tv House Homeland Security Hearing on TSA Passenger Screening Policies CSPAN June 6, 2019 2:36am-4:24am EDT
prevent unlawful profiling. good morning thank you try witnesses for joining us today. with the tsa policies and screening process to allow for unlawful profiling and discrimination to have it security mission to target the transportation sector and would like nothing better than to take a plane out of the sky every member appreciates to protect against that threat. this committee is focused on ensuring tsa continues to mature into an agency in a manner of discrimination. the gao shows the tsa current
operations does not meet that lawn - - meet the mark. and with those policies in place with the behavioral detection program lacks an oversight mechanism to ensure those anti- profiling policies are followed. given the concerns this committee and others have voiced for more than a decade regarding the behavior detection program in the door it opens to unlawful profiling, it is unconscionable that tsa doesn't have better oversight procedures. with the 2013 report you recommend that congress limit future funding with behavior protections and also the gao 2017 findings tsa lacks valid scientific evidence to support nearly 80 percent of those
reliever on - - issues that relies upon for travelers and screening. meanwhile tsa has not provided sufficient evidence of the security benefits of protection. it has scaled back its scaled-back detection program for years it's time to end the program entirely with today's report gao also looked at 3700 complaints related to civil rights and civil liberties filed against the agency over two and a half years and have found over 1000 complaints that are indicators of discrimination. these complaints have that discriminatory incidents to encompass all operations. the response to those findings it does not understand the
gravity this places. dhs that it identified on a 3700 complaint related to passenger screaming really - - screening relating to violations that dhs first 3700 is not an insignificant number a single incident where a traveler feels traumatized as a result through discriminatory treatment is not insignificant and should not be considered insignificant under my leadership it will not downplay the significance of any american by their government as they say not on our watch. they are likely and recorded as those who are discriminated
against throughout society may not have the resources to lodge formal complaints. it is clear as documented in recent media reports the screening processes disproportionately impact the minority populations the machines that are on those populations with african-american women and transgender people leading to increased delays and the ait machines rely on algorithms that defined what tsa considers normal after those bodies that fall outside that definition for further inspection. the tsa must improve this technology with the diversity of the public and then to make
clear concerns not of the tsa workforce but that "frontline" office has proven the commitment to the initiative during the government shutdown and over and over again it has made the news due to the passenger screening experience and the statement has almost always noted following security protocols and that lies with the procedures and as for the agency i commend tsa for the work it has done for the advocacy groups to improve cultural awareness training. the next step is to ensure citizens concerns by multicultural groups and
developing technologies tsa must provide effective security with groups of americans is as with all propositions and acting more intimately with the public on a regular basis than any other government agency over 2 million passengers and it is not just the public government but it's hands and as a security agency with the trust and compliance of a diverse public. i hope to have a productive dialogue about how we continue to move tsa toward the important goal. i think the members for joining us and look forward to our discussion for going now recognize the ranking member of the gentleman from alabama for an opening statement. >> thank you mister chair.
profiling is nothing new from the tsa with those practices under certain populations stemming from the tsa behavior protection program and deface bipartisan criticism for scientific value - - validation with aviation security. that's why i am pleased the majority enacted legislation to and a standalone behavior to require that to be integrated into the primary screening functions at checkpoints. this will alleviate wait times while sending a strong message to tsa about congress to satisfaction of the b behavior protection program. and in the most recent review a single recommendation to establish that oversight mechanism that tsa should
implement the recommendation and i would note during that four-year period it conducted nearly 3 billion passenger screenings of those only 1056 passengers have allegations of unlawful profiling that was substantiated one that's one allegation for every two.8 million passengers screened. this does not minimize the very real experience. but even one is the one - - incident is too many. and to conduct themselves professionally or the traveling public that are within the ranks. in contrast to previous reports have highlighted the tsa rates for guy hoped at
some point in the near future we will focus on oversight efforts over aviation security. finally that they invited not to testify all members would agree it would be beneficial to appear today with the gao report and i hope we will seek input in the interim and fellow witnesses today. i yelled back. >> other members of the committee are opening statements may be submitted for the record. also we have informed the minority weeks ago that we intended to hold this hearing today with full notice and full compliance. we also wanted tsa to be here
the committee has been engage with tsa and other stakeholders with what we have to do to do the situation. and also to welcome the panel of witnesses the first witness acting director gao homeland security home justice team responsible for leading the work on aviation transportation security. over 17 years of experience and with the gao contracting and as the senior men manager working on national advocacy one - - national advocacy issues and with employee
discrimination and racial profiling. and with that coalition to provide legal resources with those governmental affairs that facebook and the us chamber of commerce. and as the counsel for the naacp to help oversee the operation and in june 2014 with the senior leadership position at st. john university school of law. and then to be inserted in the record is your full statement but please summarize your statement for five minutes.
