Committee Examined Vulnerabilities in TSA Security Operations and Diversion of Staff to Southern Border

Jun 25, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2019)—Today, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings convened a hearing examining Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security vulnerabilities and personnel diverted to the southern border entitled, “Identifying, Resolving, and Preventing Vulnerabilities in TSA's Security Operations.”

 

TAKEAWAYS

 

  • Urgent warnings from independent auditors about TSA security operations have languished for years.  Both GAO and the IG have warned that recommendations they have made to address security vulnerabilities have not been fully implemented.

 

  • Last week, TSA sent a response to the Committee with new information showing the extent of personnel diversions.  According to TSA, they have already diverted nearly 200 employees from airports and headquarters to the southern border—including Transportation Security Officers, Supervisors, and Inspectors—as well as an additional 172 Federal Air Marshals.

 

  • These employees are drawn from more than 50 airports across the country, ranging from small, regional airports to the largest, busiest airports in the nation.

 

  • TSA has already approved an additional 294 employees to divert to the southern border, instead of focusing all available resources on implementing open recommendations.

 

  • Congress must step in to ensure that TSA finally addresses unfulfilled recommendations and security vulnerabilities, which is why Chairman Cummings, Chairman Thompson and Oversight Committee Democrats introduced the Covert Testing and Risk Mitigation Improvement Act of 2019 to establish standards for the covert testing processes TSA uses to evaluate its aviation security operations and to require that TSA track and report progress toward mitigation of vulnerabilities in its security operations.  

 

WITNESSES

 

The Honorable David P. Pekoske

Administrator, Transportation Security Administration

Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 

Charles M. Johnson, Jr.

Managing Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues

Government Accountability Office

 

Don Bumgardner

Deputy Assistant Inspector General

Office of Inspector General

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Cummings’ opening statement.

 

Watch Chairman Cummings’ question line.

 

Watch Rep. Holmes Norton’s question line.

 

Watch Rep. Connolly’s question line.

 

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116th Congress