tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 16, 2016 2:19pm-4:20pm EDT
comment. let me highlight a few points. the results of the test last year, the first thing we did was a true cause analysis. what happened? what i found were systemic problems in agency focus and training and in the way in which we deployed our equipment. i took two months. a rolling stand down hours at a time and including myself. i made my senior leaders go through it as well. we called that and followed up with a quarterly version of mission essentials. we increased our covert testing, internal covert testing and we do immediate feedback into that. we provide -- i work from as i say, the positive side of the e kwigz and we provide rewards for those who perform well and we turn those people into trainers for the next round of folks.
we do immediate feet back and do that consistently. workforce readiness and performance and workforce accountability. we changed that. it's no longer based upon how long the lines are. that's a separate issue. we deal with that at the management level. for the frontline workforce, i want you to know they will focus on the mission and support them with the best possible training and train them on the equipment and how it operates and gave them hands on understanding of what the limitations were. there is a fuller interest that i will provide. >> the gentlemen from tennessee for five minutes. >> can you me how many tsa employees make $100,000 or more a year? >> i will have to get that number. >> can you make a rough guess?
>> i don't really know. i will have to get it for the record. >> do you know how many tsa employees got bonuses in the past year? >> there were -- as i said, i restricted the number of bonuses we do. it was a significantly smaller number based on performance and not special act awards. >> have you personally fired any employees for misconduct or routeness? >> a number of people have been fired over the past year and i came in and one of my first tasks was to permanent what the agency look like. i hold them to high standards and i have been confident in the leadership team to help lead the
team and i have been satisfied with their performance. you are spending almost as much on administration as actual screening. do you think that's accurate? >> i agree that any leader needs to look hard at the way in which the resource are being spent. i have done so and i have done a review of the entire agency and the management practices. we have taken a look at the budget and i moved a lot of resources and i have been working with the appropriators to hen sure they understand. i think there is more savings to be found. some of that is required to manage the contracts and there is always room for examination. >> were you prized when the
inspector mentioned the complaints and the criminal convictions? >> i think that was across the enterprise. we are a subsed of that number. i am displayed by misconduct. we are a large agency of about 60,000 people and it doesn't surprise me that we occasionally have people that don't act well. i am mostly concerned about how you deal with it when you discover it. i will work on understanding what the nature of allegations and misconduct are. >> i served since i have been in congress and chaired it for six years and i can tell you that you have well over twice as many as when it was privatized and there more complaints and longer lines than when it was privatized. do you have an explanation? >> there more people moving
through. >> not that many more percentage-wise. there has been an increase, but not a 2.5 times increase over when it was privatized. >> i will get you the exact number and you will be surprised at how much we are seeing. there is a lot more to worry about. threats to the system. the nature of screening is much more complex than 15 years ago. >> have you reviewed the come of the witnesses and by the administrator that you spent $12 million on restaffing of a floor that should have cost $3 million
at most? >> i put controls over the expenditures at all levels of the organization. >> also i heard that there were just about as many contractors and i read and heard that many small businesses feel they are having trouble getting meetings set up and phone calls returned. do you have or would you be willing to set up a small business ombudsman or outreach to help so many departments and agencies when they become so big. just the big giants are well connected enough to get meetings and phone calls returned. i'm wondering if you are doing something about that. >> thank you for the question. i have good news to report. that's one of my concerns coming in. my time in the coast guard, i spend time on the acquisition side.
we have great concerns and the outreach office and i am pleased to report we met our targets last year for the first time ever. we continue to do so. i don't think there is enough competition and i think there is a great deal of entrepreneurial and creative ideas in the small business world. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chair. administrator, you talked about the idea that more people are traveling and that tsa needs more workers. i wanted to concentrate on precheck. how many persons are enrolled in precheck? >> about 2.4 million people. >> what number will that grow
to? >> we have done a lot of work with them and other associations and we think we can get the number to 25 million by calendar year 19. >> what are you doing to encourage passengers to join? >> we have done a lot to seaz the program. you need to advertise for people to be aware of it. they reduced the awareness of people for it. there two factors. you have to have places where people can sign up. we have been working closely with travel association and individual airlines and the airline associations and the airport associations to increase their awareness.
some of the major rarelies have offered the miles for precheck. we have gone out to the u.s. chamber of commerce and to a number of the large corporations and microsoft corporations buys precheck for the frequent travelers. they are helping considerably. the enrollment rate is running about 165,000 per month which is more than double what we saw last year. we think it needs to get higher, but between that and the other trusted traveler programs of the government such as global entry, we believe in the associations and we think we can get this up to $25 million. that would change the way we can operate the system by calendar year 19. >> i fly in and out of o'hare and sometimes midway and what my colleague said about sometimes the precheck lines are longer
than the regular lines, but all of the carry-on luggage because of what they charge, people are carrying more and more and stuffing more and more things in the luggage and according to the "new york times," the big four airlines, american, southwest, delta and united made $22 billion in profit from their charges. i wanted to know, that's one of the sources of growing in the airline. what portion of that goes to paying airport security? do they contribute in any way? >> there is a fee that is charged on every addict and it's capped on a round trip. we are seeing more baggage through the check point and they are being diligent about
enforcing the one plus one rule. that helped considerably and we are experimenting with what we call a travel light lane. that gives those individuals who have just a simple carry on like a brief case or a purse. they moved through and it's the carry on baggage that is one of the major slow down points in a check point. >> i wonder if they are on the screening process and the more they charge, the less people are going to check their bags. i think american is $35 for a piece of luggage. what do you think about that? >> it's a decision of the airlines to make those fees. i can talk about the impact of people carrying a lot of luggage
through the check point. i had a number of conversations with the ceos of each airline. i understand why they made that business decision. i tell them what the impact can be upon us and they committed to working with us to ensure they find ways to reduce the stress at the check point. >> it's something they should look at. if everyone carries luggage on, that slows up the airplane and the on time record and on and on. i yield back. thank you. >> we will recognize the gentlemen from arizona. >> tsa employees report that directed reassignments have been used improperly to force out disfavored employees. do you believe this is an ongoing practice? >> i discontinued that practice and put strong controls on it. an operating agency needs the ability to move people to places
where the skills are needed, but you need strong controls and it needs to be done in an open way and in a way that is not used for retribution and punitive measures. >> he was issued an timeout from iowa to maine. no justification even though the move caused him hardship. they were issued similar reassignments. what's your justification? >> it was not an appropriate use of assignments and that's why i changed the policy. >> he was reassigned to a smaller and less complex airport. the person did not want to leave and the person reassigned said accepting that would cause him
hardship. can you explain the decision moving forward? >> that happened before. >> it happened before, but are you responsible? >> i am not conducting the reassignments in that manner. if i have to, i have not directly reassigned anyone under my leadership. >> now andrew was directed in 2015 with the office of special council for whistle blower activity and rescinded. can you complain how that was approved? >> i would defer to the person who made that decision. we are supporting him in his complained. >> now part of the assignment is that he was a source for the
media which he denies. >> that is being investigated. if they find that to be true, then of course it was not appropriate. >> was it approved by the resources council? >> i believe it was brought before the council under the then mandate and recommended to senior leadership beyond that. . >> have you disciplined anyone? >> i am waiting for the results and depending on what they find, it may point to discipline. >> if there is in many cases with law enforcement, people are put on administrative leaves. is anyone put on leave? >> i have not placed anyone on
leave. >> do you stand by the validity or do you have reason to believe they were improper? >> with respect to the ones you are talking about, i will rate the review and i think it's important that we look for a review to tomorrow whether or not there was improper use. i don't tell you the manner prior to my arrival was justifiable. even if it was appropriate, it wasn't done in a way that was open and transparent and otherwise controlled which is why i charveged it. we put controls on the process. >> on upsets on reassignments, are they presidentic periodic or a daily basis? >> right now the update is that we are not doing that.
