tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 28, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
endorsed, before that announcement, she and i sat down and talked at a great length. one of the things that struck me, she said, i have a condition for endorsement. i said, what is it? she said, i don't do anything halfway. if find doors, i want to be all and. i want to be working and campaigning in making the case to the american people. [applause] mr. cruz: that is the kind of condition that you like to hear. her condition was my endorsement is not just an empty rubberstamp. commitmentr a full because carly looked at me and said our country is in crisis and we've got to do this together. [applause] since that time, i
have seen her day in and day out on the campaign bus going from stop to stop to stop she is . she is careful, she is measured, she is serious. she doesn't get overly excited or rattled. [applause] and you know, we also that. one of the earliest debates carly confronted donald trump. a man with the characteristic understatement said of her, look at that face. and everyone of us remember that grace, the class, with which carly responded.
responded to donald that she knew exactly what he was saying and that every woman in america knew exactly what he was saying. one of the great principles they bullies, they feed off of fear. they feed off of people who cower in the quarter when they yell and scream. they don't know what to do when a strong, powerful woman stands up and says, i am not afraid. [applause] mr. cruz: the third characteristic that is important for a president is character. at the end of the day it is all about character.
if the president is a no good scoundrel. if the president is a narcissist everett if the president is notive and angry, they will and cannot be a good president. and for anyone who doubts that we only need to look at the past seven years to see what happens. a good president must have known struggle to read must be able to understand those who are struggling. if you have always lived a life of privilege. if you have always been told you that hashosen one,
real impacts on the job you can do as president. when carly started as the in anary in a small firm environment that was not always welcoming to women, she knows what it is like to struggle in the workplace every day. she has also faced personal struggles. including being diagnosed with breast cancer. battling cancer and surviving. [applause] mr. cruz: as a son who was by my mother's side when she battled breast cancer, i know how devastating that disease can be and i know what testament it is that she came back ready to
conquer the world. [applause] carly has known the loss ofluding her stepdaughter to a drug overdose. on the planetin commensurate with the pain of a parent losing a child. carly has struggled through that and going through those personal struggles, everyone here has faced personal struggles but it is when you are facing the void, the abyss, that you find your character. you find who you are. you find your ground. [applause] maybe that is why
carly is not intimidated by bullies. has faced challenges a lot worse than someone bellowing and yelling and insulting her face. [applause] mr. cruz: let me tell you on a personal level, heidi and i have become friends with carly. we have spent time with her on the campaign trail. we have left and watched games together. we have marveled at this crazy wild journey and i will tell have come to a dore carly. on the bus, on the campaign trail, she makes up songs and
sings them. our girls, mind you they are regularlyfive, both text carly. let me tell you, carly may become the first vice president a veryory to have impressive fluency with heart and smiley face emoticons. and when you are texting with a five-year-old girl or an eight-year-old girl, those are highly valued. now listen, some might ask, why now? it is tradition of the vice-presidential nominee to be announced at the convention. it is unusual to make the announcement as early as we're doing. i think all would it be knowledge of this race, if anything, it is unusual.
where we are now, the mainstream media executives and a are allon lobbyists trying to tell the american people the race is over. let me tell you where we are right now. now, nobody right is getting 1,237 delegates. [applause] thereot getting and donald trump is not getting them. and the hoosier state is going to have a powerful voice.
so why make this announcement now? well for one thing, if we are to number one, win the nomination. number two, win the general election we must unite. and carly is a vice presidential nominee who i believe is superbly skilled, superbly gifted, at helping unite this party. bring us together so we steerage and united as one together. secondly, i make this announcement today so you the voters in indiana, nebraska, south dakota and washington state and california and across
the country, so that you will go know what you will get. [applause] the voters deserve to know. you do to have a candidate who change as the wind blows. you deserve to know exactly where a candidate stands. [applause] the final reason for making the decision now is to give the american people a clear choice. elections are about choices. across this country millions of americans are struggling with an economy that is not working, with the obama clinton economy that is stagnant. are seeing the bill of rights under salt religious liberty and
, the 2nd amendment violated by the federal government. court hanging in the balance, a president who abandons our friends and allies whether it is great britain or whether it is israel. and the president who is unwilling to stand up and confront radical islamic terrorism and defeat isis. some in the media will say, wouldn't it be easier just to throw up your hands and say surrender? donald trump has won some of the race. so we should step back and let him win them all. if we nominate a candidate who is a big government, new york liberal, who is a washington
insider, who agrees with hillary onnton and barack obama issue after issue after issue, and whose lobbyist campaign manager has told us he is only playing a part, this is only a role, he is lying to us, then we, as a republican party, will have failed profoundly for this country because the men and women of indiana know if we give people a clear choice between freedom and tyranny, between prosperity and poverty, between vulnerability and weakness and peace through strength, that the american people will choose the constitution and jobs and freedom and security over and over again. [applause]
mr. cruz: the difference between carly and me on the one side and donald trump and hillary clinton on the other side could not be starker. if you want someone that will stand and fight for the working men and women of this country, fight for the men and women with calluses on your hands, fight for the single moms, fight for the young people, fight for those who are struggling and want to achieve the american dream, then do not go with the washington insiders who sold us down the river. [applause] mr. cruz: this ticket is about the future.
