TSA Slammed In Hearing: ‘Layers of security simply missing’

Steve Ambrose

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee slammed the Transportation Security Administration for their horrendous security inspections record in a hearing Tuesday.

“I think we need a complete overhaul,” Republican Rep. [crscore]John Mica[/crscore] said in the hearing. “I think we need to address risk. I think we’re hassling 99 percent of the people who pose no risk and still have no means of differentiating.”

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General investigators were able to get banned items past TSA security undetected almost 96 percent of the time in a June inspection. (RELATED: GOP Senator: TSA’s 96 Percent Failure Rate Is The Least Of Its Problems)

“In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises, it really was pathetic,” Democratic Rep.[crscore]Stephen Lynch[/crscore] added. “When I say that I mean pitiful.” (RELATED: Report: TSA Failed To ID 73 Aviation Workers Who Were On Terror Watch Lists)

TSA chief Peter Neffenger said in the hearing he was “greatly disturbed by TSA’s failure rate,” but said the outcome strengthened the agency, and “the system as a whole remains effective.” (RELATED: The Worst TSA Is In Oakland)

DHS Inspector General John Roth said the TSA was “assessing risk inappropriately and did not have the ability to perform basic management functions in order to meet the mission the American people expect of it.” TSA culture “resisted oversight and was unwilling to accept the need for change in the face of an evolving and serious threat,” he added.

Roth seemed to disagree with Neffenger’s assessment that—despite the failures—the whole system is working. “We found layers of security simply missing,” he said. “It would be misleading to minimize the rigor of our testing, or to imply that our testing was not an accurate reflection of the effectiveness of the totality of aviation security.”

Jennifer Grover, a director for the Government Accountability Office, said in the hearing the TSA may have used “inaccurate” information to establish the agency is meeting benchmarks, and said it “has consistently fallen shortin basic program management.” (RELATED: Easy To Cheat Obamacare, Medicaid? GAO Says No Sweat)

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