Report: TSA Lags in Managing Security Policy

Press Release

By:  Bennie Thompson
Date: Oct. 9, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the failure of some Transportation Security Officers (TSO) to screen checked baggage at Honolulu International Airport during the last few months of 2010.

The report, entitled found that while there is no excuse for not following security procedures and the responsibility for screening baggage ultimately lies with front line officers, the incident may not have happened if TSA had better procedures and protocols in place. The OIG found that TSO supervision was lacking at the affected location at Honolulu, TSA failed to provide Honolulu with requested explosive detection equipment, and TSA changed baggage screen protocols without evaluating feasibility at airports like Honolulu. The OIG recommended, and TSA concurred, that TSA improve its process for developing, evaluating and documenting changes to its screening procedures. However, TSA will not begin implementing this process until 2013.

Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement with the report:

"This report shows that while TSA has made major strides since it was created ten years ago, there are still some fairly simple problems which must be addressed. I am concerned that there is a disconnect between our TSOs on the frontline and those at TSA headquarters who create policy and protocols. TSA must change its internal operating procedures -- as soon as possible -- to ensure that it better manages security policy and takes into account the special circumstances of some of our nation's busiest airports. The security of our aviation infrastructure is critical to all Americans and I will continue to work with TSA to make sure we have a well-trained, equipped, and effective workforce securing it."