3TSA. Pub. L. No. 107-71, § 105(a), 115 Stat. 597, 606-07(2001) (codified as amended at 49 U.S.C. § 44917). Thefollowing year, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which (among many other things) enlarged TSA’sauthority to shield information from disclosure when itdetermined the release of that information would be “detrimentalto the security of transportation.” Pub. L. No. 107-296,§ 1601(b), 116 Stat. 2135, 2312 (codified as amended at 49U.S.C. § 114(r)). TSA thereafter promulgated regulationsdefining Sensitive Security Information (SSI) to include“[i]nformation concerning the deployments, numbers and operations of . . . Federal Air Marshals,” 49 C.F.R.§ 1520.5(b)(8)(ii), and providing that any unauthorized releaseof such information by federal employees could be grounds for “appropriate personnel actions,”
§ 1520.17.TSA hired Jose Lacson as a Federal Air Marshal in 2002.He worked out of the agency’s Miami field office for the nexteight years. Starting in 2005, Lacson habitually posted on theonline forum Officer.com, using the screen name“INTHEAIRCOP.” He openly identified himself on the forumas a Federal Air Marshal and used a Federal Air Marshal badgeas his avatar. Some of his posts contained musings on life as anair marshal, as well as banter with other forum participants.Other posts discussed TSA’s hiring practices. In particular,several posts written in 2010 purported to reveal the number of air marshals TSA had hired in recent years, the locations of their assignments, and the rates of attrition at various field offices.TSA discovered these posts in June 2010 and traced themto Lacson. Lacson admitted that he was indeed “INTHEAIRCOP.” He swore, however, that many of his posts-- including the detailed figures concerning air marshal staffing-- were false. Lacson denied that he knew or even had access tothe true numbers, locations, or attrition rates of his colleagues.