Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. met with Newark Liberty International Airport Federal Security Director (FSD) Donald Drummer [right], Deputy FSD Tom Carter, Asst. FSD Marcy Donnelly, Asst. FSD Ray Whalen, Deputy Asst. FSD Domenic Imperato, Asst. FSD Jeff Candino, and Lead Terminal Security Manager Verdin Gilles yesterday.
"Newark Liberty International Airport has been criticized over the years for its lack of security, but I will work tirelessly until Newark Liberty is known around the country as a model in safety," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "It was a pleasure meeting Director Don Drummer today, and I look forward to creating a partnership with him as we work together to achieve this goal."
Congressman Payne, Jr. has expressed concerns about airport security, especially in the wake of sequestration and the Boston bombings. He stressed the need for the airport to implement additional security measures to ensure New Jerseyans are protected against these types of attacks. Congressman Payne was briefed by security officials about advancements in security screening technology, the airport's newest baggage screening area that will double its efficiency, and TSA's pre-check program -- an expedited risk-based screening program for passengers 12-years-old and under, 75-years-old and over, active duty service members, and wounded warriors --aimed at expediting security and enhancing passenger experience at the airport.
"With sequestration and budget cuts in effect, I am concerned about our TSOs having to do more with less, eventually leading to a decrease in our security," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "I was happy to learn that despite sequestration, TSA has decided not to furlough its TSOs, but instead will manage their hiring based on need and by assessing travel levels. I am also hopeful that advances in technology and TSAs pre-check program will continue to expedite travel while allowing agents to focus on the larger goal of protecting against risk-based threats.
"When everyone is tightening their financial belts, we all have to work smarter. Newark Liberty has taken the necessary steps to increase efficiency while also improving security, and I will continue to keep a pulse on the airport's continued progress."
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security and serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications.