By Keith Lang
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said Monday that the Transportation Security Administration should "come clean" about its recent decision to fire employees at an airport in his home state.
Fort Myers, Fla., media outlets reported late last week that TSA had fired five employees at the Southwest Florida International Airport.
Mica said the firings could be a signal of a "security meltdown" at the airport.
"Recent meltdowns such as those in New York, Newark, Palm Beach, Honolulu, Charlotte, and Los Angeles have become familiar. This latest incident may be a more serious breach than the agency has indicated, and could involve high level TSA administrative personnel at the airport," Mica said Monday in a statement released by his office.
TSA did not provide a reason for the termination of the employees when asked for a response to Mica's allegations by The Hill, but the agency said it "holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace."
"Accountability is an important aspect of our work and TSA takes appropriate action with any employee who does not follow our procedures," the agency said. "The decision to take disciplinary action, including the proposed removal of several individuals from the TSA reaffirms our strong commitment to ensure the safety of the traveling public and to hold all our employees to the highest standards of conduct and accountability."
Mica said TSA should provide more information about the firings.
"It appears TSA may be trying to keep the public and the media in the dark, but they have a responsibility to Congress to report serious security meltdowns, which unfortunately have become routine," he said.
Mica, a frequent critic of the TSA, helped write the legislation that created the controversial agency in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.