I recently spoke with Douglas Blair, Chief of the Sensitive Security Information (SSI) Program of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) component. When it comes to determining what is considered Sensitive Security Information, the buck stops with Mr. Blair. To Mr. Blair, It doesn't matter if a regulation states very plainly what is in fact a rule and when that rule is violated then reported, the report itself becomes only an Interpretation of the Rule according to Mr. Blair. No other explanation is needed according to Mr. Blair.
Some may consider this a problem. A loose end.
I disagree with Mr. Blair and say Rules should never be interpreted, because the moment a rule is interpreted, its no longer a Rule, its merely vapor. Why should a rule be interpreted especially when it comes to the protection of a regulated facility that stores or transports Chemicals of Interest. Secondly, when interpretation is brought in the mix, its a waste of tax payers money and eventually the attorneys will do their part to muddy any 'critical issue'. Thirdly and most important, innocent people are injured or die when Rules are ignored, knowing they can be interpreted.
An extreme example of ignoring Rules is when Operators develop an entitlement condition and think Rules don't apply to them:
An email with a detailed picture of an integrated Access Control Panel is sent from a manufacturing company specializing in Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems by their lead technician and shared with a company that is not under any Confidentiality or Non Disclosure Agreement and that email (and picture) details the inside of the main Access Control panel, including wiring, panel mfg, integration details, inside of the panel door and when the picture includes a window and partial view of a truck outside, this may be considered a security sensitive email. The email & photograph are now a record.
As defined by CFR § 1520.5 - Sensitive security information. The rule states:
§ 1520.5 Sensitive security information.(a)In general. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 114(s), SSI is information obtained or developed in the conduct of security activities, including research and development, the disclosure of which TSA has determined would - (1) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy (including, but not limited to, information contained in any personnel, medical, or similar file); (2) Reveal trade secrets or privileged or confidential information obtained from any person; or (3) Be detrimental to the security of transportation. (b)Information constituting SSI. Except as otherwise provided in writing by TSA in the interest of public safety or in furtherance of transportation security, the following information, and records containing such information, constitute SSI: (1)Security programs and contingency plans. Any security program or security contingency plan issued, established, required, received, or approved by DOT or DHS, including any comments, instructions, or implementing guidance, including - (i) Any aircraft operator, airport operator, fixed base operator, or air cargo security program, or security contingency plan under this chapter; (ii) Any vessel, maritime facility, or port area security plan required or directed under Federal law; (iii) Any national or area security plan prepared under 46 U.S.C. 70103; and (iv) Any security incident response plan established under 46 U.S.C. 70104. (2)Security Directives. Any Security Directive or order - (i) Issued by TSA under 49 CFR 1542.303, 1544.305, 1548.19, or other authority; (ii) Issued by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act, 33 CFR part 6, or 33 U.S.C. 1221et seq. related to maritime security; or (iii) Any comments, instructions, and implementing guidance pertaining thereto. (3)Information Circulars. Any notice issued by DHS or DOT regarding a threat to aviation or maritime transportation, including any - (i) Information circular issued by TSA under 49 CFR 1542.303, 1544.305, 1548.19, or other authority; and (ii) Navigation or Vessel Inspection Circular issued by the Coast Guard related to maritime security. (4)Performance specifications. Any performance specification and any description of a test object or test procedure, for - (i) Any device used by the Federal Government or any other person pursuant to any aviation or maritime transportation security requirements of Federal law for the detection of any person, and any weapon, explosive, incendiary, or destructive device, item, or substance; and (ii) Any communications equipment used by the Federal government or any other person in carrying out or complying with any aviation or maritime transportation security requirements of Federal law. (5)Vulnerability assessments. Any vulnerability assessment directed, created, held, funded, or approved by the DOT, DHS, or that will be provided to DOT or DHS in support of a Federal security program. (6)Security inspection or investigative information. (i) Details of any security inspection or investigation of an alleged violation of aviation, maritime, or rail transportation security requirements of Federal law that could reveal a security vulnerability, including the identity of the Federal special agent or other Federal employee who conducted the inspection or audit. (ii) In the case of inspections or investigations performed by TSA, this includes the following information as to events that occurred within 12 months of the date of release of the information: the name of the airport where a violation occurred, the airport identifier in the case number, a description of the violation, the regulation allegedly violated, and the identity of any aircraft operator in connection with specific locations or specific security procedures. Such information will be released after the relevant 12-month period, except that TSA will not release the specific gate or other location on an airport where an event occurred, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since its occurrence. During the period within 12 months of the date of release of the information, TSA may release summaries of an aircraft operator's, but not an airport operator's, total security violations in a specified time range without identifying specific violations or locations. Summaries may include total enforcement actions, total proposed civil penalty