tv Peter Neffenger and John Roth Testify on TSA Misconduct CSPAN May 12, 2016 10:31pm-1:27am EDT
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straighter peter neffenger testified before the house oversight and government reform committee on alleged misconduct at the agency this is about two hours and 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> the meeting on government and oversight reform will come together. without objection, we will reconvene at any time. the public comes in regular contact with transportation security administration, we have a fairly new administration who has had a chance to visit with, but it is important as the oversight committee that we continue to take a look at what is happening or not happening. what is not happening at the tsa. today we will have a second hearing examining the misconduct and management practices that we have heard about, seeing about, and investigated at the
transportation security administration. this time of year traveling public picks up kids and families and people are traveling, sometimes at record levels. people get frustrated, they go to airports, there are long lines, there are frustrations and at the same time we have to have a balance to make sure that the airplanes are properly secured because the enemy and whatnot, they only need to give i once. and they deal with millions of passengers on a weekly basis with the tsa. we have a lot of good men and women who serve on the front line. who are trying to do the best job that they can, dealing with a frustrated public, sometimes they are hot and sweaty and late. there are a lot of issues to deal with. last summer the inspector, the department of homeland security inspector general, performed covert testing and found failures in the technology and
failures in the procedures and there are alarming rates of success for penetration beyond the line. and that includes something nefarious being brought onto an airplane. the inspector general's recommendations are outstanding on the wake of the testing, they claim that they are making progress training employees to be more thorough as well as resolving security concerns. yet tsa employees continued to quit at their current rate. the agency loses about 103 screeners each week through attrition. as the administrators told me a lot of these are part-time employees. nevertheless it is very expensive to get someone trained up, to only have them leave later on in the process. in the year 2014, the agency hired 373 people, but had 4644 departures. you can see that you think of it
as a bathtub, if you are pouring water into it, it is going a lot faster than you can keep people in the top, and there needs to be a problem. i am very concerned about the morale of transportation security administration at the tsa. the government does do a good thing, ranking and doing surveys and coming up with scientific scientific way to assess the agencies. as of this time, the tsa ranked 313. ..
>> >> testimony before in this committee is a double standard with the tsa reheard senior leaders are treated with far more leniency them there rank-and-file employees. we have one situation could believe i have ever met this man or i don't remember but he is a very senior person the assistant administrator of the office of security operations there is a gentleman his name is kelly receives the base compensation of $1,812,005 a very healthy salary since
the promotion security operations have been abysmal. the inspector general that the penetration test done previously were nothing close to a successful. there are successful to get objects and items through security but from a security standpoint absolutely rock-bottom with their performance bed yet during this time the inspector general found despite spending $551 million on the committee and training the tsa did not improve the checked baggage screening and last summer covert testing by the inspector general saw the high failure rates reported by the media as a whistle-blower said
instead of being held accountable he received an amazing amount of bonuses beginning in 2015 and i will show you a slide. not to pick on him but this is what is so frustrating he earns a base salary of $181,200,500 in 13 months he gets $90,000 in bonuses? but it's just bonuses. nine times he gets bonuses over a 13 month period. that is an addition to his health care and retirement. people don't understand that. the next five. -- slide. so here you have john polanski i don't believe works there in the market makes a recommendation to the person at the bottom that makes a recommendation
that he gets a bonus and then he who made the recommendation then he recommends him and get a bonus and that happened four times. go back to the first wide. ray can file working hard trying to do the right thing have massive security failures and this person of the senior part of the food chain gets $90,000 in bonuses? i don't understand that it didn't happen this is there lead to a during his watch but we want to know what is happening to stop that procopius so how did he get this done? in the normal scenario in
with their regulations and that is why we have to go back with the ig investigated they had no other policies prohibiting an arrangement and only loose internal oversight of the awards process for i hope we hear that will be cleared up to be truly rewarding those who are having success. but those bonuses for those that were in total failure this is contributing to the massive problem of morale and other challenges that we have. to the administrator
teeeighteen has other challenges to overcome and even the perception that some current leaders have as they continue to harm route but it can teach your employees to speak up from the security challenges that impact the core responsibility to keep transportation safe. the inspector general testified creating a culture of change giving them the ability without fear of retribution will be the most critical in challenging task and i am sure we will talk about that today. sebelius spent considerable time the chairman of the to a rotation in committee hearing and would like to leave some time to mr. mica of florida 84 conducting
this with serious concerns of the performance of tsa for what you held just a few weeks ago for the first time since we created tsa people who have the responsible positions and willing to testify to almost the sheer chaos that exist with a the management and the operations. i can -- express my concern of the meltdown and i have prepared yesterdays staff had got me one figure 6000 american airlines passengers missed their flights due to checkpoint delays and we hear that as members of congress last night i had tonight from hell three people who i invited who
came to washington spent most of the day with me all of them miss their flights standing in the tsa line. i am so livid and wednesday is particularly bad but they would not have had the courtesy to accommodate people who could have caught their flight even though they were somewhat late i was on the phone for hours. one of the individuals whose family is leaving on vacation today had to get back to orlando to a company his family i actually had a staffer drive him and i bought him a ticket home last night you kid get ahold of one diem per cent of the tsa as a member of congress and they will not take your
calls it is unbelievable. the operation with your $100,000 people standing around accommodating members of congress to get them on a plane but you can get a passenger to leave with his family? i want a list of all those people standing around that chauffeur members of congress and vip up to the front of the line but you cannot get three people one is the physical disability i will tell you what i am so disgusted mr. chairman and makes you lose your focus but you can't ladies people dead here it is my report 70 known terrorist have flown on 24 different occasions going through your tsa.
the most troubling of the testimony the u.k. and fatal ian d. you will with the training and the recording will be a failure and i told to that on the cellphone because you cannot recruit or trade core retail horror administer it is a huge baling government program but the most troubling thing was the testimony from the former assistant at been straighter for the office of intelligence and analysis to testified it is my testimony today nonprofessionals are running intelligence and analysis is the core of the government responsibility and i question him what was going on that most important
government function to find the bad guys not stop the innocent dash% of the travelers that we have chaos in the operation and i yield back the. >>. >> a few very much. there have been a few times in my 20 years on this committee that i have felt so strongly about an individual. administrator neffenger is a person who i had a phenomenal amount of respect for. when i was the chairman of the committee of coast guard and maritime matters it was
mr. neffenger the cleanup of mass called the deepwater horizon when the coast guard was buying ships the radar systems that were supposed to have surveillance 360 degrees but 180 degrees and radios when they got what didn't work. he cleaned up the mess and saved this country and the coast guard probably hundreds of millions of dollars. savannah matter what happens , the thank you. i really do. last month we heard testimony from three transportation in security administration employees.
they raise troubling allegations about personnel practices that stretch back several years in some cases. the employee's needs to be fully and fairly investigated. it is one thing to allege that we need all the facts so we can be about the business nattily of hearing testimony but bringing out the reform that is necessary. >> unfortunately the committee has not yet had the opportunity to substantiate their claims. let me pause here for a moment. what -- do me a big favor for the committee but distinguish between what happened preeminent post
mr. neffenger. he spent a good amount of time talking about the $90,000 bonus nobody has really against bonuses more than a hot -- then i have with the tsa despite their understandable frustration of what they endured comedies whistle-blowers repeatedly told the committee that administrator neffenger was taking positive steps and make clear he sets a course for the agency to put a top
priority where it should be on security. for example,, a program manager the chief risk officer testified that administrator neffenger who is a man the integrity tsa were not compromised at the expense end when on to say cahow we will get better and keep pushing a better process. and we will get better and the administrator neffenger has made his priority. sirree the security
operations, and these are whistle-blowers since he has been in there has been a shift to get them to go back and it is important to make sure that we assure our officers because somebody will have to wait a few extra minutes we had the administrator who fully supports that as part of a culture he has established with tsa. that is a very difficult job certainly not the most popular and we appreciate it. ''. during my many years i have
rarely seen employees simultaneously come forward to report what they believe to be the abuses at the same time commending an individual who was in charge of the agency for his efforts to address them so vigorously. i can never remember that in these 20 years. i has been just about every minute of every hearing testified last november that tsa faces '' a critical turning point'' and i agree. he cannot turn it around on a dime. i don't think anybody up here could but in the tendency is doing the job is taken bold action to address the challenges he had all
directed reassignments and process people thought they were being punished or retaliated against or being moved from place to place to the northeast or the husband said to the southwest and all kinds of mischief i am glad you address that and will talk about that today but that is a large part of the hearing in march issued a memo to review approvals whenever a director is requested he strengthened the achievement awards for the executive resources council with the chief operating officer to oversee the assistant head illustrators in charge of the operating divisions.
