Hoeven Holds Oversight Hearing on TSA to Address Security Lapses Identified in Inspector General's Report

People, Process, Technology Key to Strengthening TSA Checkpoint Security

WASHINGTON – At a hearing Tuesday, Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), called on the new administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to address lapses in security at the agency in a timely and effective way to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

The hearing followed up on a leak of covert testing results conducted by the DHS Inspector General on TSA passenger checkpoints. The IG’s report is classified, as it would reveal specific deficiencies at the checkpoints; however, the information that was leaked to the press raised serious concerns for committee members and the public. Hoeven called the hearing to make sure concrete steps are being taken to remedy the security issues identified in the report.

“Today, the Inspector General issued his final report on the covert testing of TSA checkpoints,” Hoeven said. “Our purpose for today’s hearing is to make sure the TSA and DHS, its parent agency, are acting promptly on the recommendations in the IG’s report and taking all necessary measures to ensure that people can travel safely and efficiently.”

Testifying at the hearing was Peter Neffenger, retired admiral and vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was confirmed as administrator of the TSA at the end of June. Also appearing before the committee was DHS Inspector General John Roth, who conducted the covert testing that found the security lapses. Roth testified that the new administrator is responding to the report and working to change the culture at the agency.

Neffenger said he is working to address the immediate findings. He expressed confidence that the system is safe, but acknowledged the need to do more. He said he is focused on taking steps to ensure that people, processes and technology are working together to enhance safety and convenience.

Hoeven called on the administrator to develop metrics to measure the agency’s progress. Neffenger pledged to establish standards for the security system and to test those standards. The senator said he expects the IG to follow up thoroughly with independent testing and verification.