tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN May 15, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
r graham bell and have some pretty good computers these days. >> i grew up in an era where the phones were still dial and you had party lines which was interesting. >> i was also there. >> i can carry a phone in my pocket now. we need to figure out how to harness computers to work for us and not create obstacles for us. >> i appreciate that. my request is that you please look into that. it shouldn't be that hard with the computer systems we have now. i yield back. >> thank you. anyone have any other questions? >> i wanted to make one final comment before we close here. i just want to say i know the employees within the v.a. in human services and you mr. hernandez are working very hard every day. mrs. clifford testified you're
working hard every single day. i believe that and i thank you for your service. i just believe that we need to do more. that you need more assistance. you need more, you need a larger team and we have to streamline the rules that are made. we got to put on our common sense think inging hats if you will. i believe you're working very hard and the people working for you are working very hard. >> thank you. we appreciate your support. >> thank you all once again for being here. we touched on several issues that are really important. i appreciate the work that you do. subcommittee may be submitting
additional questions for the record. i appreciate your response and if there's no further questions the paj isnel is excused. thank you very much. i ask that you have five legislative days to revise and extend remarks. no objections? so ordered. i'd like to thank all our witnesses and the audience members for joining us this morning and this afternoon. the hearing is now adjourned.
>> if you missed any of this hearing you can watch it in our video library. go to our website, cspan.org. the ceos of united and delta will be speaking today. they argue that millions of dollars give them an unfair advantage threatening u.s. jobs. introductions now under way. this is live coverage. >> consultations through international agreements known as open skies. they also want the administration to seek a freeze
on new passenger service by the three gulf carriers during the discussions. there's a strong point of view on the opposite side. they're called the airline claims quote bluster and flim flam. there are no grounds for denying gulf airlines access to u.s. markets. he said the u.s. airlines were quote, using quote, bullying tactics. jeff you lost the coin toss and get the first question. you've been ceo of united since
2010. you now lead the second biggest airline in the world. why are you so worried about three smaller competitors in the middle east? >> thank you for inviting the three of us today to talk about this important issue. this is a significant issue. it's a fantastic threat to the u.s. airline. it's a significant threat to our employees. open skies bilateral predicated on a fair and level competitive playing field.
free of distortion such as government subsidies. the three carriers are not just airlines. they're arms of the state. they're part of the state policy the drive tourism and trade through the middle east. they're not stimulating demand. these carriers are not adding travel. they are just stiffening travel and their foreign partners in a way that's detrimental to u.s. jobs.
we're firm believers in open skies. we have spent a consider amount of time and money led by delta to uncover the degree of subsidies. this is an important issue. it's a very important issue. it's causing current harm. the harm is accelerating. this movie does not end well. we've seen what the gulf carriers have done to the carriers in europe.
it does not end well for american consumers and the professional men and women and the american economy. >> doug parker. you became ceo of american airlines in 2013. that followed the merger with u.s. airways and had been ceo at u.s. airways. before that you were ceo of america west. now you're seeing the gulf carriers adding new routes and now you want the u.s. government to take an unusual step of freezing new routes. doesn't sound like what a competitor would do. why are you taking this strange step? >> we don't think it's strange at all. we think it's what the bilateral agreement calls for. the request is simply to have consultations and talks.
that hasn't happened. we should note that these simply sense we have announced or since we laid out our case in january those three carriers have increased their capacity in united states by 25%. they are clearly doing everything they can to win the race against the clock because the reality is we put forward an extremely compelling case as jeff outlines. our government can't ignore it. they won't ignore it and they will have consultations. those carriers know that. that's why they are adding so much capacity and why they are making comments such as it took us two years to find the information so they should have two years to respond. those are attempts to have as much time to get as much flying in as they can because they are
well aware of the fact they violated the trade agreement and there will be some action taken. i don't think it's nothing that we have done before. it's odd. doesn't mean it's strange. we've never seen anything like this. we uncovered fact. we responded. we are asking for consultations to take place and once they do we're certain that we'll get to place that works for everyone. >> richard anderson you became ceo of delta in 2007. you go back to 1987 in the industry when you began with continental. you have cited figure of $42 billion in subsidies that go to gulf carriers. how do you back up the figure
when there aren't public documents that anybody can see that will show that figure and then assuming that these subsidies are happening down the road you'll have to show they are actually harming you and the industry. are you going to be able to show harm? >> first on the evidence we start add process at delta a couple of years ago because just by definition an a-380 daily from milan to jfk, if you've been in the airline industry any period of time intuition tells you. you don't need to see a flight profitability system to tell you that can't work. over the time frame of these
bilateral relationships they have 24 non-stops 24 daily non-stops. it was counter intuitive because the countries have populations the size of north dakota. normally to have that kind of traffic between two points it just wouldn't support. we found their financial statements. we found them in places like malta and singapore. we spread out around the world. these countries required them to file their financial statements. oddly enough we don't require that in the u.s. these show the subsidies. they are fully disclosed.
come into the marketplace to shift the traffic off of us and take us out of indian market. u.s. familiar carriers ought to be in the indian market. america and delta should be in the indian america but it's not sustainable when you have $41 billion worth of subsidy. it's difficult, if not impossible for us to compete. that harm is immediate. the dispatchers and technicians
and ground operation personnel drives about 900 really good, on a gross basis almost 1,000 jobs per flight. we put a triple seven or 7-4 or a-350 on a daily non-stop across the ocean it drives almost 1,000 jobs for each one of these carriers. those jobs are here. we create huge positive trade surpluses for our country. our aviation policy is being violated.
we will act vigorously. it's time to get on with understanding include consultations what the appropriate remedies are. >> i've got a lot of questions. i'm going to combine some. did this issue come up with president obama yesterday and if not, how do you feel about it being left off the agenda? >> let me answer one of those five or six questions.