>> chairman and members of the committee is pleased to be here today to discuss tsa policies will profiling passengers we examined a range of issues how tsa implements policies that prohibit unlawful profiling to include oversight and protection activities as well as how tsa addresses the complaints that allege profiling over civil liberty issues. the bottom line is they have policies and procedures in place that prohibit unlawful profiling which can improve oversight with those that are related to profiling. based on the review of passenger screening tsa found indications of potential discrimination and unprofessional conduct with more than 1000 complaints reviewed.
in terms of behavior protection oversight to have a more limited way to identify high risk passengers through certain behaviors that is indicative of stress or deception and refer for additional training tsa has oversight policies for protection that prohibits unlawful profiling but not specifically assessed if it occurs. for example, in the handbook the oversight guide requires to conduct routine checks on behavior operations monitor compliance with standard operation features this includes seven specific assessments to document oversight however our review does not specifically instruct supervisors for compliance for those two prohibit unlawful
profiling. to develop the oversight mechanism to address compliance they agreed to do so to implement the recommendation in 2019. second, apart from behavior protection civil light rights and civil liberty related civil liberty complaints received by tsa october 2015 through february 2018 looking at what tsa did to address those complaints. and total it received 3700 of these types of complaints the majority of which alleges discrimination or profiling based on personal attributes and characteristics a number of specific complaints to transgender issues. the multicultural branch the office for reviewing these complaints half found indications of potential discrimination and unprofessional conduct were
factors. one case reviewed the passenger alleged profiling based on headwear officials had a recording of statements from officers involved to substantiate that in violations had occurred. in response tsa recommended training across airports for screeners for those identified in the complaint. beyond that the response included but not limited to apologizing for the experience or informing about the next steps to address the complaint for the underlying conduct. we also found tsa received the passenger complaint data using that information to update screener training. in conclusion, tsa can improve how it conducts oversight with behavior abilities as it
continues efforts to address passenger screening complaints with alleged civil rights and civil liberty issues. this concludes my prepared remarks i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for your testimony i now recognize mister singh to recognize one - - for his statement. >> thank you chairman thompson and ranking member rogers for the opportunity to appear today i am the senior manager of the avarice advocacy coalition the nation's largest american civil rights organization nonpartisan, nonprofit to combat and prevent hate in america. we recognize the importance of the tsa mission to protect the transportation system to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce, however if that is the mandate they must ensure the freedom of movement for all people
regardless of rac race, sex, gender identity national origin and disability. in 2019 we continue to receive complaints from travelers across the nation with incidents of profiling and discrimination often times this is a secondary screening demand without any technology indicating there is a problem these actions combined with a lack of clear guidance has led to passengers feeling frustrated with the experience inconsistent screenings between airports and even within specific airports of frequent travel. while the tsa increased reliance on technology coming with government assurances to mitigate those searches that violate basic civil rights is does not have those screening practices maintaining my
articles of faith and a sikh american that i must undergo additional screening. the device that we receive many complaints about because the tso failed to change gloves. additional screening and searches are highly probable to reinforce that technology those policies and procedures continue to single out and target our community. the message at airports across the country to millions of passengers watching, sikh are outsiders posing threats worthy of investigating regardless of how contextual it is. these practices continue to
shift the focus away from their top priority to protect our nation the office of the inspector general has repeatedly documented threat such as guns and knives and explosives going through the security checkpoints with ease. as tsa disproportionally focus on discriminatory behaviors like articles of faith that takes away from the necessary focus to combat credible threats. unlike most americans, sikh are asked to pay a price to exercise their constitutional rights to submit to routine and frequent searches by tsa. and further perpetuates negative stereotypes and validates the myth of racial and religious communities as a threat to our country. tso another passengers witnessing those minority passengers leads to the creation of implicit and explicit bias that influences security policy and behavior which justifies scrutinizing
on racial or religious grounds. that begs the question are we really going to only select a sikh for additional screening because they wear turban? more importantly, why is this considered acceptable? we request members of this committee in congress to reintroduce the racial profiling act to address bias the limit the impact of the algorithm by us. second era government must correct the screening policy and procedures such as the abuses of discretion any new technology must produce the use of patdown to ensure that travelers are not singled out based on race or religion or gender. these invasive pat downs should be an absolute last resort when others cannot resolve. lastly congress should mandate
regular civil liberties impact assessment to require data collection secondary screening by the tsa it is our sincere hope this committee and tsa address the need for profiling protection to eliminate discriminatory practices not just for the muslims and sikh disability transgender and other communities it is not a coincidence the american public continues to fear and discriminate against those the government continues to discriminate against when a turbine sikh is subjected without cause it validates every false stereotype hundreds of times more likely to have bias and bigotry or backlash in america. i appreciate for your time today for the sikh community. >> thank you for your testimony and now the next
witness may summarize her statement for five minutes. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning we are the nation's oldest civil human rights organization founded in 1940 by marshall and in the 80 year since the inception has used legal advocacy strategies to promote equal and active citizenship of black americans. that includes litigating the board of education and those which is important for purposes here today to uphold title to from 1964 prohibition on racial discrimination in public accommodation. for as long as we have been in this country black people have faced discrimination to impede our mobility and