someone can recommend and request a reassignment and it goes through a series of checks and reviews and that includes the sheef financial officer and comes through the administrator for decision. >> i am running out of time so i yield back. >> we recognize mr. cummings from maryland. >> i want to get down to what happened the other day when the whistle blowers came in. there was a theme running throughout their woman and they were forth ride good people. they came to us begging for
fairness. there is not a lot of them that try to undermine the things that you are trying to bring about. they felt very strongly that if these folks were not there, things would run a lot smoother. i wanted to ask you, one said this. this workforce is waiting out because they think the elections are coming. others expressed similar concerns. have you heard this type of concern and i hear that you are doing a great job, but that the problem elements at tsa are just
weighting you out and how do you put in systems that go beyond your tenure. i know you did it and they made sure that we had procurement officers that were trained properly. you set up a mechanism by which there was an inner insight on the coast guard training apparatus. now they are doing fine. how do do you that here and keep in mind what they said. they were not complaining about you, they were complaining about folks under you. how do you deal with that? do you have any idea who these whistle blowers were talking about? >> i don't know who they were referring to, but let me you how i approach leadership of this organization. the first thing you have to do is set clear scannedards and
expectations. that's directly related to getting the mission done. i hold people couldable. i sat down with my leaders and i looked at each of them eye to eye. i do this weekly and sometimes daily. i said this is what i expect of you. i told them accountable by requiring them to report back with specific measures. i have driven them hard because i know how hard i'm working and if i'm there at 8:00 at night, they are there and we do that until they get it done. i'm seeing a team that is doing
what i'm asking them to do. how do you ensure that stay there is? you inspire the workforce that the mission that they took the oath of office for. you can remind people of the oath they took and this is a workforce that committed themselves to one of the most challenging missions in the country. you put them into policy and get that stamped by the department of homeland security and you bring in leaders that will survive you on the same page you are. i have a new deputy with a stellar heptation and a chief of operations. again, a stellar operator who is
a man of integrity and is responsible for encouraging that. i will provide a list of those actions we are taking. the way you ensure it survives is you don't let it be one individual anymore which i don't. >> one of the things and i think every member of this committee and know the chairman feels this way because we talked about it a lot. we have a major problem with retaliation. we will protect the whistle blowers. when i heard about this reassignment and i know you are not doing it anymore, some of that stuff really upset me. basically what they were doing is sounded like tearing up
families and putting hardship on people. they were spending $100,000 to do reassignment that didn't make sense. i want to know your position with regard to retaliation and how you deal with that and we want to be assured that if there people doing that and i think i know. you will get every member of our committee backing you up. we want to know your position and have you found that yourself? >> i doernt col rate that. it's ill and unethical and all the people you don't want in the
organization. most of those are not longer with the agency. they left before my arrival. i'm very interested in the results into the existing cases and i will take immediate action against that. i don't col rate it. it's why i stopped the practice. i can tell you it doesn't happen and i make that clear. that's valuable information you get from people who have the courage to step forward. >> you are saying that if there people watching this at tsa who feel they are being retaliated against or action taken against
them that is illegal and improp improper, you have an open door? >> they can come direct low to me. i will turn to the inspector general and i will ask his assistance in investigating. >> thank you very much. >> i now recognize the gentlemen from south carolina. >> i will yield the remainder of my time. we are probably all prisoners and our own personal experience. while i am open and interested of the experiences and expectations of others, i never had a problem. i use d.c. a and the folks are professional. there may be members of congress and perhaps other people who consider themselves to be dig carries who expect or accept preferential treatment. the members of congress that i travel with wouldn't accept it
if it were offered to them. the member of congress has a little bit of obligation herself or himself to say no. i will stay in the line like everybody else. i am quite certain that your report can do better and that you have a plan to do better. i'm quite certain congress can do better. i will focus on fixing us. i trust that you have a plan to fix tsa and my experience with them is that you have a hard job with a jr margin for error. that's not much margin. i yield to the gentlemen from florida. >> the gentlemen, i want to take a minute and compliment mr. cummings. sometimes he and i disagree. rarely, but his line of questioning, i'm not here to bust your chops, but his line of
questioning was from the other side of the aisle. we heard great questions and the amounts of money used to pay and transfer people in retribution, and the other thing is i think you are a good guy to be sent in to clean up the mess. sometimes the leader is fed mushrooms and kept in the dark. mr. cummings described to you what we heard is going on. that you are being fed this information by these people who are protecting their rear ends. i am putting it in terms that can be transmitted on c-span, a
family community. this is our concern. i helped create tsa and i will never forget we went out and i think we had a goal of 20 or 30 minutes from curb to the gate. it was under the transportation committee. we actually went out and did it and it can be done. we don't have to hassell 99% of the people. we are supposed to be looking at the ones getting through. again, you have an attrition ready, an average of about 10%. average. across the board. if you can't tell me now, i don't want to know. >> it's higher in the pardon time. you have 45,000 as your cap.
you have 4,500 vacancies at any time. 30% are dropping out and 38% of the non-tsa. that's what we have for you. the water is draining and we are not going to get it. it's hard to administer and staffing to traffic. you heard one of your defenders, sometimes the precheck line was longer than the others because i don't know adjusts. i don't know how you get it. i'm an advocate of private screening, but i want to know the total number of bonuses paid in 2015, 2014. that's for management. then i want to know the maximum
and minimum for the creamers. they do work hard and the staff said their max is in the range of $300 and this guy is getting $80,000 and we are screwing the guy that is doing the work? if we paid them better, maybe we could retain them. they have to pay the minimum. it's not done on the cheap. you have the flexibility to pay more? >> i have some. >> maybe you need more. >> can you yield for one second. >> i top the clarify. >> i would do. >> c-span working. >> we now recognize the gentlemen from massachusetts. >> good to see you again.
you realize this is an equal opportunity committee. when we criticize you about having long lines and taking too long to screen people, if there is a breech and we will haul you up here you for not being more thorough, so we have that flexibility up here. and you do not. but i think based on what i've seen and i've been a critic at times, based on what i've seen, admiral, the work you're doing and inspector general, you continue to do, i think we're going in the right direction. we got a lot of work to do. the question we had at a previous hearing was regarding -- let me ask you up front, we seem to rely a lot on the whistle-blower and i'm wondering in the aviation and transportation security act, it says that employees may be hired and fired, you know, basically
on the will of the management at tsa. any other law in existence notwithstanding. so as i understand that, they do not have protection under title 7, civil rights act. they do not have protection under anti-discrimination law, by the language in the law. it says notwithstanding any other law to the contrary. they could be fired. and i'm just -- want to speak to that, admiral? >> they do have protection under civil rights under the equal opportunity act. we have explicitly put that into the -- into the way in which we govern the agency. they have all the -- all the due process rights and protections -- >> 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'll have to look at that case but i believe they're fully covered and that's one of the
questions i asked. >> not covered by the statute. >> the nature of the statute. it was adopted by previous administrators. >> okay, okay, i'll take your word for that. that's helpful. if they're not, if they don't have statutory protections, they have to rely on the whistle-blower protection or the 40 cases that mr. roth is able to take up each year. and that's not nearly the protections that they would need, right? let me go back, we had a case a while ago, i think there were, like, 70 or 71 employees who were on that no-fly list, terrorist watch list, that were actually working at some of our airports. and you came in and you changed that system, and i want to ask you, were those employees, were they removed? and i realize, let me fully explain, the reason that was given was that tsa was not privy to those lists on which those
employees on the terrorist watch list, the no-fly list were allowed to be employed in airports and secure areas. but when you went in, i understand it from our last conversation, we cleaned that up. i wanted to know how it was cleaned up, were they fired or what happened there? >> they actually weren't on the no fly or watch list, it was the tied database. this is information that may or may not indicate a direct association with terrorism. so one of the first things we did was, i wanted the fbi's read on every one of these individuals. and the answer back was none of them met sufficient information to actually directly call them a terrorist or associated terrorist. that said, we look back at it, many of them no longer hold their credentials, two of them had their credentials removed, and the remainder have been
scrubbed out of the database on the advice of the fbi. but it was very valuable to get -- what it did for us, though, it allowed us then to get automated access to the categories of that separate database, which then ultimately could feed into the terrorist watch list or the terrorist screening database and now we do a full automated review of every single credential holder against that database, and if anybody pops up in any category, it allows you to take a harder look at them, which we do and then go back to the intelligence community and the fbi and we do a scrub on those. >> there is a higher level of sensibility here, allowing these folks to actually work inside secure areas. >> yes, that was exactly the question i had about that. i've been working very closely there i with director comey and the initial counterterrorism center. >> mr. roth, you did a great job on the screening tests at the
big airports. and, you know, we had very high failure rate the last time you used that test. i'm not sure enough time has gone by to allow admiral neffenger to adopt a new protocol among the screeners. has that happened yet? have you done any new tests to sort of take a measurement of how we're doing? >> sure. when we have done is two things. one is the natural follow-up that we would do in any audit. for example, with regard to the penetration testing, we have reviewed tsa's 22-point plan to increase security at the checkpoint. additionally, we're planning more covert testing this summer of a similar scale that we did last summer, so we'll be able to tell exactly how we're doing. >> great. great. thank you, mr. chairman, for your indulgence, i yield back. >> now the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker, for five minutes. >> 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 nearing $200,000 per location. have you directed any of these reassignments during your tenure? >> no, sir. >> mr. brainerd reported there were relocation expenses for his reassignment to maine exceeded $100,000, is that true, as far as you know? >> that's my understanding, yes, sir. >> and would you agree that that's illegitimate use of taxpayers dollars? >> it is an in excess of what should have been spent. i've capped any relocation reassignment costs. >> how are they approved now? >> now the process is, first and foremost, it has to be looked at by the office of human capital. i want them to see is there a need for the relocation? second, has the individual that they're thinking about relocating, is that something the individual desires, wants, what is the skill set, why would you do that?