amounts, number of cases opened, number of cases referred to TSA or FAA counsel for legal enforcement action, and number of cases closed. (7)Threat information. Any information held by the Federal government concerning threats against transportation or transportation systems and sources and methods used to gather or develop threat information, including threats against cyber infrastructure. (8)Security measures. Specific details of aviation, maritime, or rail transportation security measures, both operational and technical, whether applied directly by the Federal government or another person, including - (i) Security measures or protocols recommended by the Federal government; (ii) Information concerning the deployments, numbers, and operations of Coast Guard personnel engaged in maritime security duties and Federal Air Marshals, to the extent it is not classified national security information; and (iii) Information concerning the deployments and operations of Federal Flight Deck Officers, and numbers of Federal Flight Deck Officers aggregated by aircraft operator. (iv) Any armed security officer procedures issued by TSA under 49 CFR part 1562. (9)Security screening information. The following information regarding security screening under aviation or maritime transportation security requirements of Federal law: (i) Any procedures, including selection criteria and any comments, instructions, and implementing guidance pertaining thereto, for screening of persons, accessible property, checked baggage, U.S. mail, stores, and cargo, that is conducted by the Federal government or any other authorized person. (ii) Information and sources of information used by a passenger or property screening program or system, including an automated screening system. (iii) Detailed information about the locations at which particular screening methods or equipment are used, only if determined by TSA to be SSI. (iv) Any security screener test and scores of such tests. (v) Performance or testing data from security equipment or screening systems. (vi) Any electronic image shown on any screening equipment monitor, including threat images and descriptions of threat images for threat image projection systems. (10)Security training materials.Records created or obtained for the purpose of training persons employed by, contracted with, or acting for the Federal government or another person to carry out aviation, maritime, or rail transportation security measures required or recommended by DHS or DOT. (11)Identifying information of certain transportation security personnel. (i) Lists of the names or other identifying information that identify persons as - (A) Having unescorted access to a secure area of an airport, a rail secure area, or a secure or restricted area of a maritime facility, port area, or vessel; (B) Holding a position as a security screener employed by or under contract with the Federal government pursuant to aviation or maritime transportation security requirements of Federal law, where such lists are aggregated by airport; (C) Holding a position with the Coast Guard responsible for conducting vulnerability assessments, security boardings, or engaged in operations to enforce maritime security requirements or conduct force protection; (D) Holding a position as a Federal Air Marshal; or (ii) The name or other identifying information that identifies a person as a current, former, or applicant for Federal Flight Deck Officer. (12)Critical aviation, maritime, or rail infrastructure asset information. Any list identifying systems or assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the aviation, maritime, or rail transportation system (including rail hazardous materialsshippers and rail hazardous materials receivers) that the incapacity or destruction of such assets would have a debilitating impact on transportation security, if the list is - (i) Prepared by DHS or DOT; or (ii) Prepared by a State or local government agency and submitted by the agency to DHS or DOT. (13)Systems security information. Any information involving the security of operational or administrative data systems operated by the Federal government that have been identified by the DOT or DHS as critical to aviation or maritime transportation safety or security, including automated information security procedures and systems, security inspections, and vulnerability information concerning those systems. (14)Confidential business information. (i) Solicited or unsolicited proposals received by DHS or DOT, and negotiations arising therefrom, to perform work pursuant to a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other transaction, but only to the extent that the subject matter of the proposal relates to aviation or maritime transportation security measures; (ii) Trade secret information, including information required or requested by regulation or Security Directive, obtained by DHS or DOT in carrying out aviation or maritime transportation security responsibilities; and (iii) Commercial or financial information, including information required or requested by regulation or Security Directive, obtained by DHS or DOT in carrying out aviation or maritime transportation security responsibilities, but only if the source of the information does not customarily disclose it to the public. (15)Research and development. Information obtained or developed in the conduct of research related to aviation, maritime, or rail transportation security activities, where such research is approved, accepted, funded, recommended, or directed by DHS or DOT, including research results. (16)Other information. Any information not otherwise described in this section that TSA determines is SSI under 49 U.S.C. 114(s) or that the Secretary of DOT determines is SSI under 49 U.S.C. 40119. Upon the request of another Federal agency, TSA or the Secretary of DOT may designate as SSI information not otherwise described in this section. (c)Loss of SSI designation.TSA or the Coast Guard may determine in writing that information or records described in paragraph (b) of this section do not constitute SSI because they no longer meet the criteria set forth in paragraph (a) of thi [69 FR 28082, May 18, 2004, as amended at 70 FR 41599, July 19, 2005; 71 FR 30507, May 26, 2006; 73 FR 72172, Nov. 26, 2008; 74 FR 47695, Sept. 16, 2009]
Rules (Regulations) mean nothing if they can be interpreted various ways.