discrimination because of our hair. the civil rights movement that ended legal apartheid was anchored in active resistance related to transportation including the bravery like women of rosa parks the civil rights act of 1964 was built on the foundation to prohibit racial discrimination to thereby impede interstate commerce and also has never ceased from forcible head coverings to the south to the denial of employment based on hair texture and treatment so in light of this history we are deeply troubled that the full body scanners disproportionately single out black women for security
procedures including hair pat downs the systematic infringement on black women by a government agency must be corrected and we are heartened this committee is taking up the charge. roughly 8 percent 17 percent that others are asian but black travelers have experienced heightened suspicion of profiling as a result of tsa technology singling out black people in airports and particularly black women simply because the technology is unable to distinguished contraband from natural black hair. the false positive full body scanner exemplify the impact of the race neutral technology that nonetheless perpetuates racial profiling. weather high profile celebrities business travelers
or commuters or black women , tsa scanners are one more assault in a constant barrage of assessments to which they are subjected on a daily basis and reflect deep rooted bias and historical associations between race and dangers discrimination is a proven threat to national security at tsa has not justified the highly criticized practice of hair pat downs improve security contrary they have called into question whether these additional screenings are an effective use of personnel time and resources. most deserving his top officials do not seem to recognize that a system that disproportionately singles out black women is discriminatory. we know technology is susceptible to bias of the humans that create it so the technology that uses white female type as a default can
easily produce a biased outcome against people of color this is not new. the committee held a hearing on these issues a little over a year ago tsa has been aware of discriminatory bias practices for years. in 2015 it entered a settlement agreement over the very issue of racial profiling over black hair. to be very clear we recognize and respect tsa important security function at our nation's airports but i want to stress we can maintain security while maintaining the human dignity of travelers with technology and not compromise civil and human rights that they cannot only coexist by law that they must. in closing we acknowledge the charge to ensure safe travel while meeting the obligation to treat all passengers with dignity we appreciate the attention this committee has
paid to this important issue and thank you for your consideration and for the opportunity to testify today. >> i think the witnesses for their testimony. i remind each member you will have five minutes to question the panel i recognize myself or questions. let me say from the outset, i think it's clear every member of this committee that the traveling public has a duty to be safe that we have an obligation to make sure that process of getting screened is the best system. our challenge, i'm speaking for the chair is that i have had experiences as an african-american and perhaps my other colleagues have not what i have questioned when i am putting in a secondary
screening it was always not real clear as to why. and i hear that quite often so we are trying to have the searing so how can we reduce those numbers down as low as possible? we have invested in technology and we have done away with some of the detection offices and others without real science behind it but we still have work because a lot of these are still occurring. one of the things i would like to ask mister russell, is there a clearer travelers redress available to someone who feels he or she has been
singled out for discrimination? . >> what we found in the most recent report there are three main ways to do that contact the tsa and you can do that through phone or e-mail or electronic communication then comment cards at the airports you can fill out as well those are the three main avenues and you have 180 days to lodge that complaint. >> to your knowledge could you ascertain if individuals who went to the process are told that? . >> there are officials at the airport customer service representatives that help to steer passengers in the right place if they know to find them which is what we talked about in the report.
>> so your experience, has that process been cleared for those individuals? . >> it really hasn't been cleared. in fact, i would say it is a deceptive practice it doesn't indicate this is a complaint for travel are used and second travelers were delayed and frustrated with the secondary features they will not try to hang around at the airport to ascertain who do i complain to so we developed that app to make it more accessible hopefully we launched it in 2012 so that complaints could be officially made through the app and forwarded to tsa. tsa has done a little more with the online space for complaints but i think people
are tired of complaining and seeing little change. the inconsistent application to procedures and discretion airports makes the job too big of a problem to always complain about in the entire system requires the top-down messaging is not effectively implemented by security officials the more sophisticated technologies is perceived as superior and people are left to make a generalized complaint not about the tso or a specific airport but that technology is a problem for the them. >> thank you very much. what is your experience with people making complaints as my co- panel has described it leaves a lot to be desired
accurately if a complaint is lodged and information is not provided within a ten day window that complaint is closed. the 3700 complaints identified in the report really does not represent the lion's share of incidents that happened at airports that go unreported and ultimately are dismissed because they are not fully complete one of the five recommendations is that the process we overhauled with greater public education and ad campaigns about the ability to lodge such complaints and when they complain to tso and personnel than they should be immediately offered an opportunity to file a complaint then. >> thank you. i yield to the ranking member. >> thank you mister chairman
and also ms. nelson i have been a longtime critic of those machines for years to make sure we don't purchase anymore as soon as we can replace them with better technology but struggling for a long time with screening but they seem to be hung up on behavior detection even though we told them to stop using it why do they continue to take this approach when there are better technologies available they consider behavior detection as one layer of security as the technology at the tech.one - - checkpoint is a useful security measure to help counter threats for aviation but what we have said in the past report is that
there was little valid evidence to support those indicators and had recommended they limit funding to such time they get that support and as mentioned the aviation security act of 2016 helps tsa in the standalone program and now the staff trained in that function is now regular transportation security officers. >> they still use that approach in their screening practices? . >> and in a limited way but as they come to work every day. >> so what about the screening personnel to be privatized? that is more consistency the
way screening is done have you found that to be true that isn't something that we looked at. . >>. >> ms. nelson is that your view? . >> there are some improvements with dismissed use to still have a very long way to go there are very sound practices to keep us safe and we do not believe as the chairman has said that there is a deeper equation we can protect civil rights and human rights and national security.