second, i have to have a cfo, a chief financial officer has to sign off on the ability to pay for it and reasonable cost and we set limits on the reasonable costs. and finally, after it gets reviewed by my executive counsel, we make the final decision in the office. >> it sounds like you're trying to develop or implement a plan for the future, which is part of a cleaning up from some of the things in the past. probably the biggest thing that concerns me is the issue with mr. hogan. do you believe that mr. hogan's performance, bonuses of $90,000 is justified for the taxpayer? >> i don't think that level of bonus was justified, period. >> okay. i'm glad to hear that. as the leader of the oso, didn't mr. hogan have a key role in directed reassignments? >> he had a role in directed reassignments. it wasn't the only role in directive reasciencements. those came out of a different office. >> you said a role, can you expand a moment for me? >> moving the office of security operations ultimately has to get
the people moved from one location to the other and perhaps has to carry out the order to make the movement happen. >> is it fair to say he had a key factor in this? >> he had a role in this, yes. >> in looking at that, his situation and his involvement, i'm sure you've considered replacing mr. hogan as the director of oso given his responsibility for screening failures, rolling directed reassignments and his question of bonus payments, is that fair to say? >> i would like it back up a little bit, and talk about -- >> i would like -- i appreciate it, but i want you to answer the question. you're welcome to expound, but i asked a direct question there. >> my first test to see what my leadership team was able to do. and everything i've asked of mr. hogan since i've been here, he's done that. i look at all of my leaders and determine whether or not they're -- >> i appreciate it. but there has been some past violations, have you had discussions? is there part of groups that say, listen, this is a decision we may have to make as far as removing hogan for these past transgressions? >> the inspector general looked
at the situation with respect to that. i think there were people responsible for that, who -- >> i'm not asking -- with all due respect, you're doing a great job, but i'm asking about you, what is your role in mr. hogan's previous indiscretions here when it comes to some of the spending expenditures? have you had discussions or is there any plan to remove him or put him on probation? what is the decision here? >> i do not currently is a plan to remove mr. hogan. he performed to my expectations since i've been there and i've not seen any indiscretions on his part in the time that i've been in tsa. >> so even though we acknowledge there has been some, do we put -- >> i don't acknowledge he had indiscretions. i think he carried out some orders and those orders results in people being reassigned, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes maybe for ill- considered reasons. >> even carrying out orders, reminds me of the movie "a few good men," these young marines were still in the fictitious
movie, carrying out the code red. if he's following orders, but still doing something wrong or going after people, there is still some accountability, is that not fair? >> i think some of those issues have been investigated and they were recommended. we have filled out those recommendations as necessary from the inspector general. i have not seen any direct misconduct on the part of mr. hogan in the time that i've been there. >> no, i appreciate that. our concern with the facts we have is before you arrived and it was not -- not so far distant past there were some indiscretions and reviews going on. my time is expiring. i hope there will be some kind of looking into mr. hogan, as far as some of the things that went on, especially these involuntary relocations. mr. cummings talked about even potentially tearing some of the families apart. i do think there is responsibility on his part, even if he was carrying out orders. i got ten seconds left. i want to compliment inspector general roth. you and your staff are properly prepared. appreciate it very much. with that i yield back. >> thank you, now recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr.
conley, for five minutes. >> thank you very much. and welcome, both of you. admiral neffenger, let me start by saying really appreciate the management reforms you have undertaken and the spirit with which you've taken them. this is a big enterprise, a difficult enterprise, a critical mission, with a lot of unsatisfying aspects to the job. very few human beings are going to make a 30-year career out of telling people to take off their belts and shoes, yet it is critical to the mission security of the american people. and so not easy, keep you motivated, to have a salary structure that makes sense, and i, for one, very much appreciate what you've done and i hope you don't leave with the new administration. and, as a matter of fact, if you do, i hope you will give paul wiedenfeld a call at metro and
join his team because we need the kind of management reforms 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 how we're treating the public -- but we still got work to do. but i have really been impressed at different airports i've gone through where -- and i just think when you create a more hospitable, friendly climate that invites people's cooperation, you get it. and 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? and i just thank you for that. and i hope you'll keep that sense of the culture present, we're not dealing with cattle, we're dealing with people. and we need their cooperation and want them to feel good about the experience, as best they can.
and i think we do have a long, suffering public that gets it about the security mission and is willing to put up with more than i would have guessed. but we should make it as easy as possible without compromising the security and that ought to be the ethos. so i commend it to 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, a management challenge, what is happening in terms of wait times. so, for example, 600 passengers missed their flights in charlotte, north carolina, on good friday because of wait times that exceeded three hours. now, miss maloney said she doesn't know anyone who complains. my guess is there was 600 people that day on good friday in charlotte, who did. it is one thing to understand, i'll be discomoted and inconvenienced to get through a
security line to protect me and everybody else, it is quite another, the price of that is moving so slow and i'm going to miss my flight. american airlines says 7,000 of its customers missed flights in march alone. the month of march, due to long waits in security lines. seattle and atlanta have indicated they may seek authority to try to privatize passenger screening to expedite this process. could you address that? i think we have to agree, that's not acceptable. it may happen. but if that becomes routine, that just doesn't -- now we get real public resistance. >> yes, sir. thank you for the question. the -- we have seen huge increases in passenger volume, there is no doubt about that, and at peak times we're seeing more people moving through the system than we have ever seen before. just to put it in perspective, four years ago, a big day in this country was about 1.6 million passengers going through screening checkpoints.
