Committee to Hold Hearing on TSA Security Vulnerabilities and Personnel Diverted to Southern Border

Jun 24, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 24, 2019)—On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, the Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing to examine aviation security vulnerabilities at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that have languished for years.  The Committee will also examine new information about the diversion of TSA personnel to the southern border and its impact on aviation security operations.

WHERE:  2154 Rayburn House Office Building 

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 25, 2019

TIME:  10:00 a.m.

The hearing will be broadcast here

PURPOSE

The hearing  will examine:  (1) TSA’s failure to address vulnerabilities and outstanding recommendations issued by GAO, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General, and TSA’s own internal inspectors; (2) the need for legislation to require TSA to ensure that its covert tests are risk-informed and yield statistically valid results; and (3) the extent to which diversions of TSA officials to the southern border may be aggravating risks in aviation security operations.

BACKGROUND

  • In April 2019, GAO issued a declassified report in response to a bipartisan request made more than two years ago by then-Ranking Member Cummings, then-Subcommittee Ranking Member Tammy Duckworth, and other Members of Congress. 
  • The report found that TSA’s Office of Security Operations did not use a risk-informed approach to guide its covert tests and that “TSA has limited assurance that Security Operations is targeting the most likely threats.”  GAO also found that, of the “nine security vulnerabilities identified through covert tests” by TSA since 2015, “none had been formally resolved” as of September 2018. 
  • The DHS Inspector General has issued a number of classified reports—including on September 27, 2017, October 24, 2017, and February 13, 2019— identifying multiple security vulnerabilities. 
  • According to the GAO, 22 of their aviation security operation recommendations made to TSA since 2016 have not been fully addressed.  According to the DHS Inspector General, 37 of their aviation security recommendations made to TSA, from 12 separate Inspector General reports dating back to 2014, remain open and unfulfilled.
  • In May 2019, press reports indicated the Trump Administration planned to send TSA officials to the southern border to help with the influx of migrants at the height of the summer travel season. 

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

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116th Congress