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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has sought disciplinary action against people responsible for posting online a manual of security measures at U.S. airports, and has called for a probe into the leak.
The 93-page Transportation Security Administration document was posted on a federal procurement website last spring and included procedures and technical details for screening operations, metal detectors and explosives detection systems at U.S. airports.
It was labeled "Sensitive Security Information" and dated May 28, 2008.
Napolitano told a Senate panel that the manual was outdated, but that disciplinary actions have been initiated against those involved in the posting of the document, an outside contractor and TSA supervisors.
"We have also asked the (DHS) inspector general to do his own independent review to supplement and complement our review," she told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"The security of the traveling public has never been put at risk," she said, adding that some of the information from the manual had already been publicly available.
The document posted online also revealed information meant to be kept secret, such as that individuals with passports from a dozen countries should be referred for additional screening. They were Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen and Algeria.
Additionally, it provided sample pictures of the kinds of law enforcement identifications that could be presented at airport checkpoints, ranging from the CIA to members of the U.S. Congress.
"Clearly somebody could take advantage of those things," Republican Senator Jon Kyl told Napolitano, recommending the department assess any potential damage caused by the release of the document.
Security at U.S. airports was heavily boosted after the September 11, 2001 attacks when 19 hijackers commandeered four planes with box cutter knives and crashed three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Frances Kerry)
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