he has worked diligently to address the shortcomings identified by the inspector general i have a tremendous amount of respect for you mr. roth. training all screening personnel including managers and to train nearly screeners. and has testified last november '' he has deactivated certain risk assessment rules that granted expedited screening end of'' despite all these positive changes the number of screeners has dropped by 6,000 in the past four years and i agree that is something that we all should be concerned about. to get to the bottom line of fire that is happening.
and where people have gotten to the point where i at least concluded that they moved into a culture of complacency. of course, the tsa had to do a job congress wants to insure that they handle the resources and i want you to know if you do have the resources including the number of speeders and i look forward to hearing from administrator neffenger for what he has put in motion and with the work he is undertaking to assess to
make the tsa a better organization if it is a more of question address that mr. neffenger and let us know what you plan to do about that. i yield back. >>. >> we will be the record open 45 legislative days. you will now recognize our witnesses. administrator of tsa and mr. john roth director of homeland security. all witnesses will be sworn but please rise and raise your right hand. do you swear it will be the truth of whole truth and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect each answered in the affirmative.
we like to limit oral testimony at five minutes but the entire statement will be entered into the record. administrator you're recognized for five minutes. >> of distinguished members of the committee think for the opportunity with the manager practices that tsa is a great concern to me as well. under my leadership tsa has high standards of performance and accountability. i greatly value the oversight and working closely with him over my tenure with three decades of leadership throughout my career i have emphasized professional integrity as foundational elements of service to the dedicated civil servants.
since taking the oath of office i have travelled throughout the country and around the world i have been impressed by that patriotism and sense of duty to perform demanding tasks and i deeply respect and appreciate their work. they have risen to a mission with an oath of office as a condition of employment. their success as yet most professionals from front-line officers the over arching priority is to secure the nation and transportation system. we have undertaken and efforts to immediately prioritize the mission to revise the procedures to make investments of new technology overhaul of our
confidence and pride. also ordered a review of personnel policies and practices. elimination of the arbitration and use restriction on relocation cost we're overhauling management practices. with the independent read you planning programming the execution process with him in capital management system for promotion and assignment in retention. with the leadership team my bided new leaders from outside the industry in a new deputy administrator or chief of staff head of intelligence and with respect to the intelligence we just received a very
prestigious award for the work they have done with the aviation system glacier under my leadership for every means that we review management control regularly to fully investigate and adjudicate the conduct and those who violate those standards accountable with respect to leadership could leaders set high standards and inspired to perform at their best i demand much of my leader's i have set high standards for then i expect them to work hard in a supervised closely. you must deliver intelligence capability every day to do so to be fully trained and highly motivated with a common set of values. my guiding principles are
focused on missions and a commitment to excellence. with his objectives every day as of minister cater we will continue to do so in every mission and location barack operates with every single employee thank you for the opportunity either forward to your questions. >> we now will recognize the inspector general groth. >> members of the committee thank you for inviting me to testify. one year ago i testified on the programs and operations during that time that we remain deeply concerned about the ability to support the mission i know tsa had challenges in almost every area of this operation and at the time i testified their reluctance to correct
their vulnerabilities reflected the failure to understand the gravity of the situation in. six months ago i testified the new administrator i believe had begun the process of critical self evaluation and is in a position to address some of these issues i predicted the new minister raiders' most critical in challenging task would be to create a culture change by giving them the ability to identify risks without fear of retribution. today i still believe that to be true however we should not minimize the significance and the risks that failure brings it is difficult and will take time we will continue to conduct audits to bring the independent look at skepticism as we are required to do.
i would like to discuss the work with the tsa work force and we are independent from tsa and vhs and plays a crucial role to ensure crimes as serious misconduct are investigated by id the independent fact finder - - finder. with more than 200,000 employees and contractors with fewer than 200 investigators on board so this amounts to a thousand employees for every investigator. we received almost 18,000 complaints almost 350 per week a substantial number with the personnel engaged in misconduct initiated 664 cases resulting in 100 for convictions and personal
actions involving tsa personnel the last fiscal year we received 1,000 complaints from or about employees only about 40 of those cases per year that criteria and falls the assessment and the rank of the individual and if you -- zero i g will is necessary to ensure it is handled appropriately. we value the contributions that whistle-blowers make. federal law provides protections for employees that disclose wrongdoing. they cannot retaliate by a threatening to take action because they report misconduct. viag gives me the right to protect the idea of baronesses that the bees live on to expose fraud, waste, and abuse. we did see that an expedited
paycheck had fln walla member was involved with numerous felonious activities that led to arrest and conviction. after serving multiple your sentence he has been released. he gave us the tip because he recognized him from news coverage we found that the officer was correct because of the tsa policies at the time he was given expedited screening we had to write a report to give documentation to the committee thinks in part to the whistle-blower the camera get the danger of this policy and tsa rethought their policy. in the chairman's description was the result of the employees you notified us of that situation. when i arrived two years ago are those concerned and that
we make sure we have one that is good or better is to institute those changes that they are listened to it in the claims are independently investigated. this concludes my testimony i welcome any questions you may have. >> we will recognize for five minutes. >> i am sure administrator you heard in as i said in my opening remarks is in the that capability and never heard any more damaging testimony that i heard under
oath on that matter. and we have detailed information we have acquired about the personnel that are there is a the qualifications for the background are lacking. what do want to say to this? >> thanks for the question. i have questions about the capabilities of the entire organization when it first came in. >> you currently one week -- evaluating? >> have a new chief of intelligence he is here. >> i would like to outline to the committee when the screening function but intelligence is the
government responsibility. it isn't but we are going through the system. this was a risk based system so what can you tell me what to do to correct this situation? >> yes. and that we built the underwater that was erected to resist with her prestigious award. >> and they're giving bell guanine of the lack of funds that but then is put out by a tsa sit. >> i have saved them from tsa.
it is but tsa cannot staff to traffic. i had the anecdotal report but of its weak and that one airport to they were backed up and down the other side but everybody standing around to but two of them were close. this was a national airport. people cannot make a decision to staff to traffic. would get the money you immerse bending. >> that is a lot of the
and i wanted a fool accounting can you provide us with the record? >> yes, sir, but they tested going for risk based time in the day after rose banks -- bad we will see that every day. but what is the second plan? we have fled from a risk-based system to thoroughly examining everyone with no plan the?
can you tell us about the. >> cute doubled last year them where people live beef boveri discontinued the perhaps from the and and population but we have a significantly larger population than we had previously and it has grown substantially. it grew faster at a higher rate than was predicted by those whose set their predictions end when i came into this organization with 5,800 fewer screeners and fewer "frontline" officers.
one of the things asked congress to do was suspicion >> there recognize the gentleman from new york but to make sure we secure the lives of the american people a and they akio for your work to really make the security system more effective. i would like to remind my colleagues that tsa was built not for speed or created by government but to
protect our citizens. almost three people - - 3,000 people were murdered online 11 merely because the bulk up and did what will we do today in this room but when there were off. >> yes the government came into this security measures in place to protect the american people. with hundreds of acquaintances of mine since
this is horrifying but the pilots tell me they continue to test the system all the time to see if there are preaknesses also like to remind my colleagues it was hotly debated and for months there was the division of both sides of the eye with both to be privatized and the government should have a response bin. >> iran to be supported by that government? sure leave dead dash if not.
