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Senators Question TSA Denials

Wired has a follow-up reporting on the controversy surrounding the airline companies hand-over passanger data to government contractors (TSA)designing and testing CAPPSII in 2002.

Two senators on Wednesday asked the Transportation Security Administration whether the agency violated federal rules by helping its contractors acquire passenger data, and why the agency told government investigators it didn’t have such data.

The senators also pressed the TSA for an explanation of why it hadn’t revealed the transfer of millions of passenger records to government contractors. Senate members had asked TSA officials directly whether they had done so, but the answer was no.

Two TSA agency spokesmen also denied to Wired News that any data transfer had taken place, saying that the project did not need data at the time.

But this week, American Airlines became the third airline to reveal that it turned over millions of passenger records to the government without informing the passengers. JetBlue and Northwest Airlines had earlier revealed that they too had transferred passenger records to government contractors. For the past eight months, TSA officials and spokesmen have repeatedly denied that any data transfer occurred. Two senators, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) wrote:

We are concerned by potential Privacy Act and other implications of this reported incident. Moreover, TSA told the press, the General Accounting Office and Congress that it had not used any real-world data to test CAPPS II.

American Airlines has now indicated that it provided over 1 million passenger itineraries at TSA’s request, which raises the question of why agency officials told GAO that it did not have access to such data.

And there was much fudging as you can read in the article

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