we're well above 2 million passengers daily right now. that's just -- it is just a volume increase. i do think we need to grow the staff slightly to do that to get up on that. we have been working hard on that. once we got our appropriations bill passed in december, we began accelerated hiring because, as you know, if you reduce by another 1,600 or so people, we cut into that number well in advance of the fiscal year. so we're hiring and we're meeting our hiring quotas, i think the good news is we have people who actually want to come to work for tsa. >> it seems to me, and i know you know this is a good management principle, we got a priority set of metrics, three hours is not acceptable. we've got to be setting for ourselves a time frame that is acceptable, we don't go beyond that. and whatever the staffing required, i mean, mr. mica correctly talked about staffing to traffic. this is part of that. >> that's right. and we have been working very closely with the airlines, the airports, to understand when those peak loads are coming through and make sure staffing meets that. i think we have improved
significantly just in the past few weeks. i'm not aware of any wait times of the length you're talking about right now. i track them daily. and i look at passenger volume daily and look at across all of the airports. >> you may want to check good friday in charlotte. >> i will do that. >> according to this report. one final question if the chair will indulge me, a quick one, inspector general roth, do we have an anonymous hotline within tsa that people can call when they feel something is untoward? under the broader whistle-blower category? but in my county, there is a hotline you can call if you think someone is doing something untoward and you're protected within anonymity and followed up by our inspector general? >> yes, absolutely we have a hotline that is manned as well as a website, so you can use either of those ways to complain or give us information that we will -- >> guaranteed follow-up? >> we will take a look at it the we get 18,000 complaints a year. we can't guarantee that every
single one of those complaints will be thoroughly investigated, but we certainly look at them and evaluate them. >> fine, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. connolly. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. heis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we have 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 an average does a new hire have to wait before they begin training at the tsa academy? >> i've got good news to report on that. as you know, that academy stood up for the first time ever on january 1st of this year. this is new for us. and we are pushing now eight concurrent classes about 200 officers a week. we -- it takes about four months to on-board somebody new. and during -- and 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're actually seeing the ability to move people right in and -- >> four months is the average wait? >> it is on average four to five months, but during that time, you're going through the background checks and the like to determine if -- >> so how many -- what percentage of tsa go through -- >> now it is -- we're doing -- >> 10%? >> now we're putting 100% of new tl tli tlirs hires through. we used to train at various places around the country. we're going to make a couple of exceptions because of the need to get some more officers out in front of the summer travel season, so we're doing -- we're taking the curriculum and doing it locally in a couple of key location, but we are -- >> is that local training as effective? >>. >> we're using the same -- >> the curriculum, is it -- >> from my opinion, it is not
ideal. i would like to do everything, if we're building out capacity and they've been working with us -- >> how many airports requested the authorization to utilize local training? >> i think i've got two airports now that have asked the authorization. >> two. okay. have any been denied? >> what we have said is we will do it on an as-needed basis. we're able to -- we have been working to increase the class offerings there. >> is there a clear policy to determine the as-need basis? >> there is a clear policy. >> can you submit that to us? and let us have a copy of that? >> yes, sir. >> in regard to the bonuses, i'd like to ask a couple of questions regarding mr. hogan. you're aware that the $90,000 in bonuses were broken up in increments of $10,000 each. could you explain why the agency did it this way? why it was broken out that way?
>> as i understand it, and as you know, that was done under previous leadership, but as i understand it, it was because the maximum amount allowable at any given bonus was $10,000. >> okay. so this is some sort of scheme to give him -- could you explain smurfing? >> i'm sorry, say it again? >> smurfing. >> smurfing. i'm not familiar with the term. >> so if there is $90,000 broken up in $10,000 increments, is that the type of thing that would need approval from dhs? >> it does now. i will tell you that there is nothing in my experience that finds that justifiable. it is why i stopped the -- it doesn't matter if it didn't violate -- >> why do you say that? why is that not justifiable? what does that appear to be to you? >> it doesn't pass the front page test. >> like something is being hidden. >> i just don't like it. i don't think it is right. and i stopped that practice and
i made -- i make sure now all of our -- all of our bonuses have to be approved at the department level and i severely restricted them within tsa. >> mr. roth, i would like to hear your comments on all of this. >> as we looked at our report, it was clearly an attempt to circumvent the department of regulations on approval. smurfing is breaking up specific financial transactions into something below the reporting requirement, which is what happened here. >> right. >> the individual responsible for that, by the time we did our investigation, was no longer employed at tsa. and the regulations that existed at the time were so loose that it was technically permissible, even though clearly the intent was, i think, wrong. >> so the intent is to hide. >> absolutely. >> absolutely. and that's what smurfing is. i appreciate you bringing that. is there anything currently preventing the agency, back to you, admiral, from disguising
these bonuses in forms of payments, be it relocation or any other method where it is really just a disguise for bonuses? >> yes. i especially prohibited it and made it very clear in policy and happy to provide that policy for the committee's record. and i require oversight from the department before any bonus can be awarded to a senior executive. >> i would like to have that policy submitted. so you're saying your testimony here is that there is no disguise taking place? >> not under my leadership. and i made clear that we put that directly into policy. and i made sure that even -- that no single individual can approve a bonus award for senior executive without oversight, and has to be approved by the department, even i don't -- i've not even given myself the authority to make the final approval. it goes through the department for oversight. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. now recognize the gentleman from missouri, mr. clave.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank both of you for being here. we all agree that security must be the top priority and there is no disagreement about that. mr. roth, 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 neffenger, you said he, and i quote, deactivated certain risk assessment rules that granted expedited screening through pre-check lanes, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> okay. on march 24th, the bureau of transportation statistics issued a report that said u.s. airline and foreign airlines serving the u.s. carried an all-time high of 895.5 million system wide.
so, administrator neffenger, passenger volumes have been increasing. but the number of screeners in the tsa workforce has dropped by nearly 6,000 over the past 4 years. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> and 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 have seen. it is just a fact that we're a smaller agency on the front line workforce than we were before and that we have significantly more people moving through the system. >> and you know i heard my friend, mr. gowdy, from south carolina talk about he doesn't encounter much trouble. i traveled through st. louis, lambert field weekly. and it seems to have a shortage of employees, especially for the precheck line. probably 90% of the time that
line is closed and each time staff gives me the excuse that they don't have enough personnel, enough security officers, to check people. so it is very stressful -- frustrating to my constituents who have paid the extra fee for precheck. is there a shortage of staff for airports like lambert? >> i think we have a shortage of staff across the system right now. we're moving people into the areas of greatest volume and greatest need. we are hiring back the people that have been slated to be traded out this year. and we have -- we're pushing out about 200 new officers every week. so 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 across the system to the peak volume periods. >> so, in your opinion, was tsa screener workforce sized
appropriately to handle increasing passenger volumes? >> i think the work for the budgets were predicated on what was predicted to be 2% volume growth. i think we used the bureau of transportation statistics predictions, and remember these budgets were built a couple of years ago. the actual volume growth has been significantly higher than that. so, in my opinion, we're not at the right size. that said, i appreciate all the great comments about our workforce because we have a really dedicated workforce and they're doing a very challenging job out there. and doing it quite well. i'd like to get them some more help. >> okay. perhaps you can help me. i'm annually giving a career fair in st. louis, the largest one held. would love to invite your local staff coming out and looking at potential candidates, and i'll follow up with you on that. >> yes, thank you. >> on may 4th, homeland security secretary jeh johnson issued a
statement responding to increased waiting times and he said this, tsa is increasing the staffing of tsos to help expedite the checkpoint process without sacrificing security. mr. neffenger, what is the size of the screener workforce tsa needs to handle projected passenger volumes while ensuring that only passengers who are -- who are subjected to risk assessments are sent through expedited screening procedures? >> well, congress just approved a reprogramming request which will allow me to hire another 768 screeners, screening officers, this summer. we'll get them out in the workforce, we hope, by the middle of june. that will significantly help us. we've been working with the airlines and the airports. they are taking on the non-security-related duties
which helped free up more of my officers to go directly on to the can screening checkpoints. the combination of those two and the use of our passenger screening k-9's should significantly alleviate the challenges we'll be facing over the summer. >> thank you both for your responses. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. i now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for being here, appreciate it very much. let me ask you, would you agree that having expert and standardized training for tsa screeners like we have at the federal law enforcement center in georgia that that's very important to make sure that we have personnel that's fully prepared to keep our airports safe? >> yes, sir, absolutely. >> i bring that up, because the federal law enforcement training
center, i know you've been there it's in my district. i'm proud of that. i look at that as being one of the areas that we are getting right in the federal government. to go down there -- i want to invite the other -- my colleagues here on this committee, particularly, to visit because -- we'll try to schedule a trip down there for everyone to see just what an outstanding job they are doing down there in the way of training. and i mention that because i want to make sure that we're not confusing these well-trained employees with the problem we're having that i consider to be more in performance and more in management in particular. when you talk about having a shortage of employees, that's not because they're 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. so i want to make sure that we understand there's a difference here. that they are being trained well.
