The PDF was filled with specifics regarding how passengers are screened at security checkpoints at airports. Not just little tidbits of info, but SECRET stuff, like which 12 passports will instantly get you shunted over for secondary screening simply by showing them to the ID-checking agent. There were details on the calibration process of the metal detectors and the procedure for screening foreign dignitaries.
The folks that released this document knew that there was sensitive information contained within the PDF because they redacted the delicate sections (redacted documents are documents that have had sensitive information removed or blacked out). But did they redact the information?
TSA employees apparently drew black boxes over the secret information. Huh? That's not redacting... that's covering! ANYONE can see what's underneath the black box if they simply know how to copy and paste. Doesn't make you feel too safe when flying if this is how the TSA handles sensitive material issues.
In Acrobat 8, Adobe included a set of redaction tools to virtually eliminate text or sections of a PDF page. True PDF redactions are thorough and irreversible. In Acrobat 9, the redaction tools have been enhanced and allow for automatic file renaming and advanced Search and Redact option.
There are training classes in Acrobat 9 Professional. If your workflow entails using PDF files, you can guess at how to do things. The TSA did, and fortunately someone caught their COLOSSAL mistake--hopefully in time. In the mean time, an unknown number of TSA employees have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. A smarter (and safer) decision would have been to take a class from an Adobe Certified Instructor... like me. Click here for more information and class dates.
And now, some more infamous bad redactions through history: