Super Bowl Anti-Terrorism Documents Found on a Commercial Flight

Sensitive DHS reports were found in the seat-back pocket on a commercial airplane flight.

anti-terrorism documents found
AFP/Getty Images

A CNN employee discovered copies of anti-terrorism documents, along with other sensitive DHS material, in the seat-back pocket of a commercial plane. There was also a travel itinerary and boarding pass of the government scientist in charge of BioWatch, the Department of Homeland Security program that conducted the anthrax drills in preparation for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The documents critiqued the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday. They were marked “For Official Use Only” and “important for national security.” Recipients of the draft “after-action” reports were told to keep them locked up after business hours and to make sure they are shredded before discarding, according to CNN. They were told not to share the contents with anyone who lacked an “operational need-to-know.” The reports were based on exercises designed to evaluate the ability of public health, law enforcement and emergency management officials to engage in a coordinated response if a biological attack happened in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday.

“The biggest consequence of this mistake,” said Juliette Kayyem, a former DHS official who now serves as a CNN contributor, “may have less to do with terrorists knowing our vulnerabilities and more to do with confidence in the Department of Homeland Security. In the end, confidence in the federal government at a time of crisis is what the American public deserves.”

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