Cummings and Duckworth Call on TSA to Immediately Address Security Vulnerabilities

Dec 21, 2018
Press Release
Draft Report Confirms Urgent Need for Reforms

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 21, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to immediately address security vulnerabilities identified in a new classified draft report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The GAO expects to issue the final report in early January 2019.

The GAO’s report was issued in response to a bipartisan request from Cummings, Duckworth, and other previous Members of the Oversight Committee. 

In addition, Cummings and Duckworth have been working with Chairman John Katko and Ranking Member Bonnie Watson Coleman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security within the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Cummings and Duckworth issued the following statement in response to the report:

“Two years ago, we asked GAO to examine how TSA conducts covert tests and how it uses the results of these tests to identify and close security vulnerabilities.  We have now received a draft of the GAO’s classified report, and although we cannot discuss the contents, we are extremely troubled by these findings, which require immediate attention.  TSA must act to fix these issues and to ensure that the agency has the systems and the commitment necessary to resolve vulnerabilities as they are identified.  We also urge the Trump Administration to conduct a de-classification review as soon as possible so we can provide as much information as possible to the American people. Finally, we are making this report available to other committees of jurisdiction in Congress so they can be apprised of this situation and immediately review these findings.”  

In September, Cummings issued a staff report entitled “Urgent Reforms Needed at TSA.”  His report included detailed findings after the Oversight Committee conducted a three-year investigation into security deficiencies and personnel management problems at TSA. 

Based on classified and unclassified information obtained as part of this investigation, Cummings recommended that Congress demand sustained accountability from TSA to require it to implement unfulfilled security recommendations that, in some cases, have languished  for years.  

Cummings also recommended that Congress launch a one-year oversight effort—including regular meetings, briefings, and hearings—to ensure that TSA finally implements these recommendations and resolves security vulnerabilities. 

Cummings also announced the following today:

“The Oversight Committee will be launching a sustained effort over the next year to examine TSA’s processes for addressing vulnerabilities identified in covert tests and for implementing outstanding security recommendations made by GAO, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, and the agency’s own inspectors.”

115th Congress