>> you should have the tapes but it was such a good find you are readjusting the measurements of success to focus on security rather than speed. i get stopped all the time. i say why a my being stopped? sometimes the bills go off i have seen no one protested the fact that they were stopped to make it more secure for us and i studied and i travel every week back and forth they have long
lines the tsa has helped the pre-check blind sometimes that is longer than the heather is growing. i don't see the residents in three. if they missed a flight you should have been there earlier we're supposed to be one hour earlier but they are stopping people to make sure they don't get killed when they get on the plane. so i want to support the oversight strength of our nation and the ig office said it wasn't strong enough the admiral has 10 points he is implementing i just want to ask the admirable what adjustments had you made to ensure that screeners have the security result that they achieve? i want to reiterate i have
never, never since 9/11 california resident or foreigner object that date are being stopped for someone else is stopped because of the feeling that there is an emergency that they may miss their plane. the complaint that i hear is it security enough? what is the oversight? sometimes somebody gets down to the plane and the -- because people don't want to believe there planes are secure pot with the american spirit what are you doing to improve security? give us a report on how to
keep the security at top level but and they have to staff the other lanes. nubbly is complaining about pressure on security they give for the job that you do >> your time is expired treaty me answer. >> i will highlight a few points the first thing we did what actually happened were systemic problems of agency focus a and training we did every training in the entire workforce. and they made the senior leaders go through as well we have followed up with the
quarterly version with the checkpoint with internal covert testing to do immediate feedback i work from a positive side of the equation it to turn those people in into traders to get immediate feedback i get to the measures of performance of workplace readiness and performance and accountability. it is no longer based upon if you deal with that at the management level that i want them to focus on the mission with the best possible training we also train them on the equipment with the hands-on understanding.
>> and a fuller answer that i will provide. >> how many tsa employees? >> have to get the number for the record. >> can you make a rough guess? >> i don't really know. >> day you know, how many employees got bonuses over the last year? >> en to be based upon and afterwards. have you personally fired any employees' there had
been a number of people over the past year and i cavemen in one of my first thoughts was to determine what the agency look like i demand a lot of them in the current leadership team and those to lead the team. in to be satisfied with the performance. you are spending almost as much as the actual screening. what is your response? is that accurate? >> and a leader needs to look hard i have done a systematic review of the
entire agency taking a hard look at the budget and with the oversight committees there is more savings to be found in the budget. but there is always room for examination of that. >> were you surprised with that inspector general? >> that was across us it enterprise as a subset of the number. with misconduct of an agency it doesn't surprise me. i am concerned of how you deal with it.
of the allegation is end over twice as many screeners now. in more than one it was privatized. >> there are significantly more people. >> but not that many percentage rise. >> there is an increase non that that two and half times when it was privatized. >> and how much more volume we are seeing. in a lot more threats to the system so the nature.
>> have you review the testimony of the witnesses bin in particular of the administrator that should have cost 3 million at the most and i put significant control over expenditures over all levels of the organization. >> i also heard there was just about as many contractors as employees and i read and heard many small businesses feel that had trouble getting phone calls returned. as the small business out
reach in and with they become so big and they are well-connected enough. are you doing something about that? >> that is one of my concerns to spend after a minute -- a fair amount of time with the participation it is a particular interest of mine. we met our small business participation in partners last year for the first time ever been to continue to do so. there isn't enough competition with entrepreneur real and creative ideas in the small business world. >> thank you very much. >> recognize the gentlewoman from illinois.
>> administrator neffenger you talk about the idea that tsa needs more workers, many passengers. >> we have 3.4 million enrolled in the pre-check. >> we have done a lot of work of organizations connected with the airline industry we feel we can get them. >>. >> they may have done a lot to advertise the program and in my opinion over the past few years and there are two
factors and then to have places where people can sign up in those of the two areas we need to do a lot of work to tell us about the airline association with the advertising with all the major airlines are doing their advertising to exchange miles for her paycheck and the microsoft corporation's and those kinds of things are helping considerably. right now running 165,000 per month. . .
airport since security? do they contribute this way? >> currently they do not make direct contributions. security gets charged on every ticket. we are seeing more baggage come to the checkpoint. the airlines are being very diligent with the one plus one rule. that has helped considerably. we are experimenting in large airports with what we call travel lightly that gives individuals that are traveling lightly the opportunity to have a dedicated lane that allows significantly more people to get through. it's the carry-on baggage that is one of the slowdown points of the checkpoint. >> do they understand the
consequences of their business decisions? more people are going to check their bags. american is $35 for a piece of piece of luggage. what do you think about that? >> it's a decision of the airline to make those fees. i can talk about the impact of people caring baggage through the checkpoint. i've had a number of conversation with each of the ceo of major airlines. i understand why they made that decision. i tell them what the impact is on us and they've committed to working with us to find ways to reduce that stress of the checkpoint. >> it's something they should look at because if everyone carries luggage on, that slows up people getting on the airplane and the on-time records and on and on. i yelled back, thank you.
>> thank you we now recognize the gentleman from arizona for five minutes. >> thank you chairman. tsa employees report that assignments have been used inappropriately. you know of the situation? >> that has been discontinued. an agency needs the ability to move. people periodically to where their skills are needed or special circumstances. you need strong controls over that and it needs to be done in an open and transparent way and it needs to be done in a way that is not used for retribution or punitive measures. >> i'm glad you went that way because i'd like to illustrate the testimony before this committee that he was issued a reassignment in 2014 with no apparent need for justification even though it caused significant financial hardship. his replacement and the person he was replacing were issued
similar reassignments. in your opinion, was this an appropriate use of reassignment and what's your justification? >> it was not an appropriate use and that's why i changed the policy. >> so now, he has also testified he had an excellent performance evaluation and was reassigned to a smaller, less complex airport. the person he replaced did not want to leave and the person reassigned to replace him reassigned because excepting the reassignment would cause him hardship. can you further explain the decision to move forward with this reassignment? >> again, that happened before i arrived. >> oh, if it happened before you were responsible, were you not? >> i'm responsible now and i'm not conducting reassignments in that manner. in fact i've not directly reassigned anyone under my leadership. >> now, rose was issued a reassignment in 2015 which was due to the concerns of
relationship for retaliation for whistleblower activity and resented by the tsa. can you explain how mr. rhodes reassignment was explained? >> i would defer to the person who made that decision. i do not allow that under my watch and we are looking at that complaint before the special counsel right now. >> part of the justification for mr. rhodes was due to suspicions he was a source to the media, which he denies. do you consider this an appropriate justification? >> again that matter is being investigated right now by the office of special counsel. if they find that to be true, then of course it wasn't appropriate. >> is mr. rhodes directed reassignment by the council? >> i believe it was brought before the executive resources council under the then it mandate and to senior leadership beyond that.
>> have you responded to anyone at tsa for their role in this reassignment? >> i'm waiting for the results from the investigation. depending on what they find, it may point to appropriate discipline. >> in many cases, with law-enforcement, people are put on administrative leave. has anybody been put on administrative leave or anything like that? >> i have not have not placed anyone on it ministry to bleed. >> do you stand by the validity of these reassignments or do you have any reason to believe they were improper? >> with respect to the ones you're talking about, again, i even if, even if it was appropriate, it wasn't done in a way that was open, transparent and otherwise controlled.
that's why i changed it and we put significant controls on the process now. >> on updates on reassignments, are they periodic or a daily basis? how are they done in your office? you i have not done any directed reassignments. the update is that we aren't ing that. i created a process by which someone can recommend a reassignment, someone can request a reassignment, and then it goes through a series of checks and reviews that include the office of human capital, the chief financial officer, the executive resources council and ultimately the office of the administrator for the decision. >> i am running out of time so i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> i want to get down to the meat of what happened the other day, that was when the
whistleblowers came in. there was a theme running throughout their testimony. they were very forthright, really good people. they came to us begging. one of the things they said where there were some leadership folk and they said it's not a lot of them that try to undermine the things you are trying to bring it about. they felt very strongly that if these folks were not there things would run a lot smoother, and someone just asked you, one of them said this, this workforce is waiting out
mr. eppinger because they think the elections are coming. they expressed similar concerns with other whistleblowers. have you heard this type of concern? i hear that you're doing a great job, but the problem and elements are tsa are just waiting you out. how do you put in systems that go beyond your tenure? i you're used to doing that. you did it with water horizon and it showed we have procurement officers that were trained properly. you set up a mechanism by which there was an inside coast guard training apparatus, and now they're doing fine. how do you do that here and keep in mind, what they said, they weren't complaining about you, they were complaining about
folks under you. how are you dealing with that? do you have any idea who these whistleblowers were talking about? >> i don't know who they were directly referring to. let me tell you how i approach leadership at this organization. the first thing you have to do is set very clear standards which i have done since i've been there and clear expectations, and define a vision and mission for where you're going. that is directly related to getting our security mission done. then i hold people accountable for reporting back to me. i will tell you this, i have, i sat down with each of my leaders, the people who report directly to me at headquarters and were responsible for the performance of tsa.