>> i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentle lady from texas. >> first of all, thank you for the hearing and for the ranking member to join together for a very long time to address these issues that are extremely important for i would love to take note this nelson because it is important people know what is in your testimony as it relates to tsa you openly say we appreciate their role to maintain safe travel as well as the attention to the ongoing problems discussed in testimony. i want it to be known that we understand the "frontline" responsibilities of the tsa as well as tso officers and we
offer them our gratitude that we live in a nation of laws and we believe in a nation that adheres to the rule of law. and as well our basic principles of human dignity and due process. i think this hearing is crucial because it is important to get things correct on how the balance in aftermath of 9/11 and we understand security. so in the report to indicate a number of these complaints. >> the top three lax jfk and atlanta. >> do you attribute that to
the size of the airports? . >> some of the busiest airports in the country we provided that data but did not make a judgment beyond that. >> the most important point you want to make out of your recommendation is what? . >> there is a number of oversights in place with behavior detection that it employees but we think to go one step further that there is one specific mechanism within their checklist and policy specific to look for indications of their profiling. >> so there should be a specific mechanism? . >> tsa agreed to go back with the whole process they use for oversight to document what the
supervisor is observing for behavior detection to look for indications of profiling to remark if they see something or not. >> they have to do this internally. >> correct. >> thank you very much. we will answer your question and we are in the process and the judiciary committee to reintroduce racial profiling and i look forward to that thank you very much. i am reminded of speaking to an east indian who was killed in mesa arizona and said i will shoot some because they will grow up to be like their parents and that hatred is resurging i want to acknowledge and put in the record currently arising
junior at the university came to my office in houston from the program and he is related shows that when we kill we may kill one but the spirit and strength of our community will remain strong. asked the question how the community feels and you represent others who may be similarly dressed another religious close and what that means when they go to an airport and are treated this way. so going to miss nelson to ask the question, my constituent was treated unfairly in atlanta which i am still pursuing. i have asked the question , what is the key thing we need to do? you said an appeal process that captures where they can apply directly at the airport
which i think is extremely important so first your answer and then miss nelson. >> thank you for that recognition. travelers feel humiliated and ashamed and stigmatized and left out. in short they feel like second-class citizens sometimes like minorities not welcome in their own community. >> you asked about additional recommendations to improve the process while the gao reports is laudable and insightful assessment there should be practices and policies that determine one, if they in fact, serve national security interest, and are they the least discriminatory means to do so. no one group of citizens to
bear the responsibility of security procedures. >> thank you. >> if you allow me to recognize for personal privilege i would appreciate it. >> this time sure. [laughter] . >> i understand you have a special guest you may want to introduce to the committee? . >> mister chairman thank you very much for that honor. i would like to recognize my mother, my aunt. [applause] please stand up quickly stand up and say hello. [applause]
. >> does the gentleman yield quick. >> strike that from the record. >> now you owe me a beer. [laughter] mister chairman thank you and i agree with those sentiments expressed that even one incident of racial profiling is too much. i commend all of you for being here today. i must say i am a little concerned with tsa it is a problem more systemic than the whole executive branch function but to dictate by which they appear here and that shouldn't be so making a decision if we have witness or a minority and then to get their internal approvals done and that they need more time to prepare the witnesses.
i think we should consider this because tsa is one we are concerned with they are not here at the table so read my mind we should take a more aggressive approach as we respectfully suggest. >> duly noted. >> plus i'm a prosecutor and i like subpoenas. [laughter] and to get people's attention. we have talked about this with behavior detection but as the chairman noted we passed a bill out of here to outlaw using behavior detection officers. i want to understand how exactly are we using these officers now? . >> they are using them in support of passenger screening canine teams as well as
aviation workers. >> are they stationed when people come in? . >> they are with the actual canine units wherever they operate and depending on how the airport is set up screening workers they would be positioned there. >> is that the transition? . >> that is information we are not privileged you i cannot comment. >> but i want to get some examples from you of when you think they have been profiling in a not appropriate manner can you give specific examples? . >> i will highlight one of them a sikh traveler was pulled out of line three times twice in terminal c once in terminal a-letter when he flew out of terminal c in both instances he was told he could not do a self pat down of his
turban the tso and the manager said the rules have changed and they have to do a patdown. on the third flight from terminal a he was able to do a self pat down like usual his turban shows up nine times out of ten and this was one of those demonstrations of inconsistent applications just within one airport in the last two months. >> thank you. ms. nelson can you expand on those issues but perhaps there is a public awareness campaign but what else are you suggestin suggesting? i am concerned with these officers that it is not too scientific and engaging the passengers for several minutes i don't think they can make a snap decision i would sit for days and i would be convinced
