MINNEAPOLIS (WFLA) — A passenger found something unusual in the back pocket of an airplane seat — documents from the Department of Homeland Security detailing anti-terrorism preparations for the Super Bowl.
Most of the 78 pages, found by a CNN employee, were marked “For Official Use Only.” The documents contained details about what to do in the event of a biological attack during Sunday’s big game.
The report specifically includes handling instructions that say, “At a minimum, this document should be stored in a locked drawer after business hours.”
“The contents should not be shared with individuals who do not have an operational need-to-know,” it adds. “The document should be shredded before discarding.”
The documents also included the travel itinerary of a senior manager at the Department of Homeland Security – the man who is in charge of the government’s detection and response to a bio-terror attack.
“Look I’m not gonna pretend that this is America’s crown jewels. On the other hand, it is obviously significant that these were left behind,” said Juliette Kayyem, the former assistant secretary for the department. “One, it shows sort of casualness about the safety and security that we’re promising our state and local partners when we do these exercises and training. Secondly, who knows who else could have picked this up.”
The reports are based on two Department of Homeland Security exercises that simulated an anthrax attack at the Super Bowl. It included what worked well, along with the shortcomings that were exposed during the training.
After finding the documents, CNN notified the department to let government officials know. The news agency did not disclose the most sensitive information in the documents.
CNN did not report the story until after the Super Bowl because officials with the Department of Homeland Security said making the documents public beforehand could have jeopardized safety.