i looked each one of them i do i, and i've done this repeatedly and i do this weakly and sometimes daily, and i said, this is what i expect of you. if you fail to perform then i will hold you accountable. i hold them accountable by requiring them to report back to me with very specific measures of performance peer it i will tell you today, i've driven them very hard. i know that. i know how hard i'm working and i know how long i'm there. if i'm there at 8:00 o'clock at night and i call someone, they are there at 8:00 o'clock at night and we get it done. what i see is a leadership team that is driven and pointed in the right direction. i want to make sure they're doing what they need to do. how do you ensure that stays there in the event i am not here after the elections. first of all, i inspire the workforce for the mission they first took the oath of office. you can remind people of their oath. this is a workforce that is committed to one of the most challenging missions in the country. then you have to build the controls and you put them into policy and you get that policy stamped by the department of homeland security and you turn to people like the inspector
general and you asked them to review your policies. then you put controls at the department level over this. then you bring in leaders below you who are career employees that will survive you who are on the same page you are. that's what i've done. i have a deputy administrator from outside the agency and she has a stellar reputation in the federal government. then you bring in, i brought brought in a chief of operations, a stellar operator who is a man of superb integrity and has been responsible for encouraging that going forward. i will provide for you, a list of those kinds of actions that we are taking. i think the way you ensure it survives is that you don't let it be the decision of one individual anymore, which i don't. >> let me ask you this, one of the things, and first of all i think every member of this committee, and i know for a fact the chairman feels this way and certainly we've talked about it
a lot, if there is retaliation we have a major problem with that. we will do everything in our power to protect whistleblowers. i guess my question now is, when i heard about this reassignment, and i know you're not doing it anymore, some of that stuff really upset me because basically what they were doing, it sounded like intentionally tearing up families, dividing them and really putting some hardship on people which was unbearable. were spending, i think in one case we spent $100,000 to thousand dollars to do a reassignment that didn't even make sense. except to retaliate. i want to know what your position is with regard to retaliation. how do you deal with that? we want to be assured that if there are people who are doing that, and i'm telling you, i think you'll get every member of our committee backing you up, but we want to know what your
position is with regard to that, and have you found any of that so far? >> you may have heard some things. >> i don't tolerate that. it's illegal, it's unethical and it's in all the categories of the kind of people you don't want in the organization. the people who were doing most of those direct reassignments are not with the agency. they left before my arrival. i'm very interested in the results of the office of special counsel investigation into the existing cases with the individuals who appear before you. depending upon those findings i will take immediate action against that. it will not be tolerated. i don't tolerate it.
it's why i stop the practice. i don't know how expensive it really was because we know the people who have come forward, but i can tell you it doesn't happen under me. i make that very clear to everyone. i also directly support the right of individuals to come forward. that's valuable information you get from people who have the courage to step forward and tell you what they think is wrong with the organization. >> so i'm not finished with this mr. chairman, you're saying if there are people watching this at tsa who feel that they are being wrongfully retaliated against or some action is being taken against them that is illegal and improper, you are saying you have an open-door? >> they can come directly to me, exactly. i. i will then in fact turn directly to inspector general ross and i will ask his assistance in investigating. >> thank you very much. >> i now recognize mr. gary from south carolina. >> i will read and then give the remainder of my time. i think we are all prisoners, to a certain certain extent, to our own expense. while i am open and interested of the experiences and expectations of others, i've
never had a problem in any of the airports i've ever traveled to. i use charlotte and dca. folks are professional. my friends from florida mentioned that maybe some members of congress and perhaps others that consider themselves to be dignitaries and except preferential treatment. the members of congress i travel with don't expect it and wouldn't accept it if they were offered it. they have a little obligation themselves to say no, i'm a stand in line like everybody else. i'm quite certain that your department can do better. i'm quite certain you have a plan to do better. i'm also quite certain congress can do better. so i will focus on fixing us and i have a idea you will fix tsa. there's a margin of error that's
acceptable and it's not much margin. with that, i yield the floor. >> i want to take a minute and complement mr. cummings. sometimes he and i disagree, but rarely, but his line of questioning, mr. peter neffenger, his line of questioning was from the other side of the aisle. we heard the questions and it was documented by staff, the amounts of money that were used to pay and transfer people in retribution. the other thing to is, sometimes i was telling the chairman, i think you are a good guy. i think you are a good guy to clean up the mess, but sometimes the leader is fed mushrooms and
kept in the dark. i will put that as politely as we can. mr. cummings describe to you what we heard is going on, that you are being fed this information by these people who are protecting their rear end. i'm trying to put this in terms that can be transmitted on c-span and the family community, but again, this is our concern. i helped create tsa. i'll never forget mr. minetta and i went out and we had a goal of 20 or 30 minutes from curb to the gate. that's when it was under the transportation committee. we actually went out and did it. it can be done. we don't have to hassle the 99% of the people. we are supposed to be looking for the ones that are getting through.
again, you have an attrition rate of an average of about 10%, right? for screeners to mark average, across-the-board? >> it's higher in some areas. >> okay you have 4500 full-time, 405000 as your cap, you have 4500 vacancies at any time. 30% are dropping out after you train are dropping out after you train them. that's what we have from you. so again, were not gonna get there. it's really hard to administer all of those people. staffing to traffic, they can't staff to traffic. you heard one of your defenders, sometimes the pre-check line was line was longer than the others because no one adjusts. it's not a thinking organization
and i don't know how you get it. i'm an advocate of private screening under proper supervision which hopefully could make better decisions, but i want to to also know the total number of bonuses that were paid in 2015, 2014. that's for management personnel in your highest level. then i want to know the maximum and minimum amount for the screeners. these guys do work hard. there max is in the range of $300 this guys getting $80,000 and were screwing the guy that's doing the work in the job. if we paid them better maybe we could retain them. i know some of the private
screening companies paid more than the tsa schedule. they have to pay them minimum and it's not done on the cheap. you are aware of that, aren't you? you have to have the flexibility to pay more. >> i have some flexibility but i don't have. >> thank you and i yield back. >> with my friend from florida yield for one second? >> i would do anything. >> we now recognize the gentleman from massachusetts for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you admiral. it's good to see you again. you realize this is an equal opportunity committee so when we criticize you today about having long lines and not taking too long to scream people, next week week if there is a breach he will haul you up here in land-based you for not being more thorough so we have that flexibility up here. you do not. i think based on what i've seen, i've been a critic at times, based on what i've seen, the work that you are doing and continue to do i think we are going in the right direction,
but we have a lot of work to do. the question we had at a previous hearing was regarding well, let me ask you this up front. we rely a lot on the whistleblower. i'm wondering in the aviation and transportation security act, it says employees may be hired and fired basically on the will of the management at csa. any other law in existence notwithstanding. as i understand that, they do not have protection under title vii. they do not have protection under the civil rights act or antidiscrimination law. by the language in the law, it says notwithstanding any other law to the contrary they could be fired.
