Following the Philadelphia Eagles’ stunning victory over the New England Patriots, the franchise’s hometown predictably erupted with joyous (albeit destructive) celebrations. Police were quickly dispatched to locations throughout the city to try and quell the otherwise celebratory unrest. As for the Super Bowl itself, everything security-wise at the Minneapolis-based game seemed just fine. This was largely due to the fact that the authorities had prepared for the worst, which we now know for sure thanks to sensitive anti-terrorism documents a Department of Homeland Security official left on a commercial plane.
According to CNN, one of their employees discovered documents marked “For Official Use Only” and “important for national security” in the seat-back pocket of the commercial airliner they were flying on:
The reports were accompanied by the travel itinerary and boarding pass of the government scientist in charge of BioWatch, the DHS program that conducted the anthrax drills in preparation for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
The reports were based on exercises designed to evaluate the ability of public health, law enforcement and emergency management officials to engage in a coordinated response were a biological attack to be carried out in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday.
According to the documents, which CNN decided not to publish until after the Super Bowl, the drills performed revealed “some local law enforcement and emergency management agencies possess only a cursory knowledge of the BioWatch program and its mission.” In other words, there was room for improvement, though as a DHS official explained to CNN, said areas had all been addressed prior to Sunday’s game. As for the documents themselves, additional warnings advised readers to “[lock them] up after business hours and to shred them prior to discarding.” Oops.