they were telling me the truth and then they tell me they did do it so you cannot find out in ten seconds if they are a security risk or not so with that proviso i want to hear what you have to say. >> in addition to improving the complaint process and also ensuring that we are in fact, weaning the national security interest in a way benefiting american travelers we also recommend that in addition to antidiscrimination training for all tsa personnel it quickly implements that it immediately implements the gao recommendation that it accepted to monitor compliance with a specific procedure intended to prohibit unlawful profiling but looking at the specific procedure intended to deal with this issue we are most concerned about. in addition we add in the interest of transparency to
share the result of that monitoring with the public the tsa also commendably reported they requested the vendors last summer provide ideas to improve screening of headwear with title vi of the civil rights act that is an excellent step in the right direction we urge the tsa to maintain that demand of vendors and refuse contracts with those using taxpayer funds that cannot insure their technology is not discriminatory. those are the additional ways to phase out completely the use of behavioral detection techniques. >> a few ideas for new bills. thank you very much. >> i assure the gentleman from new york we will follow up with the tsa. i wonder why they are not following the congressional
mandate. and then to use subpoenas. mission never be an excuse. thank you for having this with the ranking member and i think it has already been mentioned with the line of questioning to reiterate the seriousness of the issue that 3500 complaints may not seem like a significant number that the 3500 people that took the time to lodge a complaint and in
terms of people but that they don't have the time and they don't know the procedure of what to do next. and that is a serious problem. you suspect those civil liberties complaint as those passengers refrain from reporting those incidents as a fear to be placed on a watchlis watchlist. >> so with the recent report looking at those 3700 complaints what was the process? they don't all make it to the
investigative stage so almost one third are knocked out that the passenger could provide so anything along those lines to make it more evident are responsive to a request for more information that would be helpful. >> we believe there are numerous factors sometimes the traveling public may not know their rights are being violated so for those policies and protocols to be easy to understand and i look at the committee members and with those guidance for passengers and the one to be developed
with close consultation. >> and i will add we should -underscore those complaints related to passenger screening the multicultural branch shows the discrimination in a professional conduct of the other factors and over those 1000 complaints it is a significant numbers. with those anecdotal accounts and those that talk about those pat downs at airports with the tso's themselves talk about racial profiling being pervasive like newark liberty, honolul liberty, honolulu, it is far more prevalent than the complaints suggest because of the frailties of the complaint
process and the very nature of the event itself and do not often circle back i can circle back not to and those that i have been subjected to patdown. >> and those having issues and not necessarily following a complaint and to be frustrated and to be embarrassed by the pat downs so what other reasons might result so with result to certain populations
and ramadan is today and muslim americans that it is a concerned and with additional scrutiny with additional dangers and many others. and then to be so deeply humiliated through that lens of the tsa scanners and what they used to determine who is appropriate to pass through security that filing a complaint airing those issues only leads to further exposure and humiliations of those are deterrents to find a process where there is a greater opportunity to air that issue. >> i apologize and i yelled bac back. >> thank you mister chairman.
ms. nelson, i appreciate your perspective on the things you have seen and i appreciate you sharing the things specifically the african-american females and i will look more into that. i haven't thought about this in 15 or 16 years i remember my third grade son coming home that he and friends had made fun of another boy in his class for wearing a turban. so the next day trying to teach my son leaving for school wearing a turban to get him to understand to feel like what it feels to be picked on and discriminated against that's not always right but that day we can send a lesson
that americans want to make sure any type of discrimination but also to make sure those that take their job very seriously with 2 million passengers each day it comes down to less than 11000 of one percentage point and then to work on that but i do have a couple of questions mister russell. and with the screener to follow that protocol of alleged violations. . >> and to review those complaints going back to the airport involved with camera footage and interviews and the security officers involved and then to substantiate the
allegation. . >> what disciplinary actions are used if they do not follow protocol? . >> so either to the nationwide brief depending on the issue and what that may be and we also noted there were 100 instances disciplinary action was taken in response to the passenger screening related complaints. >> so in what ways does the tsa increase or decrease related to allegations of unlawful profiling? . >> tsa does review that macrolevel of what is emerging with various mechanisms to
report that to the leadership of tsa for the federal security directors that they think they may see the data. >> can you unpack that more or ways to file the trend or can you speak specifically for the future? . >> and with headgear for turbines to handle that intervention might - - and that anomaly and with the review of religious where. and those that they may be traveling. >> thank you panel and i yelled back.
>>. >> and now the most important hearing. i do wish tsa would have been here and for this subcommittee on tsa does have a hearing and it invites officials it's important to hear from them because they do have an important job. if you look at how many flights per day in this country, 2000 or more? and how many airports around this country, the job is to make sure those claims land safely. so mister russell, law enforcement . . . .
zero-tolerance is what is expected of them so what is the policy right now when it comes to screening for immigration, is that part of the job? >> i can see if there is something specific in their procedures. >> several years ago we heard reports that passengers were beinthe passengers werebeing tar detection officers and some of them actually call themselves executioners which meant they were looking for secondary screenings for drug-related offenses, outstanding warrants and deportations. is this part of the mission or goal do you know if they are still doing this or is it something incidental?