fletc is a great facility. it's used by 94 different agencies in -- so training's not the problem. the problem 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 do. i've seen their dedication, talked to them. i've been down to fletc multiple times. i meet with as many classes as i can when i go down there. that's a world class institution which is why i was really excited about the opportunity to stand up a full-time academy down there. and patrick is one of the best in the world. >> absolutely. >> and we're looking forward to continuing to develop that. my goal is ultimately to train every single employee of tsa through that academy. that's the plan in the future. we've got a pretty aggressive plan, a pretty ambitious plan. i'm getting a lot of support from congress on that. i really appreciate that. >> i want to make sure we differentiate between the training portion of it and the
management. >> yes, sir, that's exactly right. >> we obviously, as you can tell, a lot of upset people here today. obviously, we have a management problem at tsa. and we're depending on you to get this straightened out. >> that's what i've been tackling, yes, sir. >> let me pivot for just a second. a couple weeks ago we had some employees of tsa here who had testified before us, you're familiar with that, they talked about the involuntary directed reassignments. some of these that we had to testify before us had gotten excellent marks, in fact had gotten awards, being recognized for their outstanding performance. their job performance, and yet, they were reassigned against their will. and the thing that concerns me is not just that -- 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 this relocation costs were well over $100,000. is this really happening? >> i believe it did happen. i stopped that policy completely. we don't do directive -- that said, i think it's important for an operating agency to have the ability to move people periodically. you have to do that. >> i think they understand it what their concern was they were being disciplined as a result. >> and that's what my concern was, too. i put some 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 i'm as concerned as you are about that. those reports greatly distressed me. i stopped that process, 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 on that. >> okay. thank you i appreciate that. again, thank you for your
dedication to fletc because -- again, mr. chairman, i'm going to try get that together. but i want everyone to understand what a great facility this is. this is an example of the federal government working. >> yes, sir: >> thank you, and i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentle woman 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 $1.2 billion human capital service contract to lockheed martin. under this contract known as hr access, lockheed administered the agency's process for recruiting and hiring. and it's also responsible for personnel and payroll processing services, such as position classification. administrator, is that correct?
>> that was the case, yes, ma'am. >> many of the improper personnel practices that the whistle-blowers alleged at the last hearing, including improper hiring and directive reassignments, would have occurred while lockheed was providing these services to tsa, is that correct? >> it was during the same time period yes, ma'am. >> on january 29th inspector general issued a report about the tsa's contract with lockheed martin. stating among other performance deficiencies there were incidents in which lockheed martin failed to handle personally identifiable information properly, is that correct, mr. roth? >> yes, ma'am. >> the report also found that lockheed martin, quote, failed to consistently refer the eligible veterans on job announcement, ultimately the report stated lockheed martin
hiring team and i quote, report a total of more than 150 veterans who were not referred on six different job announcements. mr. roth, is that correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> so if lockheed martin failed to follow federal regulations in regards to the competitive service hires, particularly veterans' preference, this is simply intolerable. so, administrator, are you familiar with the inspector general's report? >> i am, yes, ma'am. >> okay. when does the tsa's contract with lockheed martin end? >> it's coming to an end this year. we're completely restructuring our approach to that. i would like tsa to own more of its hiring recruitment and personnel policies. so we're restructuring that completely. it's part of the plan to overhaul the human resource
management program of the agency. >> in lieu of the contract ending with lockheed martin, is this going to be put out to bid again or -- when you say 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, if i can get back to you with a fuller answer for the record, we can show you what the plan and 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. i -- 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 want to hear that
we're taking on the responsibilities ourselves and come back later with concerns because you weren't able to handle the capacity. >> yes, ma'am, i share those same concerns. and we have to do this in a deliberate way, in a way that protects our work force as it currently exists and our potential workforce for the future. >> mr. roth, 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're in the process of doing an audit follow up to insure that, in fact tsa is doing what they said they would do. >> thank you. and i look forward to moving forward under your leadership and protecting a group of employees in our federal government. so many others are, but the tsa being a member of congress, and in the airport constantly, the respect i have for the agency,
the need for good, firm leadership, and the accountability that we saw through this situation, we need to move forward. and i support you in the future, thank you. >> we'll now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. inspector general roth, i want to go on record to not only thank you but your entire team for your service. i have great admiration for your role and the roles of your colleagues across the federal workforce. but i have a top five list i would say you and your team are in my top five lists for not only do insightful work, but thorough work, actionable work and follow-up work that provides a real tool for members of congress. and so i want to make sure that the record reflects that. >> thank you. >> administrator neffenger, are you familiar with federal air marshal robert mcclain? >> yes, sir i am.
>> are you familiar with the fact that the courts have overturned tsa's assertions that his whistle-blower disclosures were not prohibited by law? >> yes, i am. >> are you aware of the fact it's been over a year since an administrative judge has indicated those disclosures should indeed be protected? >> yes, sir. >> okay. so if you're aware of all those and in light of the fact that mr. cummings asked do you tolerate retaliation, in what scheme could you not see the fact that he has been reinstated but yet no raises, he still continues to be paid at a position -- and not put in a position that he would have been in had he not been fired. at what point can you justify
that that is not retaliation? >> well, i don't believe it is. i believe he was reinstated as required by the -- >> at a pay that he was at in 2005. do you know any other tsa employee that is at a pay that he was at in 2005? >> well, i'll double-check. >> you don't have to double check, i know. >> off the top of my head, i can't give you the pay of any tsa employees. >> do most tsa employees get a raise? >> you get the annual cost of living increases. >> would you say if he didn't, would that be retaliation. >> i'll check to see -- >> no, yes or no. if he's getting paid the same he got paid in 2005, is it retaliation? >> i don't -- i'd have to see the facts of the case. >> i'm giving you the facts of the case, is it retaliation or not? let me tell you, what really bothers me is i protect my whistle-blowers.
for you to get up here and talk about how wonderful the rank and file is, and how you're looking out for their best interests, and to see evidence that retaliation continues to go, it has a chilling effect, wouldn't you think? >> if there is retaliation, i will look into it. >> why is the office of special counsel having to open a full investigation? >> on mr. mcclain? >> yeah. why are they doing a full investigation? >> the one that was already done? >> i'm talking about the one they're about to embark on. >> if they're opening it again it's because of his allegation there's been retaliation. i support his due process to investigate that. i'm not familiar with the specifics of this -- >> don't you think you ought to be? >> i'm familiar with the fact that we've reinstated him and he now is in position to compete for whatever position he desires to compete for in the organization. >> administrator, let me just tell you, that testimony is very troubling to me. because what i'm not going to tolerate is retaliation on
whistle-blowers. that's what it looks like to me. >> i don't tolerate it either, i promise you i will -- >> so can you get back to this committee within 30 days with a way that you're going to rectify it so the office of special counsel doesn't have to do a full investigation? >> i will follow up on this colloquy to determine what the actual situation currently is. >> do i have your commitment? >> i have your commitment i will get back to you with what i have found. >> an action plan. >> if necessary an action plan, yes, sir. >> within 30 days to the chairman? >> i will get back to you exactly with what i find. i'm interested -- >> that's not an answer. okay, what's a reasonable amount of time there? >> i can do it within 30 days. what i want to do is -- this is new information you're providing to me i'm not aware of. i need -- >> you've done your research. this would not have been a shock this might have come up today. is that a shock to you? >> i'm aware of the previous issue concerning the federal air marshal. >> let me dispense with the rhetoric, get it fixed where we
don't have to waste taxpayer dollars on a special investigation into this. you're the guy in charge, we're going to hold you accountable i'll yield back and expect a response to the committee in 30 days. >> thank the gentleman. we'll recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i share my colleague's concerns, obviously, about whistle- blowers. i think while everyone who has the mantle of responsibility certainly wants to do right with the organization. when we do see individuals that have the courage to come forth, they have to be protected. i think that's the bipartisan motivation of everyone on our committee today. i want to take questions more on the security end and take it in a little bit different direction, however. inspector general roth, i, too,
share my colleagues', you know, opinion of the competence of your office and your personal diligence. the record has been out standing. >> my question today deals with vapor weight dog teams in terms of security. did the ig in reports make any recommendations on vapor weight dog teams and how they should be deployed or how they should be used at different airports? >> we have not looked at that issue. my understanding is that gao may have done work on that but we have not. >> okay. i appreciate that. admiral neffenger, as a preface, first off, i take some comfort knowing that you're at the helm of this organization. i don't think anyone who has advanced to your level as an
admiral in our coast guard, who has protected our shorelines, and protected our borders has anything other than the interest of the defense of our country, and i appreciate that. i also think that it probably gives you incredible insight in dealing with a myriad of problems in a very complex and at times lethargic organization. in oklahoma city, in my district, the vapor weight dog team issue came to mind because acting federal security director steve cortwright had cited it was the ig's reports as the reasons for the elimination of vapor weight dog teams from airports, such as will rogers world airport. and it was due to the need for performance and screening and getting people through and the airports would have to lose the dog teams.