it's the long standing practice of the united states government with respect to trade disputes to byifurcate the trade dispute. by the way, the amount of subsidyies here are dwarfed by two the size of boeing airbus dispute. our government can sit down and understand there are different swim lanes in matter of defense. we would expect nothing different from our own government or the governments in connection with discussions. in terms of the reaction of the administration, we have visited with the department of commerce
department of transportation. we visited with the white house. we visited with ustr. we visited department of state. we have gotten serious interest from serious people about a serious issue. there's clearly are a lot of issues involved. this is complex. our government has asked us in addition to the white paper and the considerable documentation we provide back in january. they asked us additional questions which we responded to. they're taking advantage of this
time period to add 25 more flights. that's a serious issue because the harm is current it's present, it's happening and now it's accelerating. we also know this harm accelerates to the point where it can threaten the existence of carriers. this is a serious issue. our government is taking it very serious. >> should have have been on the agenda yesterday in president obama's meeting with the gulf state leaders? >> i don't know the content of those discussions. i would have no way of knowing that. my understanding from the press is those are matters that are relating to defense. as such i would not expect this to be discussed this is not a defense issue. >> these are the sorts of issues that should be handled in the normal course separate of the part if those kinds of defense meetings because in a mature trade relationship just like we
have with europe and the example jeff gave with boeing air bus there's regular give and take in the state department. we have 114 open skies agreements around the world that are administered all the time. all of which we support. we just have to have actions taken. we interact with governments around the world on slots and dates to work through these issues and with state department to work through the issues we expect through the normal channels this would be managed consistent with the open skies policy and the sign trade agreements, bilateral agreements with these two countries. >> i mentioned in the introduction that the three of you are together on this and labor unions are supporting you but there are some who are not with you. the travel industry association
which includes windham lowes, expedia has a point of view. does the fact it's not a broader coalition give some indication this is an issue that it hurts part of the industry and those parts of the industry are not happy but there's other parts of industry in u.s. that's perfectly happy with the status quo. is it an issue of where you sit is where you stand on this one? >> let me try that one. those other organizations you describes either don't
if we can't fly to that europe flight, we're not going to have as many flights oth united states. it's a hub. it starts to unwind. the entire u.s. commercial aviation business is materially different. we need many less employees. it's not right. that's why the three of us are concerned. none of what we're seeing is meant to harm the cargo business. for example, and wouldn't, because it's simply about commercial aviation and passenger carriers. we may have some more education to do with them. they clearly don't understand
the impacts. >> the cargo carriers do understand our issues. they have a set of traffic rates that they rely on through the middle east. this is an issue for passenger carriers. it's not an issue for cargo carriers carriers. they do appreciate the damage and harm that's occurring here but their concern is retaliation by the golf governments. >> boeing sells airplanes to you and to the gulf and as far as i can tell they're staying on the sidelines in this. is that where they should stay because it's a no win situation for them or do they need to see the concerns that you see and
get involved. >> we are obviously these three carriers here on a combined basis operate more bowing airplanes than any three airlines we sit on a stage together. it's appropriate they stay neutral. >> they have two sets of large customers. i don't think if someone were to ask jim, ray, do you have a problem with the u.s. government enforcing u.s. trade policy that they would say. that should be in favor of that. i believe they are. that's all we're asking for
here. endorse the enforce the policy. >> if you look at the filings in the wto case by boeing against air airbus on the launch subsidies you could take the word boeing and substitute american, united an delta and the issue is exactly the same and our position with respect to subsidies is identical in every respect to the position that boeing took. the main difference is ours is twice as big. it's been proven by documents when compared to any wto case. our case is identical to the boeing case.
>> doug parker i have several questions that are just for you. that must be why you're sitting in the middle seat. the special seat. >> i wrote all of them. >> doug likes the combined question. i'm going to combine a couple of questions for you. one of the questions is along the lines of there. american is part of the one world appliance. british airways is a key partner. british airways partner is supportive of the middle eastern carriers position on this. katar is a member of the one world alliance and you supported their entry into the alliance a couple years ago. i'll leave it at that because it's enough. it makes for a peculiar get
together. how do you figure all this out? it didn't seem to make sense the way i just laid it out for you to be in here. >> it makes sense to me. we're part of the one world alliance because that's important to our customers. we have customers that get to parts of the world that american doesn't serve such as a middle east. it doesn't mean that we should sit and watch subsidized travel and not enforce the policy with the countries. this is muchless about individual airlines and public policy. the policy is u.s. government working with the governments of
the uae and cutter. they should enforce that policy. great airline, great partner. we work extremely well together. the reality is they are global hub is lot concerning. they don't face these same issues that the rest of us do. it's not possible. >> it's perfectly fine to keep them in one world and you can with their license partner on one front and have this issue on another front.
>> another says this has been a fight led by delta. why has the new american taken part at this time? >> because we saw the data. i, like richard has been in this business for a long time. when i saw the amount of flying my intuition was to say we seen this stuff before. airlines come and go. they do uneconomic things. you hate to see it because it costs us all money but they go away and just stay focused on what we're doing. they're going to be gone because you can't fly that much capacity to the middle east and expect to be profitable or it will go away. then we saw that indeed they weren't playing by the same rules. they were playing by unfair
rules. they were subsidized. a lot can happen. once we saw the data we were all in. up until that time we were skeptical because we seen no proof. >> this questioner says given your airline only has three overlaps isn't this about protecting opportunities for your european iealliance partners and the government protect your european partners by forcing passengers to connect in frankfurt and london onto aircraft of lufthansa and british airways. >> this isn't protectionism.
this is about enforcing trade policy. this is about what our nation stands for in the united states which is fair competition. free of distortion. this distortion is off the scale. this is orders of magnitude subsidization. far beyond anything i've seen in my career. this is a significant issue to us to our employees to the u.s. airline industry. does it affect our foreign partners? of course it does. we fly either directly or through star alliance in competition with the gulf carriers every single day. there's only if you take the entire network of all three gulf carriers there's only three destinations.
we come compete globally. it can't be done. that is -- it's never been a trade policy in the united states of america since we escaped mercantilism how many years ago. there's never been the policy to accept subsidized goods into the united states because of the long term damage to jobs and the economic health of the united states.
>> they include bankruptcy process and the pension in that and i want to get your response to that but also there's some other questions -- >> we all will respond. you'll have to hold us back. >> i want to take that one right now. i'm going to turn it to the audience. i would like the airline employees in this room who lost their pensions in bankruptcy or had their pension frozen to please stand up. i'd like them to tell these people whether chapter 11 has subsidies in it. >> no. >> it doesn't. it didn't. there was no government subsidies. it was the employees and creditors in a legal process that went through a reorganization. it's just simply not a subsidy under wto law or under u.s. law.
if the argument is it's okay for us to be subsidized because you have bankruptcy, come on. >> for those of you not schooled in the wonders of accounting. this is not a going concern. this entity does not have sufficient cash flow and profitability. therefore needs to be liquid liquidated. to argue that bankruptcy
encourage subsidies because the people who paid for that are fine employees creditors, shareholders. that's a devastating thing to occur. two of those three carriers but for massive subsidies $17 million a year. >> pay for every penny. >> to the extent that general taxpayer dollars go into that. >> we can go we have a conversation about that but that's not correct. >> you're not saying you don't
get any government subsidies? >> yes we are. >> this industry is the leading taxpayer in the united states. we pay a 21% national sales tax. when you add up the 15 to 17 tacks taxes that we pay, our airports are self-funded. we do not receive subsidies from the united states. that was part of the airline deregulation act of 1978. we do not receive subsidies. that's false. >> tax loans guarantees, you wouldn't call those subsidies? >> if you look at our book tax rate and only our financials, we're a full taxpayer at the highest corporate tax rate plus we pay some of the highest book taxes. that's the taxes you pay for fuel, passenger facility charges, segment fees tsa fees aafes fees.
cbp fees. there's, i believe, actually sharon pinkerton is here, i think there's 17 taxes we pay on a ticket. overall? correct. >> we're going to do one last question on this issue and move to some general airline issues. anything you want to say you have to say it on this question. do you think the government will do something at the end of the day. the washington post quoted an unofficial unnamed. they said they were hesitant. made it sound like the government wouldn't take action on this front. do you expect the government to take action and if not are you going to shut this down and move along? is there another way to win on
this? >> i'll start and let these gentlemen join in. yes, i do believe our government will take action. it's enforced consistently the trade policy of the united states. there's major trade agreements in front of congress today. it's important this administration take action. a clear violation of the underlying trade agreement on these open skies treaties between the u.s. and uae and cutter. >> i'm confident they will take action because the evidence is so compelling and it can't be ignored. we provided the information. they asked us a series of information. we gave the answers that make the case even more compel ingling.
