Daily Dose: House Hearing Criticizes Size and Scope of the TSA

The Transportation Security Administration has been a hot-bed of House GOP criticism for months, most recently noted by the House Homeland Security transportation subcommittee hearing titled “TSA’s Efforts to Fix Its Poor Customer Service Reputation and Become a Leaner, Smarter Agency.” The title was objected to by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), who claimed that it was unfair to the vast majority of agency workers, including TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. Pistole was present at the hearing to answer questions.

TSA Reputation Comes Under Fire

The hearing focused largely on the size of the TSA, with committee chairman Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.) calling the administration “bloated with personnel” and that “it could reduce its ranks by 30 percent to 40 percent and still be able to do the job just as effectively.” Rogers evidenced 42 TSA employees who failed to conduct secondary screenings at a Fort Meyers, Fla. airport last year and are now facing disciplinary action.

Pistole and John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, both made the case that such a reduction is not feasible.

When asked by Rogers whether a dramatic reduction is possible, Pistole said “no, I don’t agree with that. That’s a huge number.” Pistole also noted that most negative accounts leveled on the TSA are anecdotal, with only seven percent of calls to the TSA being negative.

“I think it [TSA] really has an outstanding record … This is not a job you can try to do on the cheap,” said Gage.

Are some of the criticisms being leveled against the TSA justified, or are they largely political posturing?


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