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Investigation: Report on TSA Scanning Technology Was Secretly Altered

April 24, 2014 at 5:02 PM | by | ()

This story goes way beyond travel politics - it's likely to reignite a long-simmering national scandal - but there's enough travel news in it that we figured we'd put it on your radar.

For the last year Congress has been conducting a bipartisan investigation into whether a previous inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, modified or delayed his investigations at the behest of administration officials. Edwards's job during his tensure, which went from 2011 to the 2013, was to keep DHS honest.

It turns out that instead of doing that, he was "routinely" drinking and dining with department leaders, and tipping them off to the timing and findings of his investigations.

The top Republican on the committee that's been investigating Edwards declared that "[w]e found that Mr. Edwards was a compromised inspector general... who was not exercising real oversight" and that "any report generated out of his office would be suspect."

Edwards seems to be on the hook for several altered or delayed investigations, but there's one in particular that caught our eye.

DHS had once ordered an investigation of the screening technology that TSA uses (some of which used to be laughingly easy to fool). The Congressional committee discovered that Edwards had added information into his report on the topic at the suggestion of DHS officials. He had also agreed to classify his write-up as "Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information," instead of just "Secret." The upshot is that the new classification made it much more difficult for members of Congress to access the document.

More details are undoubtedly going to emerge as people begin to pore over the results of the investigation. But suffice it to say, this won't exactly dampen all of those conspiracy theories about TSA.

[Photo: CNN / YouTube]

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