Legislative Activity

Lawmakers Respond to Results of TSA Internal Investigation

Upon news that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners failed to detect prohibited items in 67 out of 70 test cases conducted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General undercover teams, the acting TSA Administrator was reassigned and replaced by Acting TSA Deputy Administrator Mark Hatfield. Undercover agents posed as passengers and attempted to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through airport checkpoints.

President Obama has nominated Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger to serve as TSA Administrator and Assistant Secretary at DHS. His nomination is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this week, following his approval by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee last week. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson also called for a detailed briefing from the DHS Inspector General and directed TSA to implement a series of immediate and near-term actions.

Both House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) issued statements expressing concerns with TSA’s ability to prevent weapons from getting onto airplanes, calling the test results disturbing and alarming.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on TSA oversight with DHS Inspector General John Roth and other government representatives this week, and continued scrutiny from Capitol Hill will certainly follow.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, June 9: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Oversight of the Transportation Security Administration: First-Hand and Government Watchdog Accounts of Agency Challenges.”
  • Wednesday, June 10: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger to serve as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Wednesday, June 10: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communication will hold a hearing titled “Defense Support of Civil Authorities: A Vital Resource in the Nation’s Homeland Security Missions.”