>> it's not something that came out specifically in our view but it's where it's being used way so they need to improve the oversight in terms of checking for compliance so if it was involved in the incidence that yoincidents thatyou were referry we think the recommendation will help have an oversight mechani mechanism. >> most of us are familiar with the process that a person occasionally flies and travels you've got to be nervous as you walk up to a love of those machines to exhibit some kind of nervousness that detection behavior of folks what they look at this as triggering a secondary inspection? >> that is what it is intended to do using a certain number of indicators and if you see a number of them --
>> how many of these would be false positives or false negatives? >> that's where it shows concerns around the use of this indicatoindicators when we lookw many of them have valid support it was only a few out of the 36 that they currently employ. >> so not really significant in terms of their job performance effectiveness. i'm running out of time but my further thought is in terms of the reports of the abuse from citizens this is a very diverse country in the multiethnic country with a lot of religions. to me every time you go through one of these situations, if you feel you've been discriminated against or racially profiled,
most would say let me out of here i just want to get out of here and they wouldn't file a complaint so i am hoping that we can get to a process if a passenger feels there is something wrong here they can immediately report the situation as opposed to i've got to go online and write you a letter to express my concerns. >> that's certainly something we saw in the complaints that came in that didn't get further reviewed because they were missing a piece of information someone had to provide those are the ones that are actually reported and in place to investigate a complaint further. >> we need to follow-up on this and make sure that it's a robust complaint system and we want to thank our officers and make sure that they are focusing on the
right jobs. >> well in advance of the intent and interest we will go forward and have them answer some questions. i am really concerned we spoke very clearly that there wasn't enough science behind the behavioral detective program and some held on the one hand they say we've done away with it but from what you said to date, they still use it. >> that's correct. >> there is a validity to this
kind of behavior testing use. let's hear about it and move on to something else. >> the chair recognizes the lady from arizona thank you for sharing your insight on this most important issue. i have a couple of questions the first one is for mr. russell. from what i've read the tsa recommended additional training due to potential discrimination and theinto the weekand then wem other witnesses about how many complaints were because of
turbines or other headwear so that i get a better understanding of how any of this happens? >> going back to the complaints passenger screening related complaints about 1300 of those were related to the general discrimination law prevailing concerns, 493 had to do with some aspects of pat downs. 279 d-delta with issues around hair just to name a few others, 200 adults with religion and then another $169 with transgender.
>> you had said that african american women's hair sometimes they can't detect the difference between contraband. when does that happen quite >> it doesn't always accurately detect or screen hair. it can be an afro, and braids or twists and those scanners cannot properly detect that it's hair and not contraband so it signals that there should be an additional screening and it affects black women have to go through a more invasive pat down whereas someone that had straight hair is less likely to go off.
>> i guess i'm confused about this behavioral screening of specialized training i don't know if he got rid of it but what i read is that it's integrated now into other officers and especially those that have canines. the airport i come from your usually at the front of the line so an officer is using the specialized detection, how do they then say you need a special path down because normally they take you after you get through the webpage area and then they put you inside and have viewed aviewed apath down so help me ud that.
>> you then referred that person to the secondary screening. so they walk them over to the screening area and handed them over to another officer is that what you are saying? they were in the tsa's and usually the ones that deal with canines, that's what i read anyway so i don't know if that is specifically in the bill or not. we have to find out. thank you very much all of you i appreciate the insight.
>> the reason we got through the bill is we couldn't find the science behind being able to look at somebody and tell in a matter of seconds to clarify the issues we said is not working to come here and tell us why you for whatever reason the intent of congress to do away with this program has somehow resurfaced somewhere else. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from nevada for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i represents las vegas so it ife stresses need to see mclaren on the list of top air force
complaints. we welcome visitors from all over the world and want their experience from the minute they leave and landed to always be a good one so i hate to see us here, but i do think this chart only tells us which airports are the busiest. there may be a smaller airport where you have a higher percentage of incidents of this. you mentioned honolulu for instance and i don't see that on here so a better charge would give us percentages or break it down by i don't know what, but this doesn't give me much information. how about more diversity among
the staff themselves if you are coming through an airport, maybe there would be some more understanding. did you look at the staff to see if they are diverse or if there is any attempt to hire diversity, not just trai trained people to bring people into the profession where they can then replace some of these concerns themselves? as a total of 240 that have at least one complaint that we just listed the top ten do you think that would be a good thing to look into that we know of some
in the field, however, without the appropriate input at the leadership level and policymaking level no matter how diverse in the procedures and protocols it may be more diver diverse. it's always a good thing and something we should look for however, we have found that they will implement a policy that is discriminatory.
it doesn't solve the issue anecdotally there's been some commentary that perhaps understand your religious garb better will not engage in as invasive or as humiliating a search for doesn't eliminate the disproportionate impact of technology and the practices and policies. >> did you have any conversations with then do you think that would be a good idea or that could be a vehicle for bringing about some of the changes that you all have suggested we so desperately
need? >> with the community groups they did have a relationship with the coalition and others o have dialogue on these issues that is as far as that went to report that information. >> maybe we could also bring in their union is this the how they might be implementing some of the changes. >> absolutely. we look forward to having both. >> i appreciate the hearing and i think this is an important topic. can you give me a trend that's what's transpired it's in the policy they are not supposed to do profiling.
