The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to demonstrate they’re standing as one of the most incompetent government agencies after revelations emerged on Sunday that they had inadvertently published a photo of their master lock keys.
The incident happened in 2014, meaning that since then baggage thieves around the country have had full access to all the locked luggage of American travelers.
After the September 2011 terrorist attacks the TSA has required only master keyed locks on passenger baggage so that it can search all luggage. Switching to a non-TSA approved lock will result in it being cut off, leaving travellers with no effective option to secure their belongings.
Security researchers have long warned against using master-keyed locks because if thieves get their hands on a single key, they can then open every lock.
Both the Washington Post and the Washington Herald both showed the images and they are now in wide circulation.
Semi-skilled crooks can easily duplicate the keys and there are even online software projects than can produce plans for a key from images far more blurry than the ones the TSA approved.
The latest TSA gaffe comes after it was revealed earlier this year that tens of thousands of the agency’s airport security badges have gone missing over the last year, potentially allowing terrorists unfettered access to the most sensitive parts of the airport, including physical access to aircraft.
The TSA has so far declined to comment on the incident.