it's not as if anyone can look at that information and say i don't see enough to act. the government will have to act. we're concerned about urgency. from the time we presented the information until now already 25% more capacity. we're concerned there isn't enough urgency. i can't imagine the government doesn't act. the other reason i know they'll act is we won't let them get away with not acting. they're not going to let that go
away because the u.s. ignores the facts. we're not going to let that happen because our people won't let it happen. [ applause ] >> we've been at it over two years and we're not going to stop. the investigations will just continue. it's just going to keep going. it's not going to stop. we have huge support in congress. we have 200 and we just circulated one letter. i think we had 216 members sign it. we have attitudes of relief through congress. we're going to continue the battle. it's our responsibility as the stewards and leaders of these organizations to do what's in the best interest of the u.s. aviation industry and we're not
going to give up. >> moving to some other topics. this questioner asks why haven't any savings from reduced fuel costs been passed onto consumers? customers. i think they're talking about air fare relief. >> i'll do this one. my colleagues with legal degrees can do it better. we got to be a little careful talking about issues such as pricing to be clear. >> there's no other reason we'd ever do it. >> this is hard on all of us. >> that by the way, is proof positive of how serious this issue is. >> thank you. having said that i'll try and you guys can chime in. the view of american airlines is fuel price the drop in fuel
prices is being seen by consumers. the revenue in the united states and throughout the world is down. fuel prices remain high you wouldn't see as much capacity. it's incorrect to discorrect the drop in fuel prices with the drop in revenue per sm and say that's capacity. the capacity wouldn't have been added had it not been for the fact that fuel has fallen. that's what i think. >> does the u.s. face a pilot shortage? >> i believe it does. i believe it does because you have several factors that were, because of what happened after 9/11 we had a decade in this country where the industry essentially declined in size
pretty dra maddicly. the vents of anything else were devastating to the industry. there was a whole period of time when there was no hiring that went on. the industry shrunk a fair amount. in 2005 we got to 60. then you had the financial meltdown. during that time frame there wasn't any hiring. a lot of investment is going
into fleets, airport facilityies and technology. the industry is healthy. as a result there's a pretty significant demand in the industry. >> it's not an issue for the main line carriers. everybody wants to work for main line carriers. they're great jobs. we treat people well. we're a solid profitable industry at this point. people recognize they can join and have a terrific career. it really affects regional carriers. that is why you've seen carriers over time.
very good for our employees to do that. it's better for our customers because the main line product is a superior product. we have absolutely no problem hiring. the regional carriers do. >> there's been conversations in this town about privatizing air traffic control. i guess the new buzz word is commercialize but have it run by a non-profit. perhaps not a profit making venture in the air traffic controllers are favorable or looking favorably on this idea. could this ever get done? could it ever get through congress. a lot of members of congress
like the control they have over the system now including into some individual towers where you'll see congress members worried about the staffing at a tower in their district. is this group ever going to want to give up control of the atc? >> i'm happy to take a crack at it. the issue with the u.s. atc system is not the minimum that the faa or leadership. they're doing a good job given the restraints. they have on and off start budgeting. they have great deal of difficulty managing the transition to a modern air traffic control system what our
nation needs and deserves is a modern efficient air traffic control system such as in our neighbor to the north of canada. very safe and efficient. very modern among the technologically advanced in the world. we are seenly interested which i'm chairman currently of supporting a reformation of the nashl's nation air traffic control system. it regulates the air traffic control system from a safety perspective and operates. it's self-regulaterteself-regulating, self-operating. i would not be supportive of a for profit system. it's a monopoly.
it would require tremendous regulation. a not for profit enterprise is something that this nation should give great deal of this is a complex issue. it is not without risk. we do know that the current system does not work well at all in terms of efficiencies. when i started in the business we would schedule a flight from here to newark for an hour. now, we schedule for an hour and a half. because of atc delays. think of the fuel burn alone of our antiquated world war ii era ground-based radar technology. the cutting-edge technology we use today. most of you have better guidance on your hondas than we have for our nation's atc system. we need reform, and we need transformation. there are considerable risks involved, without question. there are transition issues.
this is complex stuff. just because it's difficult and just because it is complex and just because many issues have to be thought through, including the funding and implementation of it, many other nations around the world have done this. this great nation can rise to this challenge. we should do so. >> all right. anybody else on that? okay. so the airline industry has made tremendous gains in safety over the decades. one of the reasons you've become so safe is when something would happen, you'd look at what happened and make adjustments. the industry made tremendous adjustments over the years. we had this horrible situation with the air wings crash in germany. the pilot deliberately bringing it down. has that unveiled any safety crack that needed to be addressed, or was that such a far flung off the radar event that there's no action that the industry needs to take?
>> well in the u.s. system and the systems that we use for pilot training qualification are just very different. these airlines require incredible experience and education in order to become a part 121 atp holder in the u.s., number one. number two, to the specifics of that, we've had post 9/11, the two-person cockpit rule all along. there's not that situation. i believe actually the europeans are adopting the u.s. always two people in the cockpit. so i think our systems are just different. i don't expect -- i mean i don't know that the final recommendations have come out of the safety authorities in europe, but we should wait and see. one of the rules you always follow in those circumstances,
if it's the ntsb or investigative agency, that you always want the process to run its course for its recommendation. >> i'll add, to your question, we don't let anything just feel like such an anomaly we don't do anything. safety is everything. richard is right. we think our business is different enough for a number of reasons that it doesn't cause for any immediate issues. but the faa is now formed an arc on this and is going to study this with the right people involved. the airlines pilots people that understand this, to do it the way we're doing things to ensure we don't have an incident like that. because we never look at anything and say, that's just such an anomaly, we're not going to worry about it. our industry makes sure we cover all the bases. >> before we get to the final questions, and i'm running short of time, i just wanted to
mention the national press club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. we fight for a free press worldwide. for more information, go to the website, press.org. to learn about the non-profit or to donate to the journalism institution, visit press.org/institute. i also want to remind the audience of upcoming speakers. one week from today keeler the author and host of the prairie home companion will address the press club. on july 8th we've just got the coach of the washington capitals who, unfortunately, season is done for now. he's still coming to the national press club. and i'd like to present each of our three guests with the national press club mug. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> these are the extremely valuable artifacts that people
get when they come and speak at the club. i'm sure it will be treasured by each of you. >> always. >> i'm just really glad we didn't have to follow garrison keeler. >> we are all three slightly above average. >> i think you're good looking, too, brother. >> i don't think so. >> so we have a tradition of ending these lunches a little more on the lighter side. we've mentioned how unusual it is to have three airline ceos together in one place, taking questions from the press. we don't know when this will happen again. i don't know that -- >> hopefully never. >> -- it happened before. while we have this opportunity, would you be interested in saying why your airline is better than the guy sitting next to you? >> how much time do you have? >> is there a particular advantage that you see in yours? >> i'll jump out first.
