Secure Flight Program Lauded

GAO: TSA Program Complies with Law
Secure Flight Program Lauded
The Government Accountability Office gave a clean bill of health to the Transportation Security Administration's Secure Flight program, a system that matches passenger information against terrorist watch-list records.

According to the GAO audit, TSA - part of the Department of Homeland Security - achieved nine of 10 statutory conditions related to the development of the Secure Flight program. GAO deemed the 10th provision - appropriateness of life-cycle cost estimates and program plans - as conditionally achieved, saying TSA had defined plans but had yet to execute all activities associated with them.

The statutory conditions achieved included:

  • Due process,
  • Misidentifications,
  • Performance of stress testing and efficacy and accuracy of search tools,
  • Establishment of an internal oversight board,
  • Operational safeguards to reduce abuse opportunities,
  • Substantial security measures to prevent unauthorized access by hackers,
  • Effective oversight of system use and operation,
  • No specific privacy concerns with the system's technological architecture and
  • Accommodation of states with unique transportation needs.

GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, recommends that TSA should developed plans to periodically assess the performance of the Secure Flight system's name-matching capabilities, which would help ensure that the system is working as intended.

DHS concurs with GAO's recommendation.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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