in the case, although we had will rogers that was one of the charter five original airports in the training of these teams, they trained four such teams very effectively, allowed great through put. the entire program was eliminated from that airport. i suspect it's probably not the only one. so my question to you is, why would a federal security director make the claim that it was the i.g. and their findings that would call for the elimination of that program and why would we not want these teams at airports that might have less capacity other than a huge airport but they also might have greater vulnerability for infiltration? it seems to me that security- wise it makes good sense. and i realize this is not part of the normal stuff, but it is very important for security. >> well, i'm not sure what the
federal security director's discussion was. let me tell you from my perspective what we've done. i like the -- we call them passenger screening dogs, they look for trace odors and follow them back to their source. it's a tremendous resource. it's a great explosive detection technology we have. it can move people very efficiently through a security line. i don't have as many of those dogs as i'd like to have. to meet -- this is my decision i'm the guy you need to look at for this. it was my decision to take dogs from some airports that aren't seeing as much volume as the largest airports for the coming summer in order to meet what we know to be the large passengers volumes. it was never my intention to eliminate their use. we have about 322 total dogs at tsa operates, most of those are trained to go cargo sniffing, not passenger screening. we're in the process of
converting as many of those as we can to passenger screening k-9's. it takes about a month to do that. >> i appreciate that. >> we're continuing to do that. >> i would just ask, again, security has been much of my life, a lot of my interest here in congress, i would ask that we consider -- if i were an enemy, i would infiltrate in small or regional airports, simply because there is a better chance of infiltration than a large one. deploying all the assets, once you get in the loop, you're inside the loop no matter where you originated or flew from. i would ask you relook some of this specifically in a vulnerability stance, not necessarily a regional or political stance. that's irrelevant in my view when it comes to the security of the nation. we ought to relook rather than putting everything where we expect to have a problem and maybe leave areas vulnerable where we don't.
with that, mr. chairman, i yield back my time. >> i now recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer. >> i'm the guy you've been waiting on, the last one. mr. neffenger, how many different assistant administrators have led the office of intelligence and analysis since tsa was created? >> i don't have that exact number. i'll get that for you. >> it's 11. and i ask that because it concerns me that the office would suffer from that rate of turnover, would you agree with that? >> turnover in offices is always challenging. >> particularly the office that's responsible for your intelligence and analysis. have you looked into that? >> yes, sir in fact i've brought in a new chief of intelligence this year and he's an intelligent professional. one of the things i asked him to do was to insure that we build a
world class, high quality intelligence operation and he's in the process of doing that. >> that's mr. bush? >> mr. bush, tom bush, yes, sir. >> are you aware of any significant security violations committed by oia officials? >> i'm not sure if you're referencing anything in particular. >> i'm asking you if you're aware of any security violations committed by oia officials. >> i know prior to my aprival there was an individual who was in charge of oia who had been disciplined by the agency. >> that answer would be yes? >> yes. >> do you believe oia should abide by the professional standards of the intelligence community in handling classified information, wasn't that what the issue was? >> my understanding that was not the issue that was about, no, sir. >> what were the circumstances related to the departure of former assistant administrator steven sadler?
>> steven sadler, i need to familiarize myself with that case. i'm sorry, siren >> there were multiple security violations that took place under his leadership. what percentage of tsa's intelligence and appropriation is used for vetting and what percentage is used for traditional intelligence? >> i'll give you the exact number for the record, but we -- a significant amount of our activity is spent on vetting, understanding the vetted population. but we also have a strong analysis branch that works closely with the intelligence community members to provide specific intelligence assessments of transportation security challenges and risks. >> one of the -- i'm going to transition a little bit here. one of the things i'm concerned about is in our last hearing, the repeat reports that there
are only three u.s. airports that currently require employee security checks. are you aware of that? >> that's actually not correct. it depends on what you mean by security checks. anyone that holds a credential -- >> i'm not talking about requiring them to go through the same kind of security that, say, a staff member. >> this would be screening of individuals as they -- >> as they're reporting for work. i should have been more clear. i apologize. >> there are currently i think three or four airports that do -- the airport themselves do security screening. there are other places where employers provide security screening. we are at varying levels across the system right now for direct screening. requirements, that's a fundamental requirement. those access requirements are with their badge. and those badges give you access to certain locations.
and then there are some airports that have gone beyond that to do actual screening, we in tsa do random screening through the the sterile area of the airports as well. >> but that gets back to my concern, every member of my staff, every member of any member of congress's staff has to go through a screening process. their bags are screened, they have to take metal objects out of their pockets. they all have badges, okay? and that's part of my concern is that out of the thousands of people who work for tsa, that -- does it not create any concern -- it was reported there were a number of tsa employees who had some tie to terrorist groups. it just seems to me that they ought to go through the same screening process that -- >> we've had no tsa employees that have ties to terrorist groups. we vet our people daily. if we ever found that, they'd be gone. >> i'm telling you in our last
hearing that came up, that it was reported that there were some who had some connection to terrorists or potentially had terrorist ties. i'm bringing this up in the context of out of the thousands of people who work for tsa, all of whom have security badges, it just makes sense before they enter these critical areas, that they go through a screening process like everybody else. their bag goes through a machine, they go through the machine, like everybody else. >> congressman, i want to make sure i understand. first of all, there are the people who are not tsa employees who have access badges to airports and we vet those people continuously. against -- there's a population of 900,000 or so in the aviation system that have access badges of some type. it's varying types of access. they're not all accessing the same locations. those people are continuously vetted against the terrorist screening database. and they're continuously vetted
against the criminal data base. we're piloting a continuous vetting pilot with -- >> we're not talking about the same thing. >> tsa employees are also vetted against -- >> we're not talking about the same thing. i mean, it's also been reported there's thousands of badges that have been lost or stolen. that -- let me say, that haven't been accounted for. my question is, when they report for work, do they have to put their bag on a conveyer to go through a machine to see what's in the bag? do they go -- >> in some locations they do, in some locations they don't. >> my contention is it ought to be all locations. i yield back. >> i haven't asked questions i'd like to recognize myself now for probably more than five minutes. so let's talk about the
involuntary reassignments or the directed reassignments you've spoken about that. you said there is or is not evidence that that was done as a retaliatory action? >> i do not have any direct evidence. what i'm waiting for is to see what the results of the office of special counsel investigation tells me with respect to a couple of the people who have made some allegations. >> the office of special counsel has already stayed andrew rhodes directed reassignment as well as becky roarings suspension due to evidence there were cases of improper whistle-blower retaliation. are you telling me they haven't given you the final report? >> i am waiting for -- mr. rhodes has an outstanding investigation which is still pending. in the meantime, i was pleased to see that prior to my arrival that that had been stayed and he is still located in the -- >> what about becky roarings? >> same with hers. i understand hers is still
undergoing review as well. >> no other evidence of any -- >> i myself -- >> -- retaliation. do you have any evidence of any other types of retaliation, above and beyond the reassignment tool they had used? >> i don't have personally any knowledge of any other retaliation. if i see it, i will take action to address it. >> mr. roth, do you have anything to shed on this? >> i do not. i don't have any evidence that i could share, at least today. >> okay. administrator, we have particularly over the last six months, i've got kind of one page -- two sided page here of outstanding requests we have from this committee. we will give you a copy of this. i don't expect you on the spot to respond to it. there's some that have had no -- again, i don't expect you on the spot -- we need help getting these responses in a timely manner.
some have been good, others have been not so good. some we've had nothing on, we get very frustrated with having to do in-camera reviews. we handle classified intelligence on a regular basis. i just need your support in responding to these outstanding requests. >> yes, sir, i will. >> i want to go back to what mr. palmer was talking about. you said you vet daily. when somebody -- i want to get a crystal clear picture. when somebody applies and goes through the process of working for the tsa, they get what sort of background check? >> it's a standard national agency check, it's the same type of check you do for people coming into the military first time. you do a criminal history background check. check their name against the terrorist screening data base. look for any disqualifying activities, offenses, or the like in their background prior to coming.