i actually -- i'll say something that i think may surprise you all. i think that post consolidation, the u.s. airline industry is so much better than it has ever been. candidly i think reality is far out ahead of perception. i think each of our carriers delta and american united offer today a better product than they've offered in their history. better customer service than they've offered in their history. better technology, better facilities better fleet. better route networks. better customer convenience. better schedule utility than we've ever had. the reason we compete together so well and so fervently is because we are now in a position that we're making the kinds of investments in you our
customers, and in our employees that we have never been able to make. not because we were stupid. but because we were poor. we are finally making sufficient money, and we have sufficient cash flow to invest in our businesses, invest in our employees, invest in our fleet, facilities and technology, and return cash to the shareholders our ultimate owners. so i think each of us runs a good airline. i think each of the airlines offer different things. but we all are offering an ever-increasingly better product for the american consumer. that's why it's so important. that's why it's important for us and, as doug put it we're not giving up on the carrier issue. this will end up devastating this industry. as i tell our own employees, this isn't necessarily for me. it's the nextgen ration generation of leaders in the industry.
it's so damaging to the future of our own employees, and our airlines and the united states and the economy of the united states, that we, despite our very tough competition -- and i hate these guys. i will tell you and they hate me, too -- we're here together because this is such an important issue. i want to thank you for the opportunity for us to be here and for us to address this very important crowd. thank you. [ applause ] >> that was very diplomatic of you. look, part of the problem is it's hard for us to answer this question because, as jeff said this is where we compete now. competing for premium customers and product is where this industry is headed. dramatically different industry. we are -- i know we're proud at american of what we're doing. we do have a great product.
we're going to have a better product than either of these airlines, if we don't already. look, what i really should say is just look at the socks for goodness sakes. [ applause ] >> it's okay. >> we at american are professional carrier. okay, look i do have one thing to say. we talk about the three ceos and how big a deal it is. it is a big deal. it's somehow though, unfortunately, gets turned around in the media to be a personal ceo versus ceo airline versus airline thing. that's not what this is about. this is about public policy between the u.s. government and two countries. if those airlines, those ceos are doing what i would imagine we would do if we had subsidies, flying where they can and doing the best they can with what they're given -- and they're
given a lot. so it's not what this is about. the three of us aren't fighting those three ceos. the three of us are petitioning our government, the u.s. government. that's where our case is is to the u.s. government. please act. because these other two countries aren't playing fair, and it's going to have a material impact on u.s. trade over time. nothing to do with people or airlines. it has to do with u.s. trade policy and it's being violated. >> we have 30 seconds left mr. anderson. do you want to defend your socks? >> no. i don't. but i think doug should defend him. [ laughter ]. >> i'm happy to do that. >> they don't even match your suit. >> i'll yield. >> i would like to ask the audience to give a round of applause to our speakers. [ applause ] i'd also like to thank the national press club staff, including the journalism institute and broadcast center
for organizing today's event. if you want a copy of today's program or learn more about the club, go to press.org. thank you. we are adjourned. this morning, the u.s. house passed a $612 billion defense bill. 269-151 was the vote. the hill writing that only eight republicans opposed the bill, while 41 democrats supported it. despite obama's veto threat.
from leaders who whipped their members against the bill. obama has threatened to veto the bill over the way it would fund the pentagon. the bill seeks ceilings on defense spending in place under the 2011 budget deal that introduced sequestration spending limits. but would increase spending in the pentagon's war account to give them more flexibility. the white house opposes language in the bill meant to prevent the administration from shutting the guantanamo bay prison. that from the hill. you can watch the house debate on the bill on our website at c-span.org. here are some of the featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m. on c-span, we're in chicago for what consumers can expect on innovation. speakers include comcast chairman and ceo.
columnist fisher and tom wheeler. sunday morning at 10:30, president obama is at georgetown university discussing ideas on how to alleviate poverty in the united states. on c-span2, saturday morning beginning at 10:00 eastern on book tv we're live from city hall in maryland for the ghaithersburg book festival. representatives tom davis and martin frost. former obama adviser david axelrod. at 9:00, president of the american constitution society on the impact of labor and employment laws on working women and their families. and on american history tv on c-span3, saturday afternoon at 2:00 eastern, on oral histories. remembering the liberation of nazi concentration camps with an interview of klein on her life in the jrue wishewish get tows after the sghettos.
she barry sur -- barely survived. and then the relationship that church churchill developed with american presidents. accord together a report from the homeland security inspector general, the administration is not properly maintaining its explosive detecting spanners and x-ray machines at airports. the inspector general testified earlier this week. utah congressman chairs this two-hour hearing. committee on oversight government reform will come to order. the chair authorized to declare a recess at any time. we have an important hearing today. dealing with the tsa. airport security is pivotal to
our nation's security. we appreciate the thousands of men and women who serve at the tsa. they work hard, work -- they're dedicated, committed. they don't know what they're going to see. we have an inordinate amount of guns still trying to be taken through airports. weapons of all kinds. it's a very difficult situation, with literally tens and tens of thousands of security badges that are out there. we need to continue to have a good, vibrant discussion in this country about the safety and security of our airports and how to do that. one of the things i like to say and i've said it many times and i'm sure i'll continue to say it, is we're different in this nation is that we are self-critical. we take a look at our security parameters and challenge the notion that the standard status quo is acceptable. one of the things that stuck out to me in the 9/11 report the commission that came together is that often, government lacks imagination. terrorists who want to do harm and provide mayhem, death and
destruction to the united states of america will often be more creative than our security personnel. so to have this type of discussion, it's good that we hear a variety of perspectives. we've had good work from the inspector general. good work from the gal. we have good perspective from others who had to deal with highly targeted areas such as israel. that's the type of discussion we had today. it requires that we have a very good communication between the congress and homeland security. specifically the tsa. we've had an exceptionally difficult time. exceptionally difficult time getting informationst st -- tsa on basic matters. one of the things we ask for, ladies and gentlemen, is a blank form. a blank form. not filled out. a blank form that people are to use, as they do assess security. we ask to see a copy of it. we were allowed to see it
in-camera. members here were not allowed to see that. so we ask for a copy of it. this is what they give us. 100% redacted. this is a blank form that they will not even allow congress to see. now, if that's the type of cooperation we're going to get from the tsa, we're going to have some difficult times. now, we had invited mr. carraway, the acting administrator, to come before the committee. at first we heard a variety of excuses. we needed more than two weeks. then we had a dust up because, for weeks, we had planned to do this. in fact, more than a month, we planned to do this. felt that he as the acting administrator would be pivotal to the discussion. homeland security objected to mr. ron's presence on the panel. they felt it was demeaning to
actually have the acting administrator sit on the same panel as a non-government witness. that's absurd. that's offensive. it's a waste of the committee's time. it's a waste of congress's time. we don't need two panels to have this discussion. we want to have one panel. now, we had decided in a bipartisan, mutual way, that cabinet level secretaries, if they come to testify before the committee, will be the sole person to testify. if you're below a cabinet level secretary, we're not going to separate you out into your own panel. but the tsa, different than others that we've had -- i would remind you we've had a variety of other people come before the committee, who sits side by side with regular people from the outside, from the private sector. so unfortunately, the tsa has refused and mr. carraway has refused the committee's invitation to appear before
congress. we've been working on this since the first part of april. they've had plenty of notice. up until late, late late yesterday, he was going to be here. if it was a separate panel. now, because we are not going to waste this committee's time, we are not going to waste member's time, they are not sitting here today. we will have less of a hearing because of it. it's an embarrassment that they would do that. they make these decisions themselves. but that is not the way it's going to work around here. tsa said maybe we'll give you somebody else. it's not the tsa's decision as to who congress calls to testify. that is not their decision. it is the decision of the congress to understand and be informed by those who they invite before congress. that's where we find ourselves today. with that, i'm going to yield to -- i took extra time there with the explanation -- but i'll recognize the chairman of the
sub yncommittee on transportation, mr. mica of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member for holding this meeting. i think it's an insult to the committee that tsa would not send the acting administrator to this panel with the due notice. this is a very important oversight hearing. we spend about $7 billion a year now on tsa's activities. if anyone takes time to read this report, we're going to hear from john roth in a few minutes the inspector general, who produced this report. every member of congress and people throughout the country should read this report. this report is an indictment of the failure of tsa, not just in one area, but in almost every one of their functions.
