in “Columbo” terms!

    And the premise to think about is:
    What does one want to detract from
    when appearing as “dimwhitted imbeciles”
    in public is actively sought after
    by this institution?

    And what about the stuff the Haskels wrote about:

  33. Mary Kirby January 4, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    I’ve just updated the blog to show a close-up of the inside spiral.

  34. PissedOffAmerican January 4, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Geez, a few here worried about it being a fake notebook, when they should be worried about it being fake security.

    There has never been a more epic scam ran on the American peopple than this boogie man ridden con-job known as the “GWOT”.

    Look what they’ve done as a result of putting the Al Qaeda monster under your beds….


    Wars based on lies.

    Perjuries before Congress.

    The Patriot Act.

    Trillions pissed down the drain.

    AG’s that pursue “justice” on the whims of our President, instead of by the letter of the law.

    Cronyism on an unprecedented scale, allowing inept and criminal private corporations to amass obscene wealth through the institution of premanent war.

    The list goes on ad infinitum.

    Our government’s foreign policy can be summed up in one word……


  35. Ed Smithe January 4, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    A TSA administrator isn’t going to make a difference, especially a TSA administrator that can’t seem to get his story straight regarding his “research” into his ex-wife.

    Regarding the notebook, I’d be careful posting that online. Note the top of the page “SSI.” SSI is an acronym for Sensitive Security Information. While it’s not classified, it is protected information (similar to the information they didn’t give to the NYPD regarding Air Force One’s flyover–that was stamped “FOUO.”

    Here’s a decent summary of what SSI means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_Security_Information

  36. Jetdillo January 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    If I didn’t think your personal health and safety would be at risk, I would be jumping up and down for you to post the whole thing. People need to start losing their jobs over this kind of stuff. This is just pure, rank incompetence. If my tax money is going to be used to fund these goons, I really want much better performance out of them.

  37. Chimputator January 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Wow! You mean they can read and write? Will wonders never cease?

  38. Pacwal January 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    UWE, the new “tsa” and “homeland security” and whatever other agencies are not really kojaks or Columbos I guess. They’re more a bunch of federal Mr Magoo’s.

    They’re not deliberately incompetent though, they just are doing a job that competent people would not do. There finally is a demand for mall cops at the federal level.

    The whole Iraq war, global terror etc thing is such a scam.

    90% of the terrorists that exist would not have existed if we had not invaded Iraq. The other 10% were/are dangerous, but not as dangerous as the new gestapo may become.

    Here’s an excellent video link by one of the “911 fringe” groups. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2144933190875239407&hl=en or http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2144933190875239407&hl=en

  39. danajm January 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    I am trying to figure out what TSA has to do with someone boarding a plane in Nigeria?

  40. PissedOffAmerican January 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    If you’re near an urban center, run a google on murders in your city, and check out how many qualify as “gang violence”.

    It would be interesting to know the odds of being victimized by a radicalized Muslim, compared to the odds of being a victim of gang violence. I know for myself, I am far more likely to get shot by a gang member than I am likely to get offed by some crazed Yemeni, or a postal Cuban. I wonder how much money these crooks in Washington spend on reducing gang violence as opposed to how much they spend on bombing Muslims in foreign lands???

    And how about our southern borders? If we truly are threatened by terrorism from Cuba, or Yemen, or Afganistan, or etc., when will these lying sacks of crap in DC start treating border SECURITY as a SECURITY issue, instead of an immigration issue? If I’m inclined to bring in a biological or chemical weapon capable of inflicting mass casualties, would I attempt to smuggle it onto an aircraft, or would I simply pay some mule a coupla thousand bucks to guide me on a Saturday afternoon stroll over the border, picnic lunch in hand.

    Billions of dollars, the Patriot Act, intrusive and draconian security at the airports, illegal evesdropping, torture and mayhem, and some halfwit rich kid with an Al Qaeda fantasy can get on an airplane sporting an exploding scrotum.

    And the guys that REALLY wanna put on a show, if in fact they exist, can simply skip-to-my-lou from Tijuana into San Diego.

    Oh dear.

  41. PacWal January 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    PissedOffAmerican wrote “It would be interesting to know the odds of being victimized by a radicalized Muslim, compared to the odds of being a victim of gang violence.”