has that always been there or does that change at some point and can you give some context about the racial profiling has that gone up or down and can you give a snapshot in time on where we have been? >> a couple of points on that. some prohibition of profiling has been around for a long time specifically in 2013 dhs secretary and the tsa to take a second look at that to make sure that they had specific policies in place around the profiling and then where feasible to collect information to make sure that wasn't happening dot reinforce. in terms of the complaint data we looked at 3700 that are just civil rights, civil liberties but to give you some context i think in 2017, tsa received a total of 200,000 complaints so
3700 would be a subset that's over a more extended period of time. >> was about ten years ago but trendline are we on or do you know, i'm not trying to put you on the spot. >> typically there are half a million to 600,000 comments that come in. >> something important to me is mothers who are breast-feeding and to try to take milk through tsa and that is something that has come through my town halls. i showed a piece of paper and they do with their own wa it thd take the piece of paper and throw it away. that is pretty upsetting to me for the piece of legislation i'm
looking at with the committee staff. have you had a chance to review the policy have you reviewed the policy and is there a written documentation somewhere people can point to and say it seems to be the key question here is there a return policy? >> they develop a note before you go document. other than working with the coalition and others who just kinis kindof frustrating becaust have access to every in america
so the guidance isn't clear. the website doesn't have the policies and procedures of what they can expect and where they go to present themselves for screening and they are left wondering what does this procedure look like and the onus is on organizations like us and our travelers to know what you generally expect. there's a lot of dph and from what people can expect. it's not clear when we try to get clarity we are always told that they can't provide clarity in terms of pastels, procedures and process orders they will do it. >> it seems reasonable and that helps the work force to do whatever it is we want them to do rather than leaving them out to not know what they were supposed to do. do you have a comment on that
but you are concerned about for what should be written is correct that there is not enough specificity? >> i talked about the deficiencies in the complaint process but i also think the transparency and plus the guidelines and protocols are is key. they could be posted in airports so every airline passenger knows his or her rights when traveling and what can and cannot have been in the security interacti interaction. there's many ways we can create transparency and accountability in the process but right now we disclosed in secrecy. the defense fund had a request to get the information but it's far from transparent. >> i just want to concur with my colleagues it is imperative to come to a hearing like this at whatever we need to do to make them show up.
>> by agree it is the written guidance and training that goes with it. and i was talking to the ranking member. they will ask you if you have a drivers license and that is in the manual that could alleviate a number of the members we are talking about here. the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank the ranking member and witnesses for appearing here today. mr. chairman if i may say so i concur with what you said. i couldn't have that experience and in the interest of the full disclosure i would like to
announce that i was a branch president of the naacp in houston texas with approximately ten years. now, further disclosure was required that i indicate a legal defense fund and naacp have separate entities and special relationship and i'm honored you are here today to speak on behalf of not only an organization on behalf of millions of people because he make a difference in their lives. i'm concerned about the deployment. is there some exigency about the necessity of the field testing that for a part of the traveling
experience and maybe this was the test that we tested before deploying back in 2014. >> i have to interrupt. i'm not sure what take a look at means. did you actually have lives and bodies and having an experience with the technology before deploying its? >> we looked at what tsa was doing to test the technologies. >> did they do this on live bodies at airports? >> one of the things they found -- >> i'm not sure i understand. did they test at airports on live bodies? how did we deploy the technology that is defective that must be protocols we have to adhere to
that would prevent this sort of circumstance. how do we get here? >> one of the things from that preview is it was noted that the technology itself had a higher incidence of false alarms when it came to transgender legs and hair type issues and body mass index. but this is after deployment, is that correct? after it's been used in airports. how did we get to this point, does anybody have some indication as to what was required and what was the protocol that was adhered to to allow it to be deployed? have we bothered to make an inquiry as to what happened because i am just amazed we
deploy this technology there has to be an exigency that would require deployment without testing it properly. i don't want anyone to be singled out unnecessarily in this country we value our privacy and we value our ability to associate freely and move about without impediments to. how can we find out what happened, can someone give me some indication please click >> that's an excellent question and there does need to be some historical discovery as to how the technology was acquired and implemented in view of the discriminatory impact that is now all too shown. but this is an important moment planet before any additional technology is used if we have grave concerns about the potential abuse of the facial
recognition technology which is already being used in some airports around the country that we do not repeat the same mistake that we make sure we account for the potential discriminatory impact of that before we spend millions and deploying at the expense of the various american travelers particularly the people of color. >> do you agree there should be some deployment protocols that we can access to ascertain what that standard is. i will try as best i can to help us achieve this level of protection and i thank you for your testimony and yelled back. yield back. >> the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you mr. sharon and into the ranking member and witnesses for joining us today.