it's supposed to be a multi-tiered transportation security system they set up. in every aspect just glance through the report. everything from passenger baggage screening. one indictment after another, on systems to provide access for people who don't pose a risk. we all support tsa pre-check. they in fact -- and it's designed to expedite passengers who don't pose a risk. in fact we find instances in which they fail to connect the dots and find -- found a passenger who was a convicted terrorist. sarah jane olson, who went
through tsa. their system failed to find these people. the most important thing is we're trying to do is find people who pose a risk. the tsa agent who saw her go through actually identified her because she was such a well-known terrorist from her picture. then what's more astounding is he went to a superior, and he actually authorized the expediting of a terrorist through the system. this is an outrageous history. i just -- i have to say, the chairman is not adjacent come lately. further in the report, they talk about equipment purchases and the failure of buying. you have to have the pest technology when someone comes through. not just an expedited system. but see what they have that poses a risk, whether it's arms
or explosives and other devices that might harm us. back in 2009, the chairman introduced legislation to restrict the purchase of some equipment that actually didn't do the job. this is a press account back then. she was he was thwarted. they ended up buying equipment. read the report. an indictment of buying billions of dollars of equipment that failed. puffers that failed. this rapid scan equipment. it's interesting, the history is also interesting that linda represented one company. people might be familiar with l3. then rapid scan, which the chairman raised some questions about privacy issues and not using it. they split the contract half a billion contract between the two competing lobbyists. then half a billion for the equipment is one thing.
then another quarter billion per set of equipment to install this stuff. this is an indictment of even the remaining equipment, the rapid scan. the chairman raised question about it and it had to be taken out. then on top of that, this report says the equipment they have, they can't maintain. they don't know whether it works or not. they don't have people properly trained to run the equipment. this is a very sad day, and i can see why tsa did not want to show up today. there's 61,000 employees. 15,000 administrators. we have a cap of 46000 screeners. this whole report outlines in each area training recruitment, acquisition of equipment, how they failed. i see why that seat is empty today. tsa would not show their face to
this committee today. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. now the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i do thank you for calling this very important hearing. the transportation security administration has an incredibly challenging mission. it has to strike the right balance between passenger safety and passenger convenience. everyone who has been to an airport in the past 15 years can relate to the frustration of waiting in long lines at security checkpoints. but after 9/11 we are painfully aware of the dangers we face on a continuing basis. to challenge the tsa is to develop programs that maximize safety and convenience programs that protect the traveling public without making their experience unbearable. last year, congress directed tsa to increase the number of
passengers enrolled in the pre-check program. under the program, travelers submit background information criminal histories and fingerprints. this information is run against terrorists watch lists and criminal databases. if these searches turn up no problems passengers are given known traveler numbers and that allows them to pass through expedited security lines with fewer restrictions. when congress passed this law, it gave tsa specific targets. for example, congress directed tsa to certify that 25% of all passengers are eligible for expedited screening without lowering security standards. and that the agency has been working towards that goal. however, the inspector general and the government accountability office raised concerns about this process.
for example, the current program relies on passengers to provide information about any new criminal convictions or similar information after they have enrolled in the program. in other words, the system relies on passengers to self-update. according to the inspector general, tsa should develop a system to conduct 24-hour recurrent vetting of pre-checked members against law enforcement and intelligence databases. i know many people and agencies have been working for years to do just that. i also understand how difficult it is to link various local state and federal data systems. however, this may be one area in which our committee can offer unique assistance. especially with our wide jurisdiction that cuts across all levels of government. gao and the inspector general also raised concern with the
managed inclusion program. under this program tsa officers identify passengers that are not enrolled in the pre-check program. and direct them to pass through the pre-checked security lanes if they appear to be low risk. tsa uses behavioral detection officers to identify passengers with low risk indicators. such as children and the elderly. also employ explosive trace detection and canine teams. although tsa tested the individual pieces of the management inclusion program it has not tested them as a whole system. in addition the inspector general recommended tsa halt the manage inclusion program until technology can be developed to connecter ris terrorist watch lists with security checkpoints. another concern is perimeter
security. one of our witnesses today mr. rafi ron, flagged this as an issue that needs much more attention. particularly given the various entities that play a role in this process. including local airport police airport operators and tsa. after a 50-year-old hopped a fence at the san jose international airport, climbed into an aircraft wheel well and traveled to hawaii they investigated the perimeter breeches. many have occurred since 2004 in airports that handle 3/4 of the nation's commercial passenger traffic. we're better than that. we're only as strong as the weakest link in our chain. it is important to ensure that all of these issues are
addressed. it is easy to criticize the agency, but it is much more difficult and takinge ings more efforts to identify solutions to the problems and ensure they are well implemented. i want to thank the chairman for calling this hearing. i agree carraway ought to be here and as i said to you before the hearing began we need to fix a date for him to come in so we can hear from him. i know the chairman is focused on these issues extensively. i want to thank him for all of his hard work in this area. i also look forward to the testimony today. with that, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. i'll hold the record open for five legislative days for members who want to submit a written statement. now, we'll recognize our witnesses. as i mentioned earlier, mr. melvin carraway acting administrator for the department of transportation security
administration at the department of homeland security was scheduled to testify but has not shown up. he's elected to not testify today, which was not an optional activity. we are pleased to have the honorable john roth inspector general for the department of homeland security. ms. jennifer grover, acting director of homeland security and justice at the government accountability office. and mr. rafi ron president and ceo of new age security solutions. who also has extensive airport security work he has personally participated in in israel. we welcome you all, pursuant to rules, all witnesses will be sworn before they testify. if you will rise and raise your right hand. do you sol umly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for
discussion, we appreciate it if you'd limit your testimony to five minutes. your entire written record will be obviously made part of the record. we're liberal on your verbal comments but try to keep it close to five. we'll start with you, mr. roth. you're now recognized for five minutes. >> chairman chaffetz ranking members and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to testify today about airport security issues. tsa is required to screen 1.8 million passengers and 3 million carry on bags at 450 airports nationwide per day. tsa cases a classic asymmetric threat. it cannot afford to miss a single genuine threat without catastrophic consequences. a terrorist on the other hand, only needs to get it right once. tsa's 50,000 transportation security officers spend long hours performing tedious tasks that require constant vigilance.
