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The Department of Homeland Security Accidentally Left an Anti-Terrorism Drill Behind on A Flight

Documents that detail an alleged drill to a hypothetical anthrax attack on the Super Bowl were discovered on an airplane – along with the itinerary and boarding pass of a government employee – despite the warning of “important for national security.” Federal government officials have not responded to the report’s contents.

Of all the things to leave in the seat-back pocket, one news agency found more than they bargained for: documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) drill for a simulated anthrax attack at Super Bowl LII. CNN reports one of their employees found the documents while flying aboard an airline, along with the boarding pass and itinerary of a federal employee.

The documents are marked “For Official Use Only” and “Important for national security,” and provide detail on exercises lead by BioWatch, a government program inside the DHS. The drill focused on an early warning aerosol detection of anthrax being released inside the stadium.

The exercises were held in July and November. Among the critiques were that local law enforcement did not understand what BioWatch was. Although the exercises were complete, the documents were found on a commercial airplane prior to the Super Bowl – even though the document cautioned the reader not to share contents with those who did not have an “operational need to know,” and demanded the documents be destroyed after reading.

While the supposed reports were written to show areas of weakness, national security experts say that they should have never been found on a commercial airplane. If they ended up in the wrong hands, it could have resulted in major troubles.

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

Although the documents were found before the big game, DHS officials requested that CNN not publish their story until after the completion of the Super Bowl. The news organization could not verify who exactly left the reports on the airplane.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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1StRanger February 12, 2018

The title is awkward: "The Department of Homeland Security Accidentally Left an Anti-Terrorism Drill Behind on A Flight" You cannot leave a "drill" in this meaning ("the act or exercise ...") "on a flight". It the documentation for the drill that was left.