With tens of thousands of Southwestern Pennsylvanians about to depart for the busy Thanksgiving holiday from Pittsburgh International Airport, located in the 18th Congressional district, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18) today called on the House Homeland Security Committee to conduct a thorough review of the new screening procedures used by the Transportation Security Administration.
"Transportation security guidelines must be rigorous. But when these guidelines cross the line and result in the public degradation and humiliation of airline passengers, those policies must be examined," said Rep. Murphy, who is leading the only bipartisan congressional effort to ensure that TSA procedures are closely examined, monitored, and vetted by Congress.
In a letter to the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Murphy and over thirty of his House colleagues request that the Committee immediately hold hearings to investigate TSA procedures. Incredibly, TSA has executed this enhanced security program without expressed legislative consent or direction from Congress.
"The measures by which the federal government takes to protect its citizens cannot eradicate the liberties that it aims to protect," said Murphy.
In the letter, Murphy writes that "To reassure Americans that TSA's operations are not invasive, excessive, or superfluous, Congress should execute its oversight responsibilities, investigate claims of Constitutional violations, and produce recommendations for restoring trust between the public and the TSA. By examining this issue closely, your committee can determine whether these enhanced procedures are in fact making airline travel safer."
Rep. Murphy, who has also sought answers directly from TSA Director John Pistole, has heard from dozens of travelers, airline workers, as well as TSA employees that are uncomfortable executing the invasive new procedures. To date, the TSA director has not responded to Murphy's requests.
The delegation letter was co-authored by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), whose district includes San Diego International Airport.