come play san complacency can be a problem. ensuring kois ente inging consistently would challenge the best organizations. unfortunately, nearly 14 years have passed since tsa's inception, we remain deeply concerned about the ability to excuse its mission. since 2004, we've published more than 1515 audit and inspection reports. we've issued hundreds of recommendations to attempt to improve tsa's efficient is i and effectively. we have conducted a series of covert penetration tests. testing tsa's ability to stop us from bringing in explosives and weapons through checkpoints, and testing whether we could enter areas through other means. throe the though the results of those are classified, and we'd be happy to brief the members in private settings, we saw human and
technology-based failures. we've audited and reported on tsa's acquisitions. our audit reports shows challenges. despite spending billions on aviation security technology our testing of certain systems revealed no resulting improvement. we have examined the performance of tsa's work force, which is largely a function of who is hired and how they're trained and managed. our audits repeatedly found that human error, often failure to pose protocol, poses transportation vulnerabilities. we look at how tsa plans for buys deploys and maintains its equipment and found challenges at every step in the process. these weaknesses have real and negative impact on transportation security as well. additionally, we looked at how tsa assesses risk in determining expedited screening. we applaud tsa's efforts to use
risk-based passenger screening because it allows tsa to focus on high or unknown risk passengers instead of known vetted passengers who pose less risk. however, we have deep concerns about some of tsa's decisions about the level of risk. we recently assessed the pre-check initiative. as a result of that inspection, we concluded that some of the methods that the tsa used in determining risk are sound approaches to increasing the pre-check population. other methods, specifically some of tsa's risk assessment rules, creates security vulnerabilities. based on the review we believe tsa needs to modify the vetting and screening processes. unfortunately, tsa did not concur with the majority of our recommendations. we believe that this represents tsa's failure to understand the gravity of the situation. as an example of pre-check as a rule nebltas a rule nebltvulnerables, a felon was
granted pre-check. the traveler was a former member of a terrorist group and was involved in faelonious criminal activities that led to arrest and conviction. the traveler was released after serving prison sentencing. the officer recognized the traveler based on media coverage, but that traveler was permitted to use expedited screening. some problems appear to persist. while tsa cannot control all risks to transportation security, many issues are well within their control. sound planning and strategies for sufficiently requiring, using and maintaining screen equipment that operates at full capacity to detect dangerous items would go a long way in improving the overall operations. better training and management of transportation security officers would help mitigate the effects of human errors, which can never be eliminated but can
be reduced. taken together tsa is focused on its management work forces and assets would help enhance security, as well as customer service for air passengers. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. i welcome any questions you and members of the committee may have. >> thank you to you and your staff who spent a lot of time putting this information together. we appreciate it. ms. grover, you're recognized for five minutes. >> good morning chairman chaffetz chaffetz, ranking member cummings and other members. thank you for assessing the oversight of tsa's screening effectiveness. screening systems must work properly to deliver the security protections that they promise. over several years, gao found weaknesses in tsa's oversight of its screenings systems, raising questions about whether tsa is falling short in its ability to ensure aifviation security. tsa has taken some steps to
improve oversight of these systems. but additional actions are needed. today, i will focus on four areas. first, the secure flight program, which matches passenger information against federal government watch lists to ensure that those who should not fly or should receive enhanced screening are identifyied. second, the full body scanners used to screen passengers for prohibited items at the checkpoint. third, the management inclusion screening process which tsa uses to provide expedited screening to passengers not previously identified as low risk. fourth, criminal history checks done to vet airport workers. regarding secure flight, we found in september 2014 that tsa did not have timely and reliable information about the extent or causes of system matching errors. which occur when secure flight fails to identify passengers who
were matches to the watch list. in response to our recommendation, tsa has developed a mechanism to keep track of the known matching errors and they're considering methods to evaluate overall secure flight matching accuracy rates on an ongoing basis. in march 2014 tsa did not include information about screener performance when they were evaluateing ait effective effectiveness. tsa's assessment was limited to the accuracy of the ait systems in the laboratory. however, after an ait identifies a potential threat a screening officer must do a targeted pat down to resolve the alarm. thus, the accuracy of the screeners in performing the pat downs properly is key to understanding the effectiveness of the aits in the airport environment.
tsa conferred to make it a function of the technology and the screening officers who operate it but has not addressed the recommendation fully. similarly, in december 2014, we found that tsa had not tested the security effectiveness of the managed inclusion system as it functions as a whole. as part of managed inclusion, tsa uses multiple layers of security. such as explosive detection units and kaycanines, in a system designed for low risk passengers. if the security layers are not working, then tsa may not be sufficiently screening passengers. as you noted, tsa has tested the individual layers of security used in managed inclusion and reported finding them effective. though gao raised concerns about the effectiveness of some layers, such as behavior officers. at the time of the report tsa
was planning to complete testing of the system by mid 2016. finally, regarding tsa's involvement in airport worker vetting, we found in december 2011 that the criminal history information available to tsa and airports for background checks was limited. specifically, tsa's level of access to fba criminal history records was exclusive many state records. in response to our recommendation, tsa and the fbi confirmed there was a risk of incomplete information, and the fbi since reported expanding the criminal history records information available to tsa for the security threat assessments. in conclusion, tsa has made progress in improving its screening oversight, such as by taking steps to understand the vulnerabilities in the secure flight program and by working with the fbi to maintain access to complete background information. more work remains to ensure that secure flight ait and managed inclusion are working as
intended. this concludes my statement. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. mr. ron, you're recognized for five minutes. >> first of all, i'd like to thank the chairman and the members of the committee for inviting me to testify again before you. i have chosen to speak today not on passenger screening as the other witnesses have referred to this in details, but the rather go into what mr. cummings mentioned earlier, and that is the failure to deal with what i would describe as the airport facility security which is an extremely important part of our airport and aviation security system. what i wish the committee to
understand is that the importance of perimeter security has to be measured against the threat of somebody being able to access an aircraft parked on the ground, without knowledge, without detection. in the case of a stow away, as we've witnessed in the past, they tried to get -- hide in the wheel well. instead of that 120 pounds of bone and flesh of a person, they leave behind a two pound device that will not be noticed. the measures being implemented today are simply unable to do that. so if i would put that into a
nutshell, i would say that while we invest billions of dollars every year in screening passengers and at the same time, we leave the perimeter -- i don't want to say unattended -- but i'd say unattended to a satisfactory level. what we actually do is invest all our resources on the front door and leaving the back door open. at the end of the day, it is the same aircraft that we're trying to protect by the screening that will be harmed by the easy, rel tiffly ly -- relatively easy access of individuals through the perimeter. perimeter is certainly a -- something that we have noticed in the past. it was discussed in this committee. i haven't seen a lot of development during the last few years, despite the fact that it made a lot of headlines.
