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Hearing of the Transportation Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee - Eleven Years After 9/11 Can TSA Evolve To Meet the Next Terrorist Threat?


Location: Washington, DC

I would like to welcome everyone to this hearing and thank our witnesses for taking time out of their schedules to be here today.

Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 innocent lives.

Before I begin my opening remarks, I would like to ask everyone to join me in a moment of silence to honor the lives that were lost on that tragic day.

Since TSA's creation after 9/11, the agency has gone down a troubling path of overspending, limiting private sector engagement, and failing to sufficiently protect passenger privacy.

Based on vigorous oversight by the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, the Majority Staff issued a report this week that I believe shines a bright light on TSA and lays the groundwork for meaningful reform.

Without objection I would like to insert a copy of that report into the hearing record at this time.

Our report highlights key findings from the Subcommittee's oversight and makes several recommendations to TSA.

Based on our findings, I believe we can:
* Advance risk-based security by prioritizing the harmonization of aviation security standards worldwide, adopting a comprehensive plan to mitigate evolving threats, and expanding the use of canine explosives detection assets;
I believe we can:
* Strengthen privacy protections by enlisting the private sector to modernize and automate the passenger screening process to reduce pat-downs, implementing privacy software on all AIT machines, and sponsoring an independent analysis of the potential health impacts of AIT machines;
I believe we can:
* Limit spending by reducing the size of the TSA workforce, conducting cost-benefit analyses for all major programs and purchases, and communicating with industry to avoid setting technology requirements that are unattainable;
I believe we can:
* Create jobs by contracting with the private sector to perform screening and establishing a five-year procurement plan to guide future investments in aviation security technology research and development; and
I believe we can:
* Cut red tape by working with stakeholders to streamline existing security regulations, issuing final rules for long overdue security programs, and reforming the Prohibited Items List to better reflect evolving threats.
Here is the bottom line: It is time to reform TSA. In fact, it's been a long time coming.

I am eager to hear the insight and perspectives from our witnesses today as this Subcommittee continues to examine ways in which TSA can become a leaner, smarter organization.

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