>> there is some infractions that would still be acceptable to be hired as a tsa? >> there are -- i can't enumerate those off the top of my head. >> if you can provide the current standard. >> yes, sir, i will. >> you said you vet those daily. but how do you -- if somebody were to get arrested, somebody had an assault charge or murder charge, you know, pick something heinous, how would you know that once they've been hired? >> well, after they've been hired, we do recurrent criminal history background checks. >> how often? >> i believe it's an annual basis. i'll verify that. and then we do daily recurrent, continuous test check against the terrorist screening data base for our employees. >> 450 or so airports, i'm not sure how many ports you're dealing with, how many of these -- you mentioned 900,000 security badges of all sorts.
>> in the aviation system. >> in the aviation system. so how many of those are -- do you have a sense of how many of those have biometric information, whether it be as information, whether it even be as simple as a photograph on them? >> they all have photographs, those are issued. these are the badges at airports and airline issue their individuals. it's set individually at each airport. so a badge you have for atlanta will not work in any other airport. these are issued by employers and the airport. usually the standard is set according to -- there's a federal security standard they have to meet in order for the badge -- they all have to have photographic ids. not all the biometric identifiers are necessarily in use for access purposes at every airport. >> when you say biometric, one of the issues in the past is they didn't have readers, they didn't have electronic readers for each of these. >> well, i don't want to confuse this with the twit card. the transportation workers
identification credential is not a credential that's used in the aviation system. that's used in the maritime transportation system and people who are interacting with that. that one does not currently have readers for that. that biometric in the maritime world is not currently in use. so it's still a -- it's a badge that's -- a card that's issued with a background check. it has a biometric on it, but not all the readers are out there. so that's a government issued card. it's a joint program between the coast guard and tsa. it does not apply to aviation workers. that's a much larger population of people who hold that twit card. >> so you shouldn't be able to use it at an airport, but in the -- >> you cannot. >> shipping, cruise lines, things like that? >> yes, sir, truckers that interact with the ports and the like. >> okay. that is one of my bigger
concerns, is the access that so many people have. dulles airport alone my understanding there is 16,000 security badges out there. to mr. palmer's point, what he was talking about, is, you know, why not check people who go -- why not check tsa employees as they go in and out? you check a pilot. i stand there and you know they go to the front of the line as they should. pilots are checked. my goodness, if we're trusting somebody, it's trusting the pilot. why not check each person? >> well, we do check each person. they do recurrent drug testing, we vet them against the data bases we watch them everybody. these are people who are standing in the security check point day in and day out -- >> if they -- pick whatever you want in a back pack and walk past you would never know, correct? >> well, that's not necessarily true. we do a lot of integrity
testing, in fact we have a good integrity testing program i think. if we find people -- >> you're checking and screening every person that goes through except the tsa people. >> they're checked by definition when they show up in the morning. they're vetted every single day. like i said, we look at them every single day. they're probably some of the most watched people in the transportation system because they're under the watchful eyes of supervisors, under the watchful eyes of the other screening workforce. so i believe that we're doing a very good job of keeping track of those folks. these are really good people. they have taken -- >> by and large i'm sure they're really good people. but, again, when you have a zero tolerance for -- you have to keep security at its highest level. i just don't understand that. we check a pilot, we check the flight attendants, but we don't check the tsa folks.
and you have had arrests. there have been problems. it's not as if it's never happened before. your ability to move drugs or weapons or anything else across that line, mr. roth, do you have any insight into this? >> i don't, no. congressman. >> i want to move to dogs, if i could. i'm a huge fan of dogs. the person i want to sit next to on the airplane is the person who has had their luggage screened, they walk through a metal detector and they've walked by a bomb sniffing dog. i've never seen some of the technology that's used at the airport, i've never seen it at the white house. i don't see it in afghanistan where they're dealing with improvised explosive devices on a daily basis. i don't see it in a lot of other places. europe has banned some of this technology and yet we still use it here in the united states. and i appreciate your comments about the dogs, but the single best way to secure an airport from an improvised explosive device is a dog.
would you disagree with that or agree with that? >> it's a huge piece of the security environment. i like dogs too, i'm a big fan. i've been advocating for more k-9's in the aviation security environment. >> we need more of them. and i hope the appropriations will follow appropriately. i want to compliment tsa also on its instagram presence. you ought to see an entertaining instagram, go ahead and go to the tsa one. i'll put in a plug for it. you got some -- i think 400 plus thousand people that are looking at it. but it's also kind of scary. because almost on a daily basis, i mean, the one i looked at just now had -- there was a live smoke grenade someone tried to bring onto an airport. vwi there was a picture of a gun they had taken off a person. the rise of people bringing or
attempting to bring guns on an airport is astronomical. the statistics on this are quite high. my question, maybe you can shed light on what that's happening, but i don't see that there's much any consequence. i don't hear anybody gets prosecuted. we have a $10,000 fine, you can go to jail. but find me a person that's violated that. if you don't understand at this point in time that you can't bring a gun on an airplane, where in the world have you been living? a lot of people i know will come and say i forgot i had my gun in my backpack, gosh darn it, go put it back in your car. i mean, i believe in the second amendment. i'm as progun as you get. if you're an idiot and you don't know you've got a gun on you and it's loaded and you're trying to bring it on an airplane. why aren't these people going to jail every once in a while? >> i'm as shocked as you are by people who bring guns to the airport. we saw many, many more last year than we saw the year before. tsa is not a law enforcement
agency i don't have the authority to take action against individuals. the protocol is when we see a gun, it gets held inside the x-ray machine, we call local law enforcement. it's up to local law enforcement and the laws of whatever jurisdiction that they cover to take action against that. we can take action against an individual, we can strip them of their precheck eligibility if they come through a precheck line. we have to turn them over to local law enforcement and it's whatever the law is -- >> what would you -- would the call be? what would you like local law enforcement to do? >> well, again, we know that we have laws in this land where people are allowed to conceal carry. where they're allowed to open carry. and in many states, the local law enforcement says take that back out to your car and then come back in. sometimes they get arrested if you're in new york state you'll get arrested. if you're someplace else you might not get arrested. you know, i just don't want that stuff coming through the checkpoint. it's astonishing what people try
to bring through check points these days. >> live smoke grenade trying to bring it on an airplane. what should happen? are you -- i guess i'm trying to -- >> we're working very hard. we encourage local law enforcement to take as strong action as they can. i think if somebody brings a live smoke grenade on a plane they shouldn't be able to fly anymore. but i don't have the authority to make that decision. >> let's recognize the gentleman from wisconsin for five minutes. >> thank you. in the past, the committee heard numerous accounts of line staff being punished for minor infractions while high level managers went unpunished for abuses. senior officials who retaliate against their subordinates such as lying to the police about a dui are allowed to keep their job?
>> i think that there needs to be -- we're doing this. i think there needs to be work done on the way in which we do discipline and performance management across the board. the law the aviation security act set up somewhat of a bifurcated system. it needs to be consolidated and coordinated. >> okay. next, is it more of a comment i want you to respond but i think congressman maloney said something i don't agree with. i obviously in this job fly a couple times a week. i have never seen a situation in which the precheck line is longer than the regular line. i think i can probably speak on behalf of most people i wish you would put more people in the precheck line because we'd get things through quick. i do hear people complain they wish they could go through the lines faster. i don't know, who she talks to,
but just so you know there's another side of the story. i got another question for you. tsa spent $47,000 on an app to randomly assign people to go right or left. anybody with basic knowledge with codes could do. do you feel that app was worth what tsa paid for it? >> i think that was an excessive amount of money to pay for that. we don't use that app. that was done back in 2013. and we're not using that. >> okay. mark livingston, the former deputy assistant administrator testified that a watch floor transformation that was supposed to cost $3 million cost approximately $12 million because it was performed improperly. do you want to comment on that? are you familiar with that? >> i'm not sure which watch floor transformation he's referring to. but we've done a complete review of our entire acquisition process. from my perspective, there are lots of opportunities to save the taxpayer money in our current processes. >> we'll give you one more thing
that mr. livingston said. he said there's a half million dollars worth of equipment sitting in the box in the office. are you familiar with that? >> i'm not familiar with that. but i'm going to go back and look for that. >> okay. i'll yield the remainder of my time. >> go to mr. cummings for five minutes. >> i'm going to be very brief. first of all, i want to thank both of you for your testimony. after the last hearing we had on tsa, admiral, we had a -- just my staff had given me this morning but it was a hand written letter from one of the whistle blowers, i have never read a letter into the record that was addressed to me like this. i'm reading it for a reason. i'll explain it in a minute. again, this was one of the whistle blowers.