the other subject that made a lot of headlines lately is the issue of the threat of the insider or in other terms, when employees become part of an often operation to carry out illegal activity that could be also translated into terrorist threat immediately. we saw the case in atlanta. although here in this case, i have to say that tsa has responded to it rather quickly by increasing their background checks and the frequency of those checks. but as we just heard from the other witnesses, there's still an open question about the quality of the background check itself. whether that provides us with
the security that we need. the third thing, point i'd like to refer to is the issue of how well do we protect the public and the employees at the airport against ground attacks, as we witnessed a couple of yearslax, when an active shooter started shooting at the checkpoint, and the security forces at the airport responded in a way that certainly can lead us to conclusion that there's a lot of room for improvement in this area. the common denominateor of these three points i made is none of them are related to passengers. yet, they are falling back, even in comparison with the quality of screening passengers. that means that the reason for that, in my view is that in 2001, when tsa was established,
it was established both as an implementer of security, as well as a regulator. i don't know any other example in government structures where an entity is actually regulating itself. there has to be a certain level of independence to the regulator. independence and authority for the regulator to first of all, issue regulations that sometimes may not be comfortable for the implementer. but still have to be performed. and certainly, when you look for the performance that doesn't meet the regulatory requirements, when you are in charge of implementation, that's a conflict of interest. i strongly recommend that the committee will have a look at it and they'll consider a solution to that.
and the last point that i'd like to make is that when we look at police forces in airports around the country, we see more or less standard law enforcement organizations, as we meet in the city center. we have to understand that at the airport, the police function -- the police priority should be security and prevention, rather than law enforcement and reaction. when a terrorist attack takes place, it's all over. there's very little that you can do, except deal with the damages. we talk about explosive devices. even when we talk about active shooters. we need to perform better. that certainly calls for a different type of airport policing. airport police should be a dedicated, specialized force where people are selected on the basis of their ability to perform those roles. they have to be trained and
certified. and their certification has to be maintained. exercises should be carried out on a regular basis. at the end of the day we have to make sure that our capability to prevent, or in cases where we need to respond, will be quick and effective. this is not where we are today. i thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. ron. all of the witnesses, and we're going to move now to a round of questioning. i'll start. first of all, what you just said was interesting. you said tsa tries to do everything. there are very few models of this. romania, gull garbulgaria and some third-world countries have that structure. there should be some separation. the government should be in charge of security information, for example, getting the
intelligence and preparing the lists. even if you repair a list as you testified -- first, i'll let you respond. am i correct in what i stated, about the structure being flawed? >> yes. you are correct. >> that's something, again, the committee, we never set it up to have tsa continue to operate this huge screening force. never in our wildest imagination would we imagine 46000 screeners and 15,000 administrators. stop and think about that. again, the report that has been released today, you see why carraway wouldn't show up. just go over it. this is not my findings. are you fairly independent, mr. roth? you're the inspector general? >> i am. >> this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. first thing, we conducted covert penetrate tests. i ask the staff, many members
are new, have not participated in a closed briefing, you need to get one in here on the rate of failures. it'll appalling the failure rate. don't give any specifics that are classified. but it's an appalling value right, right? >> we are deeply concerned. >> we have identified vulnerabilities caused by human and technology failures. we will set that up and the committee and members of congress. we've audited tsa's acquisition acquisitions. the history is a fi yasasco. i cited the lobbyists equipment that people weren't trained for. here's the gao technology report. you said in fact you cited that some of the technology oversight in this report of march last year does not enforce
compliance with operational directives. that's still the case? tsa does not? in fact, i think from march of 2011 through february 2013 about half the airports with ait systems did not report any ied checkpoint results. is this correct? >> yes, sir, that's correct. >> not much improvement according to what you found, mr. roth on operation training and then auditing. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> okay. then let's go -- the third point, these aren't my points. this is what he found. we examined the performance of tsa's work force largely a function of who is hired and how they're hired and trained and managed. still problems with recruiting, right, mr. roth? still problems with training mr. roth? >> correct. >> still problems with managing
right? >> yes. >> and they're responsibility in conducting audit and oversight within the system, right? >> correct. >> audits have been repeatedly found of human error and often a simple failure to follow protocol poses significant vulnerabilities. is that your statement? >> it is, sir. >> the last one here. we looked how tsa plans to buy, deploy and maintain its equipment. read the history. the threat people don't realize is that it's very serious and ongoing, and the bad guys are one step ahead of us. just look at the history. the shoe bomber tsa never detected it, right? >> correct. >> the diaper bomber. never detected it right? >> correct. >> the "new york times" square
bomber. bought his ticket on the phone, went to jfk and went through the screening systems and was not stopped until he was on the plane, and it wasn't tsa right? >> that's my understanding. >> that's my understanding. but these are failures of this very expensive $7 billion 61,000 people system. this is an indictment. it's very concerning. the equipment failure is also very concerning because that's sort of your last line of defense. we have advanced imaging technology and, yet, people are not trained to operate it or detect it detect threats. is that right, mr. roth? >> we found significant hue rorman error. >> so what we have out there. then the last thing is these guys are smart. when the members and staff get the next briefing, the thing that concerns me is right now
all these systems are pretty much metal or nitrate based. is that pretty much an assumption, they detect metal or nitrates for explosives? >> i can't testify about that. >> okay. i can tell you that that is what they are. we tried to put in place behave behavior detection, which was a failure. other committees looked how we did it. it's wrong. israel did it, but they can profile. we can't profile. israel can do other things that we can't do. behavior detection, as far as you're concerned and in one of these reports, is a failure too. that's looking at people detecting behavior. >> both the ig as well as gao have done work on that. >> the safeguards aren't in place for the passengers
pre-check system, in making certain that we eliminate people who pose a risk. that's still the case? yes or no? >> yes. >> still the case ms. grover? >> yes, sir. >> yeah. so again, even what's most astounding is this particular individual i cited before, the woman, was so notorious that the tsa officer identified her by other pictures he'd seen of the terrorist. went to a terrorist and she got a free pass but expedited through tsa. that's a failure is it not, mr. roth? >> yes. >> ms. grover? >> the system in that case actually worked as tsa intended for it to work. that's my understanding. >> her data never came up. >> she was not on the watch list. >> exactly. that's where we need to get this information. people who pose a risk, we can identify, go after them or stop
them. they can't get through. finally, the badge issue. it was almost -- was it a couple of years that a tsa approved the badges in atlanta, where they gave badges out and didn't do the proper background checks? is that right, mr. roth? >> we have done some work on that in 2013. we had an audit where we found the backlog was so great, that tsa allowed airports simply to grant the badges without a background check being done at the time. >> of the items cited by mr. ron, one of the issues is people inside the system who pose a risk. the perimeter also, he mentioned, which poses a risk that we don't have systems in place for. then the outdated structure we have, where tsa tries to do everything and does nothing very well, which is well documented by your report. thank you, mr. roth. i yield now to the gentle lady