do you want to speak to that admiral? >> they do have protection under civil rights and the equal opportunity act. we explicitly put that in to the way in which we cover govern the agency. they have all the due process rights and protection. >> have you adopted that because you just had a case in court where they threw the case out because they said employees were not covered by that. >> i will have to look at that case. i believe they are fully covered and it's one of the questions i asked. >> there not covered by the statute. >> but it's been adopted by previous administrator. >> okay, i'll take your word for that. that's helpful. because because if they're not, if they don't have statutory protection they have to rely on the whistleblower protection or the 40 cases that mr. rob was able to take up each year. that's not nearly the protection they need. let me go back, we had a case a
while ago, i think there were 71 employees who were on the no-fly list, terrorist watchlist that were actually working at some of our airports. you came in and change that system. i want to ask you, were those employees, were they removed? i realize, let me fully explain the reason that was given was that tsa was not privy to those lists on which those employees who were on the terrace watchlist or the no-fly list were allowed to be employed in airports in secure areas, but when you went in, i, i understand from our last conversation, we cleaned that up and i want to know how it was cleaned up. were they fired or what happened? >> just to clarify, they weren't actually on the no-fly or the watch list, they were in the terrace database information
mark. this is information that may or may not indicate a direct association with terrorism. one of the first things we did, i wanted the fbi's read on every one of the individuals. the answer back was none of them that sufficient information to actually directly call them a terrace or associated with a terrace. with that said, we looked back at many of them, many of them no longer hold their credentials. two of them had their credentials removed and of the remain or have been of the database on recommendation from the fbi. it was very valuable. what it did for us is allowed us to get automated access to the categories of that separate database which then ultimately could feed in to the terrace watchlist or the terrorist screening database and now we do a full automated review of every single credential holder against that database. if anybody pops up in any
category, it allows you to take a harder look at them which we do and then we go back to the intelligence community and the fbi and we do a scrub on those individuals. >> you have to admit there's a higher level of sense sensitivity here to allow these folks to work inside secure areas. >> yes, that was exactly the question i had with that which is what i am working closely with director comay and the counterterrorism center to improve that. >> mr. ross, you did a great job on the screening test at the big airports. we have very high failure rate the last time you did that test. i'm not sure if enough time has gone by to allow peter neffenger to adopt a new protocol on the screeners. has that happened yet? have you done any new test to take a measurement of how we are doing? >> what we have done is two
things. one is the natural follow-up we would do in any audit, for example in regard to the penetration testing we have reviewed the 22-point plan to increase security at the checkpoint. additionally we were planning more covert testing the summer of a similar scale that we did last summer so we will be able to tell exactly how we are doing. >> great, thank you mr. chairman for your indulgence. i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. i have been amazed to know how much money has actually been spent in some of these previous relocations. reassignments that are nearing $200,000 per location. have you directed any of these reassignments during your tenure? >> i have not come on no sir. >> they reported the relocation expenses exceeded $100,000, is that true as far as you know? >> that's my understanding, yes sir. >> would you agree that's not a
good use of taxpayer dollars? >> i have capped any relocation costs. >> how are these decisions approved now? >> now the process is, first and foremost it has to be looked at by the office of human capital. i want him underhand them to see if there is a need for relocation. second, has the individual that you are looking at relocating, is that in their interest? then they have to sign off to pay for it and it has to be within reasonable cots. i've set limits on the reasonable cost. finally after it is reviewed by the executive council, we make the final decision. >> peter neffenger it looks like you are trying to develop a plan for the future which is part of cleaning up some things from the past. the biggest thing that concerns me is the issue with mr. hogan.
do you believe mr. hogan's performance bonuses of $90,000 is justified for the taxpayer? >> i don't think that level of bonuses justified. >> i'm glad to hear that, did mr. hogan have a key role in reassignments? >> he had a role, but it wasn't the only role in reassignments. that came out in a different office. >> when you say a role, can you explain that? >> moving the office of security operations they obviously have to get the people move from one location to another and carry out the order. >> is it fair to say he had a key factor in it? >> i think he had a role in it, yes. >> okay, in looking at his situation and his involvement, i'm sure you have considered replacing mr. hogan as the director of os oh due to his involvement and bonus pay. is that fair to say?
>> i'd like to back up and talk. >> i appreciate it but i'd like you to answer the direct question. >> my first test was to see what my leadership team was to do. everything i've asked of mr. hogan since i've been here, he has done that. i look at all my leaders and determine. >> sure, but there's been past violations peer at have you had conversations with others that this might be the decision we need to make due to past discussions with mr. hogan? >> i think there were people responsible for that. >> i'm not asking that. with all due respect, you're doing it great job but i'm asking about you. what is your role been in mr. hogan's previous indiscretions when it comes to his expenditures per at have there been discussions to remove him or put him up for probation?
>> i do not plan to remove mr. hogan. he has performed to my expectations and i have not seen any indiscretions on his part in the time that i've been at tsa. >> so even though we acknowledge there's been some, do we just. >> i don't acknowledge that he had discussions, i think he carried out some orders and those orders resulted in people being reassigned. that was sometimes for good reasons and sometimes may be for ill considered reason. >> but he was carrying out orders and it reminds me of the movie a few good men. these marines still in the fictitious movie and carrying out code red. if he's following orders but still doing something wrong in going after people, there's accountability, is that not fair? >> i think i think some of those issues have been investigated and they were recommended. we filled out recommendations as necessary from the expect their general. i have not seen any direct misconduct on the part of mr. hogan and the time that i've been there. >> i appreciate that in the time you're been there. our concern with the facts we have are before you arrived and it's not so distant in the past that there were indiscretions
going on. my time is experian. i do hope there will be some kind of looking into mr. hogan for some of these things that went on, especially in voluntary relocations. he tore families apart. i do think there is responsibility on his part even if he was carrying out orders. i have ten seconds (i want to complement inspector general and you and your staff for being appropriately prepared. i yield back. >> thank you very much. welcome both of you. let me start by saying i really appreciate the management reforms you have undertaken and the spirit with which you taken them. this is a big enterprise, a difficult enterprise, a critical mission with a lot of unsatisfying aspects to the job. very few employees will make a 30 year career out of telling
people to take off their belts and shoes and yet it's a critical to our mission and the security of the people. so, does it keep you motivated to have a salary structure that makes sense? i for one very much appreciate what you've done and i hope you don't leave with the new administration. as a matter of fact, if you do, i hope you will give them a call at metro and joined the team because we need the kind of management reforms that you've undertaken at tsa. one little plug that i always make, and i have seen in my own experience a big change, which i appreciate, in in how we are treating the public. we still have work to do. i have really been impressed in different airports that i've gone to. i just think when you create a more hospitable, friendly climate that invites people's
cooperation, you get it. there is always a risk if you get a hostile public or resentful public that something can go wrong. why not go the former if you can. i just thank you for that and i hope you will keep that sense of the culture present. we are not dealing with cattle. we are dealing with people. we need their cooperation and we want them to feel good about the experience as much as they can. i think we do have public that gets it about the security mission and are willing to put up with a lot more than i would've guessed, but we should make it as easy as possible without optimizing security. i commend you and thank you for the progress that has been achieved. let me first ask, by having said all of that, i think there is a growing concern, there's a management challenge with what's happening. for example, 600 passengers miss
their flight on good friday because of wait times that exceeded three hours. she said she didn't know anybody who complains. my guess there were 600 people in charlotte that day who did. it's one thing to understand that i'm going to be inconvenienced and have to wait to get through security line to protect me and everybody else. it's another, the price of that is that it's moving so sluggishly that i'm going to miss my flight. american airlines said 7000 customers missed flights in the month of march alone due to long waits in security lines. seattle and atlanta have indicated they may seek authority to try to privatize passenger screening to expedite the price us. could you address that? i think we have to agree that is not acceptable.
if that becomes routine, now we are going to get real public resistance. >> thank you for the questions. we have seen huge increases in passenger volume, there's no doubt about that. in the peak times we see more people moving through the system than we've ever seen before. to put it in perspective, four years ago a big day in this country was about 1.6 million passengers goi through screening checkpoints. we are well above 2 million passengers daily right now. it's just a volume increase. i do think we need to grow the staff slightly to get up to that. we are working hard on that. once we got her appropriations bill passed in december we began hiring. you know if you're going to redo
1600 people or so, we cut into that number well in advance of the fiscal year. we are hiring and were meeting our hiring quotas per the good news is we have people who want to come to work for tsa. >> it seems to me, and i know you know this is a good management principle. three hours is unacceptable. we need to be setting for ourselves a timeframe that is acceptable. we don't go beyond that. what is the staffing required? they correctly talked about staffing to traffic. that's part of this. >> that's right. we been working closely with the airline and airports to make sure we can meet those staffing needs. i think we've improved significantly just in the past few weeks. i'm not aware of any weight time of the links you're talking about and i tracked them daily. i look up passions passenger volume daily. >> you might want to check good friday in charlotte. >> okay. >> do we have an anonymous hotline within tsa that people can call when they feel something is not working.
