I don't much like DHS, and I really don't like TSA, but I'm cool with DHSOIG because it seems to be genuinely trying to get TSA to shape up, even if TSA just ignores it.
That's the DHS Office of the Inspector General, which has released report after report pointing out TSA mistakes and buffoonery, my favorite of which is now OIG-15-45, "Allegation of Granting Expedited Screening Through TSA Pre[Check] Improperly [Redacted]," even if it is redacted. This is a remarkable document.
Here's what happened (sorry if this is hard to read—the document appears to be "secured" against cutting and pasting):
Just to be clear, although the identity of Sufficiently Notorious Convicted Felon (hereinafter, "Felon") has been redacted, the federal government believes this about him/her: "The traveler is a former member of a domestic terrorist group. While a member, the traveler was involved in numerous felonious criminal activities that led to arrest and conviction. After serving a multiple-year sentence, the traveler was released from prison."
These criminal activities included "murder and offenses that involve explosives." We know that because TSA concluded that Felon was not actually a member of TSA Pre[Check]. Or, at least, TSA did not find a record of this person applying to be a member. Nor was Felon just in the Pre[Check] lane because they weren't busy or something like that; Felon's boarding pass actually had Pre[Check] marking on it, including an encrypted barcode. It appears, although most of the relevant stuff is redacted, that Felon was somehow cleared through the Secure Flight program, which allows such people to print their own boarding passes.
Exactly how this happened is, of course, redacted, but may have to do with the various "no-fly lists." I infer that from the fact that OIG made a recommendation that had to do with these lists (the recommendation itself is redacted), and TSA told it to get lost. Had the relevant intelligence/law-enforcement communities felt this person was a risk, TSA responded, they'd have put him/her on a list (so this person clearly was not on such a list). So it's the list-makers' fault, according to TSA.
But wait. Whoever this Sufficiently Notorious Convicted Felon might be, he or she is or has been sufficiently well known that the TSA agent at the checkpoint recognized the person "based on media coverage." (It's not the Unabomber, I assume. Any guesses?) The agent alerted a supervisor to this fact, and even bumped it up an additional level. According to the report, the supervisor "then directed the TSO to take no further action and allow the traveler through …." The system works! Or not?
The explanation here may be the "domestic terrorist" classification, because as we've discussed before, the word "terrorist" is applied very liberally (so to speak) these days. Maybe the supervisor also recognized the person and thought he or she was wrongfully accused? The reference to a conviction for murder makes me hesitate here, but I don't know what the explanation might be otherwise.
I am of course trying to find out, because I am having trouble guessing, who Notorious Convicted Felon might be, let alone what it takes to be "sufficiently" notorious. Surely someone knows or has guessed? Please advise if so.
Update: This post was getting to be pretty long, so I'm moving the guesses to date, along with a short summary of the evidence, into a separate post.