from new york. >> thank you for your testimony and your work, and i thank the ranking member and chair for calling this important hearing. i agree completely with the statements of mr. roth, when he said the terrorist only has to be right once. we have to be right 100% of the time. we have to stop them from coming through. i would say nothing is more important than protecting our people. i will say that since 9/11 the new york city police department has documented well over 17 attempts to murder new yorkers. they have been thwarted through the combined efforts of all of law enforcement including tsa, which is working every day to stop it. for some reason, in our intelligence classified intelligence briefings airlines continue to be a top priority for target. they keep trying different ways. we hear it from press reports, your report, reports from airline stewartesses and
captains, how they're trying to break the perimeter and get into the cockpit in different ways. i see this as a collective effort to fight back. it's not just tsa but all of us working with them to fight back. the program the pre-check program, we also need commerce to work. at first, airlines were so backed up, people weren't flying anymore. i will say now that in new york, the pre-check program is a success. now, the pre-check line is longer than the normal line. more people are in the pre-check line than the other. many people are in it, which i think speaks well that we've processed a lot of people and made it more efficient. i want to ask mrs. grover, apparently, 33% of the passengers now pass through pre-check. is that right? how many people are in pre-check now? >> the last data i saw was almost half were receiving expedited screening in one form
or other. >> half are receiving it in one form or another. that's a remarkable achievement from where you started. i see this also an effort in many ways we are trying to crack trying to crack down on terrorist financing. and many of the banks are complaining about having to do pre-check. they have to validate every single one of their customers. and there's been some ideas about letting their system work with homeland security on combining a pre-checklist. they have to report. you have to report on who's in pre-check. and i think that's a valuable new tool that we could look at in making it more efficient and also stopping more people. and i wonder what you think about that. and i have a proposed outline of a project. pilot project in that area i'd like you to look at, have your department get back to us. >> thank you. we would be happy to do that. right now, the background checks
for individuals who sign up for a pre-check are conducted by tsa. and it includes a criminal background check, a check on immigration status. and a third aspect of the check. and that's against the terrorist screening database. and so i'd be interested in talking with your staff about the specific work you'd like to do in terms of opportunities to expand that. >> yeah. well there are other units in our country that are also doing background checks. so if we could compile them together and make it more efficient in knowing who these people are and increasing our ability to keep the bad people out of new york or out of the country. but as one who represented many people, many families who perished on 9/11, it's an issue of grave concern to me. and when we created this whole system of review at airports it
was hotly debated whether it should be private or government. many of us believe our police and fire charged with protecting us, our government and tsa has the same level of importance in protecting our people and are now a huge target area which continues for some reason, airlines. and i believe it should remain a government function. it's too important protecting lives of citizens. there is a move in congress to privatize it. i'm opposed to that. i believe it would weaken the system, not strengthen it. but i welcome this hearing of ideas of how we can strengthen this very important program. but the bottom line we haven't had another tragedy in a long time. when was the last time we had many attempts. but when was the last time there was a terrorist attack that was successful on the airlines? >> well i guess the 2009 attack would be the last significant
one. >> and what happened in 2009? >> and that was an attempt to take down an airline. it was the gentleman that was bringing explosives on to the plane and that was stopped on the plane. and in response to that, tsa put additional systems in place to be able detect nonmetallic explosives. and they also started expanding the watch lists. but as part of our work we have found that there are weaknesses in the ability of the current systems to be able to identify even all of the people who are on the watchlists. in fact, there are still errors in that. and we also have work that has exposed weaknesses in the ait systems and tsa's knowledge in how they work. there's work to be done. >> well it's a work in progress. and the bottom line it was stopped. and so we join you in your efforts. and thank you for your testimony. and my time has expired.
thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. ron. why do you believe preventing perimeter breaches should be a top priority? in your testimony, you mentioned perimeter breaches. you mentioned a wheel well situation. but why do you believe that perimeter breaches should be a top priority? >> because -- because at the end of the day everything that we do at a check point can be boiled down to the need to prevent a passenger from bringing an explosive device or a weapon that will allow an attack against the aircraft. the flying aircraft. the same target can be achieved simply by breaching the perimeter. and the problem with breaching the perimeter is that we have
reports about 230-something cases that "associated press" reported lately. those are the cases that we know about. keep in mind that most airports around the country do not have a detection system on their perimeter. and therefore, one could enter and leave the airport without giving any traces. the way to prevent that, the same result we're trying to prevent at the check point, i would consider it. >> it negates all the effort. do you think that tsa has taken insider or outsider threats seriously? >> i think that the fact that there is a division between federal responsibility and local responsibility. it leads to the failure to upgrade standards on prim sister
security. when it comes to a direct responsibility, implementation responsibility of tsa, we see all the resources available. and the screening corporation takes the major almost all of tsa's operational budget. when it comes to the perimeter security, it is expected that the airport will take care of that. the airport doesn't have neither the manpower to do that a number of police officers is too short for that. the ability to invest in a technology detection technology around the perimeter, which doesn't come cheap. is also very limited. and if in the past and i refer to 9/11 when faa was the regulator only the regulator.
and it also controlled the ait program which provides grounds to airports for improvements. security was part of it. now, the security is not very much a priority for faa because it has been pushed towards tsa's or dhs -- the idea of funding those, the necessary steps is falling between the chairs. >> so the coordination is out of whack, as well with the resources. let me move on. asking each of you to respond to this question. do you believe tsa overprescribes technological solutions and fails to think creative about airport security? >> yes, i do. >> i think i do. basically, we do not pay enough attention to the passenger himself. the fact that we have started implementing steps in that direction like pre-check should
be welcomed. although, we need to carefully look at what is being done as well as suggested here earlier. but i think it is a step in the right direction. >> ms. grover? >> i also think the behavior of detection is part of it. but obviously, i have a dispute on that with some of the other, witnesses. >> could you respond? >> i would answer your question by saying that i think tsa is overemphasizing getting the programs up and running and underemphasizing evaluating their effectiveness regardless of whether we're talking about technology solutions or other solutions. >> are we lacking imagination and creativity? >> you know tsa is open to different options. and they put different strategies in place. but creativity is not helpful if tsa doesn't have evidence to show it works. >> okay. >> mr. roth? >> just briefly yes. i believe that the best technology solutions in the world if the workforce is not
trained to use them does not follow the protocols they're supposed to use is useless. so there is that. >> i guess my concern is as i travel through detroit and washington most generally i see tsa agents attempting to perform their functions. in most cases with courtesy doing their jobs as it's clear they've been told to do. but i just wonder that -- if there aren't some great ideas that could come from tsa agents themselves that people aren't willing to listen to or given time to listen to on how to deal with our passengers and our security risk, which includes the perimeter. they hear about it just like us. and know for a fact that all they've done at the pre-check line or the general line can be can be taken out of any type of positive results simply because
we haven't looked at all of the places we could go. so thank you for your testimony. i see my time has expired and i yield back. >> mr. lynch, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman if i could just ask -- i know that because of the scope and depth of the problem here mr. carroway's attendance would be important. i'm wondering if the committee has plans to subpoena him, mr. chairman. >> i don't. i honestly don't know. i discussed that with the staff beforehand. >> and i yield to the ranking member? >> what was the question? >> well the fact that -- i mean, we've got wide problems here you know, from perimeter security to people around the pre-checklist that are felons. an