in my county there is a hotline you can call and then you're protected with anonymity and it's followed up. >> absolutely we have a hotline that is manned as well as in the website so you can use either of those ways to complain or give us information. >> with guaranteed follow-up? >> we will take a look at it. we get 18,000 complaints a year. we can't guarantee that every single complaint will be thoroughly investigated, but we certainly look at them and evaluate them. >> certainly fine. thank you. >> we now recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you mr. chairman. i think we've got a very great facility for the federal law enforcement training center. i think the tsa, frankly is not utilizing it to the full potential. certainly not to the potential
that would be helpful, but how long on average does a new have to wait before the beginning begin training at the tsa academy? >> i have good news to report on that. as you know that academy stood up for the first time ever on january 1 of this year. this is new for us and we are pushing eight concurrent classes with about 200 officers a week. it takes about four months to onboard somebody new. we typically bring them on board and they have to get their security background checks and the like, and then we get them right into a training class shortly after that. we are actually seeing the ability to move people right in. >> so four or five months is the average time questioned. >> during that time you're going through background checks and the like. >> right, so how many, what percentage of tso's go through? >> now were putting hundred% through.
it used to be the case that we trained at various places on the job around the country. we are going to make a couple exceptions because of the need to get more officers out in front of the summer travel season, so we are taking that curriculum and doing it locally and a couple key locations, but we are. >> is that local training as effective? >> we are using the same. >> is at the same? >> for my opinion it's not ideal. i'd like to do everything together. were building out capacity. >> and airports have requested the authorization to utilize local training? >> i think i have two airports right now that have asked the authorization. >> have any been denied? >> what we've said is we will do it on an ad needed basis. we aren't currently doing any local training because we been working with our partner to increase the class offering. >> is there a clear policy to determine the as-needed basis?
>> there is a policy. >> could you submit that to us and let us have a copy of that. in regard to the bonuses, i'd like to go back and ask a couple questions regarding mr. hogan. you are aware that $90000 in bonuses were broken up in increments of 10000 each. could you explain why the agency did it this way? why was it broken out that way? >> as i understand it, and as you know that was done under previous leadership, but as i understand it was because the maximum amount allowable at any given bonus was $10000. >> okay. is this some sort of scheme? well could you explain smurf in? >> could you say it again? >> smurf thing. >> i'm not familiar with the term. >> if there is $90000 broken up into 10000-dollar increments, is
that the type of thing that would need approval from dhs? >> it does now. there's nothing in my experience that finds that justifiable. it's why a stop the practice. it doesn't matter if it it violates. >> why doesn't that sit well with you? >> i just don't like it. i don't think it's right and i stopped that practice and i make sure now that all of our bonuses have to be approved at the department level and i severely restricted them within tsa. >> i really like to hear your comments on all of this? >> as we look at the report, it was clearly an attempt to circumvent the departmental regulations on approval. it is breaking up financial transactions to something below the reporting requirement paired
the individual responsible for that, by the time we did our investigations, was no longer employed at tsa. the regulations that existed at the time were so loose that it was technically permissible even though clearly the intent was wrong. >> the intent is to hide. >> absolutely. >> absolutely. that's what it is. is there anything currently preventing from bringing the agency back from disguising these bonuses in forms of payments, be it relocation or any other method where it's really just a disguise for bonuses? >> yes i have specifically prohibited it and i've made it clear in policy. i'm happy to provide the policy for the record. i require oversight on the department before any bonus can be awarded. >> i would like to have that policy submitted. you were saying your testimony here is that there is no disguise taking place west mark. >> not under my leadership.
i've made clear that we put that directly into policy. i made sure that no single individual can approve a bonus award for senior executive without oversight, and it has to be approved by the department. even i, i don't even give myself the authority to make the final approval. it goes to the department for oversight. >> okay, thank thank you mr. chairman. >> we now recognize the gentleman from missouri. >> thank you both for being here. you know, we all agree that security must be the top priority and there is no disagreement about that. when you testified here in november, you were critical of certain programs that granted passengers access to expedited screening lanes when they had not undergone risk assessments. you also commended administrator peter neffenger. you said he deactivated certain
risk assessment that expedited screening through pre-checked lanes. is that correct? >> yes her. on march 24, the bureau of transportation statistics issued a report that said, u.s. airline and foreign airlines carried an all-time high of 895.5 million systemwide. administrative tran10, passenger volumes have been increasing but the screenings have dropped by nearly 6000 over the past four years. is that right? >> yes her. >> why did this occur? >> i'm sure there were good reasons for people before me to reduce that. i think it was predicated on a prediction of higher numbers of people getting into expedited screening than we've seen.
it's just the fact that we are a smaller agency on the frontline work horse than we were before and we have significantly more people moving through the system. >> i heard my friend from south carolina talk about how he doesn't encounter much trouble. i traveled to st. louis lambert field weekly. it seems to have shortage of employee especially for the pre-check line, probably 90% of the time that line is closed and each time staff gives me the cues that they don't have enough personnel. they don't have enough security officers to check people. it's very frustrating to my constituents who have paid the extra fee for pre-check. is there a shortage of staff for airports like lambert? >> i think we have a shortage of staff across the system. we are moving people into the areas of greatest volume and greatest need.
we are hiring back the people that had been slated to be out this year. we are pushing out about 200 new officers this week. what i'm hoping to do is build back a sufficient staff to meet the peak staffing that we need. we currently cannot staff effectively to the peak volume. >> in your opinion, was the tsa screener workforce sized appropriately? >> i think the budgets were predicated on what they predicted to be 2% volume growth we used the predictions and remember these budgets were built a couple years ago. the actual volume of growth has been significantly higher than that. in my opinion were not at the right size. with that said, i appreciate the
great comments about our workforce because we have a really dedicated workforce and they are doing a very challenging job out there and doing it quite well. i'd like to get them some more help. >> well, okay, perhaps you can help me. i'm annually giving a career fair in st. louis. it's the largest largest one held. i would love to involve you and invite local staff to come out and look at potential candidates print i will follow-up with you on that. >> yes sir, thank you. >> on may 4, homeland security, homeland security secretary jay johnson issued a statement responding to increased waiting times and he said this, tsa is increasing the staffing of tso to help expedite the checkpoint process without sacrificing security. peter neffenger what is the size of the screener workforce tsa needs to handle projected threats and volumes while ensuring that all passengers who are subjected to risk assessments are sent through
expedited screening procedures? >> congress just approved the hiring of another 768 screening officers this summer. we will get them out in the workforce, we hope by the middle of june. that will significantly help us. we've also been working with the airlines and airports and they are taking on some of the non- security-related duties which helps free up more of my officers to go on directly to the screening checkpoints. we think the combination of that and our screening canines should significantly alleviate the challenges we are facing over the summer. >> thank you both for your response. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. we now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr., mr. carter, for five minutes. >> thank you for being here. i appreciate very much. let me ask you, would you agree that having expert standardized
training for tsa screeners like we have at the federal law enforcement training center in georgia, is that very important to make sure we have personnel that's fully prepared to keep our airport safe? >> yes, sir, absolutely. >> i just bring that up because the federal law enforcement training center in england coke, i know you've been there and of course it's in my district and i'm very proud of that. i look at that as being one of the areas that we are being like the federal government. to go down there, and i want to invite my colleagues here on this committee particularly to visit because, and will try to schedule a trip down there for everyone to see just one an outstanding job they are doing down there in the way of training. i mention that because i want to make sure that were not confusing these well-trained employees with the problem that
were having that i consider to be more in performance and management, in particular. when you talk about having a shortage of employees, that's not because they are not well-trained. that's a management problem. when you talk about employees not showing up on a holiday and having a shortage during the busiest travel time, that's a management problem. i just want to make sure that we understand that there is a difference here. they are being trained well. it's a great facility. it's used by over 94 different agencies, so trainings not the problem. the problem here is a management problem. and a performance problem. >> thank you for that. and thank you for recognizing that our front-line workforce, i believe it to be one of the best in the world. i really, really do. i've seen the dedication. i've talked to them and bend down to the training center multiple times. i meet with as many of the classes that i can when i go down here and that's a world-class institution per i was really excited about the opportunity to stand up a
full-time academy down there. and he it is one of the best in the world that's running that training facility. my goal is to train every employee through that training facility. we have a pretty aggressive plan , a pretty ambitious plan, but i'm getting a lot of support from congress on that and i really appreciate that. >> i just want to make sure we differentiate between the training portion and the management. we obviously, as you can tell, we have a lot of upset people here today and we have a management problem at tsa. we are depending on you to strain it out. >> that's what i've been tackling, yes sir. >> let me pivot and talk about something else, a different subject. a couple weeks ago we had some employees at tsa who testified before us and they talked about the involuntary directed reassignments. some of these that we had to testify before us had gotten
excellent marks, and in fact had gotten towards him being recognized for their outstanding performance, their job performance, and, and yet they were reassigned against their will. the thing that concerns me is not just the upheaval of having to move somewhere else for these people, obviously that is a very trying time for families and for employees, but the cost in it. what we were told is that the relocation cost were well over $100,000. is this really happening? >> i believe it did happen. i share the same concerns you do. i stopped that policy completely. we don't do directed reassignments. that said, i think it's important for an operating agency to be able to move people periodically. you have to be able to do that.