dear sir, thank you for your leadership and direct fairness in the hearings on the issues of tsa's current and potential misconduct. you spoke truth to power when you asked and demanded a fair and balanced hearing. you breathe air into our agency and gave hope to all the men and women when you asked for the facts. we all of -- all of us at tsa now believe that congress can and will fix tsa. thank you, sir. you have inspired all of us to renew our faith in the process of accountable leadership. and i wish you continued success and great health. and i'm going to leave the name out. the reason why i read that letter is because there are people depending on us. and they just want to get it right, you know? a lot of times i hear negative
things about employees. that is, federal employees. and state government. but i tell people that a lot of these people -- most of them they come out, they have a mission, and they want to serve the public. and they want to treat them right. there are stresses that come with the job. i mean, any elected official will tell you they can be at the supermarket and maybe somebody will come up and say hello and then somebody will say that congressman they're trying to get out of the supermarket. about the seventh or eighth person, the person doesn't realize that they're the seventh or eighth person that's called them and doesn't realize he's got to get home. but so there is -- that's part of the job. and i realize that a lot of the things that the employees do, i'm sure can get monotonous and
the chairman was just showing me the photos of all of knives and the guns and grenades and things that people i'm sure in most instances accidentally are trying to get through. we do not have room for error. but i read the letter because i want to remind you. i don't know -- i know i don't have to do this. but there are so many people who want us to help. they want you to help. they want us to help. and when i listen to the whistle blowers and i heard all of their testimony, you know the theme that ran through the whole thing? was that they simply wanted the best for the public and for the agency. they weren't showboating. they probably didn't even really want to be here.
but they, like many of our federal employees, the most, they had a desire that they -- their agency would be the elite of the elite. and that's the kind of reputation i want to get to. i want people to be very proud to be a tsa employee. and i want them when they say, you know, i work for the tsa, to stick their chest out and say you know what? this is great organization. but, again, keep in mind what i said. if you go back and you listen to all the things they said, they talked about a few bad apples in the leadership. and excluded you, by the way. said that you were doing a good job. so i just beg you to keep all of that in mind. and i really appreciate your efforts. i know it's difficult, mr. roth, i want to thank you. and i hope that you all will
continue to work together because that's what it's all about. this is how it's supposed to work. we need the critical eye of just a great lawyer and a great ig like you, mr. roth. but then we need the response to be appropriate. with that, mr. chairman i yield back. again, i thank you mr. chairman for this hearing. >> thank the gentleman. now recognize mr. mica from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i spoke earlier about the attrition rate which overall is about 10%, about 4,500 a year. and then the new hires we're losing about 30% of those, and 38% of the non-tsa, information we got from you. the problem is that's an average. you have 30 airports in the country that handle 75% of the traffic. and those numbers are much higher. i know los angeles, a whole host of the big ones have had a problem recruiting, retaining,
training, and hiring. you actually have deferred, you said you have lots of people going through with few exceptions to the academy. but you actually have given authority to 21 airports, almost all of those the largest in the country, isn't that correct, for local training and hiring? >> it won't be 21 locations. we have given the authority -- >> waivers to 21 locations. boston, o'hare, jfk, la guardia, miami, l.a.x., i mean, these are the big ones, too. >> yes, sir. >> i don't generally have a problem with that. i think you can get people to do the training and there are firms that will do that maybe internally it can be done.
but i just wanted to make sure it was in the record. i disagree with the gentleman that last spoke. i talked to him about every -- at every airport screening the employees through a metal detector and all of that. in orlando and miami, it's a waste -- if you're still doing it in atlanta. you need to be vetting the employees first before they're hired. and you need to be vetting even the tsa people, which are not all getting cleared. the people who work in the secure areas. we had a hearing and thousands of them we didn't have social security numbers. hundreds and hundreds of them are foreign nationals with working papers we don't know anything about. that's what concerns me is the people who have access to secure areas. so vetting and then monitoring those people knowing who they are. the dogs, there's opinion about dogs. dogs right now don't deal with
the threat that we face. the threat is a non-nitrate based explosives. dogs can't detect that. neither can the equipment you've got at the airport. you know that, don't you, sir? just say -- it's yes. i can tell you it's yes. because i've tested the system and i've ordered more tests of the system for the first time in years. and we'll reconfirm that. and this thing about getting guns and knives and all. they aren't going to take down a plane. those people don't pose a risk. maybe they did it accidently. do you know any of them that intended to take down a plane of those guns and knives that you took? none of them. but i do know that known terrorists have gotten through the system. that concerns me. i do know that your intel and analysis division is in chaos from what i've been told. your intel division lacks a
classification guide. we were told which is a breach of classification guidelines. did you know that? >> i don't believe we lack any guides, sir. >> again, that's what we're told. it says lacks a classification guide. this is information given to us. also, reportedly does not have the capability to internally vet and disseminate intelligence in realtime. any intelligence information disseminates to the field must be first vetted and then approved by dhs and fbi. sort of a bureaucracy. these are reasons why we failed to connect the dots in the past and failing to connect the dots in the future is a concern. again i ask you to respond to that on intelligence analysis. the spp program, to solve your
problem you've got to get out of the screening business. you need to set the rules for the screening. oversee it and audit it and let the private sector do it. they do it for nuclear facilities, d.o.d. facilities. some of our most secure facilities. you'll never get it right with 45,000 personnel across the whole country. it's just not going to work. i can assure you no matter what you do. i want to speed up this spp process, it takes a year. can you prequalify people that can provide screening services? >> it depends. i'll have to check the exact rules. i know that we follow -- >> i would like to see that, this is the first thing that requires 120 days. we'll have dozens of airports that will opt out, but you can still set the rules. you get out of this mess and get into the security business which will save us from another terrorist attack. i'd like a response on how we can clean this up so it doesn't take that long as part of the record.
and then finally, mr. chairman, i have asked for some information about salaries both within the district and then overall, i want to see for the record, the amount for screening and the non-screening positions in your highest paid positions. a complete list of them and the totals and salaries, thank you i yield back. >> thank you. as we wrap up here, mr. neffenger, last point i just wanted to make. we have a request i want to reiterate the bonus policy. one of the criticisms i believe from the inspector general was there really wasn't a bonus policy in place. so what is it? in 2015, for instance, the senior members that were the tses members who made less than $160,000 were ineligible for a bonus, even if they achieved the highest level of excellence.
but if you made more than $160,000. even if your performance evaluation came in lower you could get a bonus. that seems so upside down and wrong. >> i'll get you the policy for the record, mr. chairman, so you can see what we've done. >> mr. roth, do you have any comment on that? >> no, just what was in our investigation, which was that the policy was very sort of loose, but we had a commitment from tsa that they would fix the policy. my understanding is they have. >> okay. it's something we'd like to look at. mr. roth, last question, what's your biggest concerns? >> just the size of the enterprise. 2 million passengers a day, 450 airports. tsa as the checkpoint operator but also tsa as the regulator of the airports. it's a monumental task that's going to take time to fix. >> okay. we appreciate you both.
we have greatest confidence in the administrator. but also in the inspector general, plays a vital role. you each represent a lot of employees, and a lot of people who are good, hard working patriotic people who are trying to do the right thing. for that, we thank you. we have a mutual symbiotic relationship in trying to weed out the bad apples. and they're there. to the extent that we can make that better, smarter more fair i think will improve morale and make the airports and the population more safe and secure. and we share that mutual goal and so we look forward to continuing to work with you and thank you for your presence today. thanks again to the men and women who do the good hard work every day. with that the committee stands adjourned.
on the agenda this week, the $610 billion pentagon policy and programs bill. also work on military construction and veterans spending. see the house live on cspan. also in the senate, a vote on journal confirmation coming up as well as money to deal with zika also on the schedule in the senate. see the senate live on cspan2. congratulations to the class of 2016. today is your day of celebration and you've earned it. >> the voices crying for peace and light because your choices will make all the difference to you and to all of us. >> don't be afraid to take on cases or a new job or a new
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