Screening the TSA. According to the Government Accountability Office, misconduct among Transportation Security Agency (TSA) workers rose 26 percent in the last three years. The report cites more than 9,000 cases, including employees sleeping on the job, letting family and friends go through security without being screened, leaving work without permission, and stealing. Investigators determined almost one-quarter of the incidents could have posed security threats. But the American Federation of Government Employees says despite the infractions, most TSA workers do a great job: “If you look at a population the size of a small city—56,000 people in this work force—and the numbers then on an annual basis are then really, really small,” said David Borer, a union representative.
Data collection. The National Security Administration (NSA) released more documents today detailing how its digital surveillance programs work. The documents stress that the government only collects metadata—time, duration, and recipient—for email and phone calls and does not review content. But the documents also show concern within the agency about how many people have access to the information, revelations that make it clear Edward Snowden didn’t have much difficulty digging out the data he eventually leaked to London’s Guardian newspaper. During a Senate committee hearing this morning, NSA officials continued to defend the data tracking as vital to United States security interests.
Talking and driving. The driver of a Spanish train that derailed last week, killing 79 passengers, was on the phone with the ticket conductor at the time of the crash. Driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, who has been charged with negligent homicide, revealed the identity of the person he was talking to in a Madrid courtroom today. Officials reviewing black box recordings recovered from the crash site discovered Amo was on the phone but did not know who he was talking to. Investigators have zeroed in on the driver’s actions as the likely cause of the crash. The express train, headed to Santiago de Compostela, flew off the tracks after taking a curve at twice the normal speed. Amo initially said he knew he was going too fast but couldn’t slow down in time.
Compensated? The federal government has agreed to pay $4.1 million to compensate a California college student for being left in a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) interrogation room for five days without food or water. Agents left Daniel Chong, 25, in a 5-by-10-foot windowless room after apparently forgetting he was there. Chong was arrested on April 20, 2012, as part of a raid at the University of California San Diego. He was never charged. The agents who eventually found him had trouble figuring out who he was. A psychologist has diagnosed him with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The DEA has ordered a review of its procedures following the incident.