>> i understand that but my main concerns as they were being disciplined. >> that's what my concern was to. i put very strong controls over that process. i will share with you the nature of those controls so we don't take up too much committee time. i will tell you that i'm as concerned as you are about that. those reports greatly distressed me. i stopped that process and it's not going to happen again. >> good, so we can take your word that it's over with? >> yes sir, you can absolutely take my word. >> thank you i appreciate that. again. again, thank you for your dedication to the training center because again, mr. chairman, i want everyone to understand what great facility this is. this is. this is an example of the federal government working. >> yes or. >> thank you and i yield back. >> we now recognize mr. lawrence from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you, i would like to examine the hiring and the role of human resources at tsa in more detail. in 2008 during the bush administration, tsa awarded a
one point to billion dollar human capital service contract under the contract. they administered the agencies process for recruiting and hiring. it's also responsible for personnel and table processing services, such as position classification. administrator, is that correct? >> yes, that was the case. >> many of the improper personnel activity that the whistleblowers alleged at the last hearing in including redirect of assignment and hiring concerns occurred during that same time, correct. >> yes that's correct. >> in 2009 they nine they issued a report about the contract with lockheed martin. it was listed among other performance decisions and there
were incidents in which lockheed martin failed to handle personally identifiable information properly. is that correct? >> yes ma'am. >> the report also find that lockheed martin quote, failed to refer the eligible veterans on job announcements and ultimately the report start engines dated the hiring team reported a total of more than 150 veterans who were not referred on six different job announcements. is that correct? >> yes ma'am. >> so if they failed to follow federal regulations in regard to the competitive service hires, particularly veterans preference , are you familiar
with the inspector general's report? >> i am, yes ma'am. >> okay, so when does the tsa contract with lockheed martin and? >> it's coming to an end this year and we are completely restructuring our approach that. i would like tsa to own more of its hiring recruitment and personnel policies. we are restructuring that completely. it's part of the plan to overhaul the human resource management activity. >> in lieu of the contract ending, is this going to put out to bid again or when you assume, do you have a capacity and the resources, as far as budget to be able to take on more of these responsibilities in hiring? >> we don't have all the capacity we need. what i'd like to do is get back to you with a fuller answer for the record, then we can show you what the plan is on what the strategy is for moving forward beyond the hr access contract.
>> i want to be on the record that the issues that were brought forward in the hiring process and we being a federal agency is totally unacceptable. the fact that we are ending a relationship with an industry or company that did not meet our benchmarks is refreshing, but i don't don't want to hear that were taking on the responsibilities ourselves and then come back later with concerns because you weren't able to handle the capacity. >> yes ma'am, i share the same concerns and we have to do this in a very deliberate way, in a way that protects our workforce as it currently exists and our workforce for the future. >> did you make any recommendations based on your findings on what tsa could do to improve their hiring practices?
>> yes ma'am, we did we made five different recommendations. tsa agreed with each of those recommendations and we are in the process of doing and on audit follow-up to make sure tsa is doing what they said to do. >> thank you and i look forward to moving forward under your leadership in protecting a group of employees in our federal government. so many others are, but the tsa, being a member of congress, the respect that i have for the agency, the need for good, firm leadership and accountability we saw through this situation, we need to move forward and i support your decision in the future. >> thank you. >> we now recognize the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. :
>> yes, sir. >> if you are aware of all of those and day asking if you tolerate retaliation retaliation, and then what scheme could you not see the fact he has been reinstated but no raises and not put in a position he would have been bid had he not been fired? at what point can you justify that is not retaliation? >> i believe he was reinstated as required. >> day you know, any of their tsa employee that was at the page he was at its 2005? >> you don't have to double check. >> off the top of my head i cannot give you the exact payout of tsa employees. >> to go skitter raise? >> we get the annual
cost-of-living increases. >> if he didn't would that be retaliation? >> i will check to see. >> yes or no. if he is paid the same in 2005 is the retaliation? >> i have to see the facts of the case. >> by giving you the facts of the case. retaliation or not? what bothers me is i protect my whistle blowers for you to get up here to talk about how wonderful the rank-and-file you're looking over their best interest to see evidence retaliation has a chilling effect. don't you think? >> if there is i will look into what. >> wide is the office of special counsel have to open a full investigation? why did they have to do a full investigation? period the one that was already dead? but the one they're about to embark upon.
>> that is because he said there is retaliation i am not familiar with the specifics. >> should you ought to be? >> i know that we have reinstated him and he is in a position to compete with better position he desires. >> that testimony is very troubling to me. what i will not tolerate is retaliation on whistle-blowers. >> i don't tolerate bad either. >> can't you get back to this committee within 30 days with the way to rectify some of the office of special investigation? day macau will follow-up to see the situation. >> do you have my commitment? >> with an action plan if necessary. >> within 30 days?
>> i will get back to with what i find. >> what is a reasonable amount of time? >> this is new information and i am not aware of. >> this isn't a shock? >> i am aware of the previous issue. dispense with the rhetoric where we don't have to waste taxpayer dollars on a special investigation you are the guy in charge we will hold you accountable i expect a response within 30 days. >> we now recognize the gentleman from oklahoma. >> thank you. i share my colleague's concerns about
whistle-blowers while everyone who has the responsibility once to do right reduce the individuals who have to be protected that is the bipartisan motivation. i want to take questions on the security and it little different direction. for the inspector general i share the opinion of your personal diligence the record has been outstanding but my question did today's deals with the terms of security and you will see why. do that i ag make any recommendations and how they
should be deployed or used a different airports? >> my understanding is the gao has done work but we have not. >> but as a preface i take some comfort to know you're at the helm of this organization and of the getty when he was a dance to your level is projected as anything in the interest of our country? >> it probably gives incredible insight with the myriad of problems with a lethargic organization with oklahoma city in my district
the issue came to mind because it was cited was the ig report as the reasons for the elimination of the dog teams from airports such as will rogers and it is due to the for performance of screening and getting people through so they would have to lose their dog teams and will rogers in the treaty is of these teams trade forces effectively the entire program was eliminated. what would a federal security director make that claim that was the ig with
their fine the that call for the elimination of the program? why do we not want these teams that airports with less capacity? but they also may have greater vulnerability. it seems to be security why is it makes good sense it is a normal but it is important for security. >>. >> i am not sure what the discussion was. >> recall that passenger screening. it is a tremendous resource and that great explosive detection technology that we have. i don't have as many of those dogs as i would like to have.