this is a very important heari hearing. if we could just go. mr. russell, the question is for you ms. nelson goin, you talkedt the need for transparency. for example, airports, tsa could post information in the various airports, notifying the traveling public regarding the complaint. mr. russell, if you could tell me what steps do they take to ensure passengers are even aware of the complaint process, and i think he talked about this many times passengers are just trying to get through the airport. by the time they get through they just say let it go. what steps do you take a
two-week sure as it pertains to their civil liberties that this is the way that they can make a complete? >> there is a portal on the website which you can file information into there are comment cards that can be utilized at the airport and then they have are called customer service representatives that can assist passengers with that process but you have to have the time to engage to do something at the airport, so for the most part, there's that 180 day window after the incident occurs where you can phone it in or file it the multicultural branch
deals with the more operational part of the tsa security operations that's responsible for the checkpoints to inform updates to the standard operating procedures or two send information to particular airports can you talk a little bit about what kind of training has been recommended to the tsa that has actually been implemented? >> it can go to the individual screener involved it's one
that's happened in the past and then sometimes it can be just a heads-up awareness we are seeing a particular issue in the complaint data here's some of the information around it like religious clothing is one that we saw. >> it depends on a situation that can't be shared with all the airports. sometimes it is dedicated to the particular airports where the incident occurs. back to the question of about ten airports that account for a third of the complaints and my colleague from nevada asked the question about is this just based on passenger volume or would you see these particular airports are the lack of
training deficiency or some other bias is it just passenger volume? 's panic when you look at this at 3700 complaints where did he happen to occur if the list was the top ten. >> how do you get an accurate account of the problems that exist specifically if you are not looking at the percentage of the passenger volume and just looking at passenger volume? >> that's what we have in the report is just that data. my understanding is that does look for that kind of training. that's all i can say. tsa would have to answer more on that. >> do they generate a report of your conclusions or the results of those? >> a member of the materials that they develop based on the complaints, and then we were able to see some of the
complaint trends that they monitored. so, for example there could be a range of complaints related to the handling of baggage or her paycheck as well as the civil rights and civil liberties type of complaints. >> thank you mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentle lady from new york for five minutes. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i think the ranking member for the hearing and the expert witness is for bringing your testimony today. this excuse the in and out. we have conflicting hearings but i want to make sure i had a conversation with the panel. a screen over 2 million passengers every day and they are diverse as america itself. tsa must have policies that prevents profiling to ensure each passenger is on the security profile and never based on their race or religion.
the screenings must rely on science, not prejudice or bias or algorithms programmed by individuals that harper implicit or explicit bias. my first question is from ms. nelson if they are disproportionately it would follow that they are also subjected to a disproportionate number of invasive pat downs. how do they affect the process given the context and history of policing of african-americans. >> thank you for that question. it's a disproportionate number of pet sounds and a secondary screening processes reinforces the stereotype that african americans and african american women in particular are connected with the individuals over potentially dangerous, it
is a public viewing of the selected process and many accounts by african-american women described being deeply humiliated and delayed in their travel. there's an additional burdethern and cost to them personally and professionally being subjected to the process and procedures, and again i underscore that we have yet to receive any indication that this is in fact improving our national security. >> building upon that answer, according to the statistics african-american girls and women, 12 and older experience higher rates of rape and sexual assault than girls and women from 1999 to 2010. how might a survivor of sexual attacks? >> it can be a traumatic experience for anyone that has
been a victim of sexual assault we know in ways that bring unwarranted scrutiny and criticism and practices to them as they travel and go about their daily lives. >> screening machines that are popular among african-american women and girls making african-american women more prone to invasive pat downs. tsa has been trying to respond to concerns by african-american women's about the top-down process, but the problem won't be fully sold until the technology.
>> it is unacceptable to have technology funded by the taxpayer dollars that recognize and discern the people and its populations. first and foremost it needs to remove and revise its technologies. in terms of the ongoing pat downs there are ways in which they can be done once and basically for example there can be self pet sounds, there can be ways in which they are able to morwere able tohave more agency, so there are some near-term improvements but the longer-term recommendation is that we scrap the technology that perpetuates racial profiling. >> very well. many religious minorities including americans field they are targeted for the random screenings by the tsa. the program is supposed to operate without regard to ethnicity, color, agenda,
religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disabili disability. if you have concerns of their behavioral detection? >> we are extremely concerned about the detection as they sigh and said there is no evidence of the suppordisappointed it's effd neither dot validate the deterrence mechanism on the tso discretion it is far-fetched. we have to articulate some sort of standard or basis before in suspicion for the secondary search. there is many instances using
their wide discretion from the basis to the secondary screeni screening. >> thank you mr. chairman i think the panelists once again and i yield back. >> the gentleman from missouri for five minutes. >> when they see a name, a suspicious name, is there anything that can direct attention to people based on their name? for every traveler if you match the name against different
watchlist to determine if someone would need the secondary screening on that process. >> the washington bureau chief i am not sure they would have even wanted to stay. i have relatives who are rather famous with their last name and there are relatives with that name. it's an awful experience as i went through every single week.
where somebody can get that information to me, please. >> for the record, yes. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> i think the witnesses for their testimony and members further questions and ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a report from the national center from the equity without objections. >> the members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses, and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to the questions. without objection, the committee record shall be kept open for ten days. hearing no further witness or business, the committee stands adjourned.