    Thats not the bad part.

    More than 121 times as many people have been killed in the Afghanistan & Iraq wars than in all terrorist attacks in the world from 1993-2004, according to data compiled by the US State Department.

    About 283 times more people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the attacks of 9-11-2001.

    After the 2004 report showed terrorism at an all-time high, numerous experts suggested that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fueling an increase in terrorism.
    Subsequent State Department terror tallies have remained classified.


  42. Auduboner January 5, 2010 at 2:13 am #

    Oh, you got that all right! lolol… I know a half dozen places – well-trod, unguarded paths – where you can walk from Canada into the U.S., no more than 30 miles from some mid-size cities. So I’m betting it’s even easier to stroll over that southern border, if you are in hiking shape!

  43. PissedOffAmerican January 5, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Today the Bakersfield Airport was shut down for hours. Flights sat on the tarmac, the people in the terminal were evacuated, and incoming flights were diverted to Los Angeles.

    Two TSA employees, opened a passenger’s bags, and discovered multiple jars filled with an unknown substance.

    The first news report I heard….

    Explosives found.

    The second news report I heard…

    Mysterious liquids found, Hazmat responding, two TSA employees hospitalized.

    Third news report…..

    TSA employees being treated on scene for “dizziness and nausea”.

    Possible hazardous substance found and being analyzed by moon suited Hazmat technicians.

    “Person of interest” detained for questioning.

    Fourth news report, heard on the way home from work.

    A mexican fellow, who is a bee keeper, was coming into Bakersfield to visit family, and he figured they might like some honey.

    And the “dizzy and nauseated” TSA guys??? Overcome by the fumes generated when the honey was being tested.

    Feel safer now?

  44. llewis January 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Notebook looks legit to me. Skillcraft is a major supplier of the federal government.

  45. Mary Kirby January 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I’ve just posted a follow-up…check out the very first blog on my site. The TSA has confirmed the loss of the notebook!

  46. ComanchePilot January 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Why are we constantly talking about the same tired things . . . TSA, if it continues to exist, needs to actually start to perform intelligent security tasks. This means you determine who may be a risk and you concentrate your resources on the most likely source of a threat. This be Bubba C Johnson from Jerkwater NC who thinks he can travel with his pistol disassembled and concealed in various parts of his anatomy or carry on bag. It may be the medicare granny who is angry at the gubmint for taking away her medicare plan. Mostly likely however, are Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 45 from places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and places like around the world. The threat is not John Q. Public. Mr. Public, or granny, or Bubba have NEVER actually hijacked airplanes and flown them into buildings, or tried to blow up either their shos or balls. Once again, it is Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 45.

    If the cops get a report about a kidnapped girl in a white panel van, they are not going to spend an equal amount of time inspection convertible Porsches as they do white panel vans. However, what the TSA does is act like that cop who hears that a Muslim has kidnapped a girl in white panel van and instead stops all the convertible Porsches instead of white panel vans.

    Time to profile the threat. If you really want to isolate the threat – lets ban all Muslim males between 15 and 45 from certain nations from traveling to the West. Not just the US. End of story. Maybe then they would self-police.

  47. Frequentflier January 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    You realize that he didn’t board in the US, right? TSA had nothing to do with that. CIA dropped the ball on this one. Amsterdam does not have the same screening as the US. Most (although I’m sure not all) of the problems that airline security will have to deal with in the U.S. starts in other countries. It also doesn’t help that we have idiots that post every piece of security information that is found to be sure the terrorists know our next step… media sucks

  48. Jerome Jamie February 20, 2010 at 10:50 pm #

    Great blog. Keep up the good writing.

  49. Carroline March 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Ive only got a few weeks left to go, until my first baby girl arrives. When will my nesting instincts start.

  50. Refurbished Computers September 18, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    So, we now know how “Hot Shorts” got on the airplane? The TSA agent assigned to hand carry the database information from the embassy liason dropped his little notepad and so it never made it into the “No-Fly” database?

  51. Dollie Krivak October 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    I got ripped off by “Rajeev Scaria” and “omspchannel”. If you need an Adesnse account, DO NOT trust these people or do business with them. Use someone else!