it was my decision to take dogs from some airports that don't see as much volume as the largest airports for the coming summer to meet the real passenger volumes we will see it was never my a intention to eliminate. we do have jobs with tsa most trade to do cargos greeting not passenger. we are the process to convert as many as recant to passenger screening canines. >> i just asked as security is much of my life i would ask we would consider if i ever did to me to infiltrate a small or more regional airports because there is the better chance of infiltration to deploy all
of the assets. once you are inside the loop your inside. i would ask that you look on some of this of bay vulnerability stance that is irrelevant in my view but we ought to look rather than put it where we expect to have a problem they do the those areas will burble where we don't. i yield back my time. >>. >> i am the guy you are waiting on. mr. neffenger have the different administrators have led the office since tsa was created? >> i don't have that number. >> 11. >>. >> it concerns me the office
was suffer from turnover. >> in particular. >> the office that is responsible for analysis. >> yes i brought it in a new chief of intelligence this year. he is a professional i asked him to ensure that we build a world-class high intelligence operation is in the process of doing that. >> are you aware of any security violations committed by officials? >>. >> get out of your reference saying anything in particular. >> are you aware of any security violations of zero i a officials? >> prior to my arrival there was an individual from
agency. >> team believe they should provide didy intelligence community? >> ladies demanding that is not the issue. >> what were the circumstances? >> i need to familiarize myself with the case provides ari. >> their multiple security violations. what percentage is used for vetting or for traditional intelligence? >> i will give you the exact number for the record but a significant amount is spent on in the vetting the
population. we also have a strong analysis branch that works closely with the intelligence community members to provide specific intelligence assessments of challenges and risks. >> i will transition end a little bit one thing i am concerned about that there are of the three u.s. airports that currently require security checks are you aware of that? >> that isn't correct. >> requiring them to go to the same type of security as a staff member. >> there are currently from
the airports themselves to do security screening or employers provide that we're a very levels. that is a fundamental requirement with their badge and those give you access to certain locations and some have gone beyond that. we do random screening with the airports as well. >> that gets back to my concern every member of my staff has to go through a screening process or baggage screed they all have badges. that is part of my concern at of the thousands that
there were bad number of employees had some type of terrorist group rand it seems that to go through the same speed the process. >>. >> that was reported that they had a connection of terrorist ties because out of the thousands of people that worked for tsa they'll have security badges that they go through the screening process like a prevails.
>> want to make sure that first of all, the people who are not tsa employee is but there is of population those that have access badges of some type. they are continuously vetted against of a database. even the database and the criminal database. >> we're not talking about the same thing. >> we're not talking about the same vein. there are thousands of badges that our lost or stolen. that have not been accounted for. my question is do they have
to put their bag on a conveyor to see what is in the bag? >> some they do in some they do not. >> but it needs to be all locations and i yield back. >> i would like to recognize myself for more than five minutes. [laughter] let's talk about the involuntary reassignment. you said there is evidence that was done as a retaliatory action? >> i don't have direct evidence. i am waiting to see the results of the investigation with those who have made allegations smith the office of special counsel has already stated that there
were cases of improper retaliation by telling me they haven't given you the final report? >> mr. rhodes has and ousted the investigation which is still pending and in the meantime i was pleased to uc that prior to my arrival that was this day and he is still located. >> ice understand hearses undergoing review. >> you have any of other evidence of retaliation beyond the reassignment tools? >> personally i don't have any knowledge if i see it i will take action to address it. >> mr. roth? >> i do not i don't have any evidence to share.
>> administrator over the last six months day of two sided page of outstanding request for this committee and i will give you a copy of this. but some have had then. but we need to get responses in a timely manner some have been good but some have nothing and it is very frustrated having to do in camera reviews with classified intelligence on a regular basis. i need your resort to reply to these outstanding request >> want to go back to what mr. ballmer is talking about.
when somebody applies working for the tsa what type of background check? >> people coming into the military for the first time against the terrorists kreme database and the disqualifying activities or offenses. >> and their son in factions that our acceptable. >> i cannot enumerate those off the top of my head. >> whenever that current standard is, if somebody were to be arrested with the assault charge your murder charge or something he does have a you know, once they have been hired?
>> after? we do we current checks that is on an annual basis and we do davie recurrent against the database. >> 450 airports? how many of these? you mention 900,000 in the aviation system. how many have biometric information to be as simple as a photograph? >> those are issued so the dash that you have for atlanta will not work with any other airport. they are issued by employers
and the standard is set according to the federal security standard for them to meet it to have the biometric identifier but not all of those are in use for access purposes said every airport. >> with biometric one of the issues was they didn't have the electronic readers. >> at all want to continue this but the credential is not for the aviation system it is used primarily with people that are interacting with that. so that is in the maritime world. so it has a biometric on it
but not all are out there. it is a joint program between the coast guard and tsa. it does that identified the aviation workers. that is a much larger population. >> you should not be able to use that in an airport. >>. >> that is my nova bigger concerns and dulles airport alone there is 60,000 security badges and to his point is why not checked tsa employee is if they go in and out? the pilots are checked if we
trust somebody should be the pile that why not check each person? >> we do. they do recurrent drug testing it against the database. remember they are standing at the security checkpoint but if they walk buy you would never know? >> not necessarily. >> you are checking and screening every person that goes through except tsa. >> they are checked by definition when they show what they are vetted every single day we look at them. probably the most watched people in the transportation system the eyes of supervisors, the other screening work force.
>> you have to keep debt and its highest level. we want to check. you have had a rest. it is not is if it has never happened. the ability to move drugs or weapons across that line, do you have any insight, mr. roth? >> no. i don't congressmen. >> the person who's luggage screens and they walked through data metal detector
and i have never seen the text elegy that's used at the white house source airport and talky by explosive devices on a daily basis. europe has banned some of this technology but we still uses in the united states for our appreciate your comments about the dogs but the single best way to secure our airports from the explosive device is a dog. would you agree? >> it is usually is an important piece of security. i am a big fan and i have been advocating for more canines with the aviation security environment. >> i hope the appropriations i will put in a plug for you.
i've never seen a situation where the pre-check is on for then the area of in. i wish you put more the pre-chat client to get things done quicker. i do hear people complain and i realize you have a difficult job but i don't know who she talks to protest the you know, there is another side of the story. teeeight and to a sign people soon but the administrator testified them
take down a plane they do not pose a risk. maybe they didn't accidentally. >> day you know, any that could take down the plane but it is in chaos from what i have been told. your intelligence division months with the breach at the last of classification and the given to us also does not have the capability to terrorist and put
a request and want to reiterate the bonus policy but there really wasn't a bonus policy in place and the senior members who made less than $160,000 are ineligible for a bonus even with said level of excellence even if the performance evaluation came in lower san miguel day you that for the record. >> read a sabah was an investigation that the policy was loose but we had a commitment from tsa to fix the policy.
>> the last question would assure biggest concerns? >> with 2 billion passengers a day 250 airports tsa as the chair .1 dash as a regulator it is a monumental task and it will take time to fix. >> we appreciate you both. we have greatest confidence in the administrator but also the inspector general with those of trying to do the right thing and for that we have a mutual symbiotic relationship to weed out the bad apples and they are there to that extent we can make it better and to share
over 250 classmates in including was elected officials attended the ceremony. thanks to comcast to help coordinate these visits. >> the build of the rise is $100 million in spending redirected from other programs that can be awarded to states and local communities to train police or first responders it to
aid in collaboration with on for some agencies and it establishes the special quirks among other things. >> with that bipartisan support and they are calling for additional funding and did all of these measures. >> it reads iraq's the justice department finding for rubies measures the democrat say there needs to be an emergency supplemental to the tune of six civilian dollars as they are being worked on this week.
and when you have both chambers controlled by republicans with such a substantial emergency spending measure that is challenging. >> they did release a statement of policy during this week with combating the epidemic they are concerned about the resources necessary to increase access to treatment and recovery services. >> and moving forward at the white house what is the president likely to you do?
>> especially in the election in year when people all sides can claim success to get the measures passed. but they do highlight the fact the one thing they need is more funding to keep doing what they're doing was what they already know are effective. >> and from the state that has been hit hard by prescription drugs and heroin abuse academic it is possible during the appropriations process you may see an uptick of opioid funding. >> but to get to that bill they must take up the measure passed in the senate
from one month ago and the understand the house wants to load the of bills from this week and tag those as amendments so what does that conference committee look like how different is that? >> despite warnings from senators like from ohio or wrote violent that the conference could get contentious if they add new measures, there was some worry it could get contentious but now they walk back a little bit that they can work most of those differences out. in terms of funding levels