it is about our children. it is about our grandchildren. the stakes of this election, we are not simply wagering on a sporting contest. we are involved in a fight that everyone of us is privileged to be here to be fighting to save the greatest country in the history of the world to make , sure the next generation has every bit as much freedom and opportunity as each of us. [applause] mr. cruz: and with that, i am anased to introduce to you extraordinary leader, my friend, and the next vice president of the united states, carly fiorina.
announce i have accepted senator 's offered to be his nominee for the vice presidential nomination. [applause] know, ted cruzu could not be more right in what he says. there is a lot at stake. this is a fight for the soul of our parties and the future of our nation. and there are some who would say, a lot of people saying, why have the fight? i have had a fight all my life. what matters is whether the fight is worth having. this is a fight worth having, this is a fight worth winning, and with your help, we will win this fight. [applause]
this fight is about far more than a ticket. it is about more than ted cruz and carly fiorina. it is about a fight for all of us. for our party, for our future, for our children's future. last night, the establishment, the elites said, it is over. donald trump won. because you and people across the great hoosier state, people across this w donald trump and hillary clinton both will be disastrous. donald trump and hillary clinton are two sides of the same coin. they are both liberal, we know
that. but you know, hillary clinton, like so many politicians, she has made her millions selling access and influence from inside the system. donald trump has made his billions buying people like hillary clinton. they are not going to challenge the system that has sold us all down the river. they are not going to challenge the elite, they are not going to challenge the crony capitalists, they are not going to challenge the washington insiders, the lobbyists. gosh, their campaign is filled with them. no, they are not going to challenge the system. they are the system. [applause] carly.y, carly,
ms. fiorina: you know, ted mentioned that it has been seven weeks since i endorsed him. i voted for him before i ever had a conversation with him about endorsing him, and of course that is what you will have to do on tuesday, vote for him. but, good for you. now you can get a few more to vote. we have been traveling. around the country. i have come to know ted and heidi and caroline and catherine. i know two girls that i just adore i'm so happy i can see them more because we travel on the bus all day we get to play we get to play ♪
i won't bore you with anymore, rses,hey have four ve caroline and catherine. here is what i have come to know about this man who must be the next president of the united states. he is a fighter, too. he has been in lots of fights. he has fought for religious liberty. he has fought for our right to bear arms. he has fought over and over in front of the supreme court so many times, and he has won all of those fights. [applause] ms. fiorina: you know there are , people who say, he has made some enemies. listen, as someone who has challenged the status quo all of my life, that is how you get from secretary to ceo, you challenge the status quo. it is the only way we solve
festering problems and lord knows, we solve festering problems. the only way you solve problems is, you actually have to challenge the status quo, and i will tell you something about challenging the system and the status quo. you do more than ruffle feathers. you do more than rock the vote. you make enemies. so i am reassured and i am proud of some of the enemies that ted cruz has made. [applause] it means he is going to fight. and this is our fight. let me tell you something else about this man. those two girls that i adore, caroline and catherine, let me tell you how much they adore their dad. i have watched ted and heidi, they are partners, a couple that rely on one another, just as my husband, frank of over 30 years, and i rely on each other through
good times and bad. ted is a lot of fun. he is brilliant, a constitutional attorney. but he is a lot of fun. in fact, he mentioned watching a basketball game. you know, we were on the bus and we were watching the final four, the very last game, villanova and north carolina. here we are in the final, if you remember that game? you are a basketball state, right? you remember that game. it is 4.38 seconds to go in the game, and without knowing what the exciting finish would be, here is ted cruz putting money on the game. everybody has the money on the table. he is a heck of a lot of fun, but more than that, he actually is what he says he is. he is who he says he is. you know, ted mentioned that 2nd
debate, and one of the things that i got asked in that debate was -- and i have been asked almost every day, well, will you support donald trump if he is the nominee? and i said them what i have said every week, he does not represent me, and he does not represent my party. [applause] but here is something else i said in that second debate. i said, you know, there is an old saying, tough times build character. that is not true. tough times reveal character. character is revealed over time and under pressure. character is revealed in the pattern of someone's life, not in what they choose to say behind the podium, and i can tell you that the character of
ted cruz has been revealed over time and under pressure and in the pattern of his life. [applause] ms. fiorina: he is a principled fighter. he is a man of character and conviction, and he understands the importance of the constitution to the future of this nation. [applause] i have to take a moment and explain why the constitution even matters because there are some people that say, it is a dusty relic , it was written so long ago. let me tell you why it matters but to tie you why it matters i , need to go back and tell you a little about myself. when i was a little girl of eight years old, i was in sunday school one morning. my mother was my sunday school teacher that year. she looked at me and the rest of the class and said, what you are is god's gift to you. what you make of yourself is your gift to god. [applause]
i have traveled and lived and worked all over the world for decades. i have seen people and every possible corner of the globe and in every conceivable circumstance, and i can tell you that, indeed, each of us , all of us are gifted by god. [cheering and applause] each of us. each of us and all of us. we have the capacity and the desire to live lives of dignity and purpose and meaning, and we know and it has always been true that work done well brings us dignity, and family brings us purpose. faith gives meaning to our lives. cheering and applause] and that is true. all over the world.
and when people do not have the opportunity to work, they lose dignity. once families are afraid purpose becomes uncertain. when people become disconnected from faith, they lose meaning in their lives. if everyone has the desire and capacity to live a life of dignity and purpose and meaning, we must ask ourselves now, why is it that more things have been more possible for more people for more places here than anywhere else on earth because knowing the answer to that question is what we will save the future of this nation. cheering and applause] i am keenly aware, keenly aware that it is only in this nation a young woman can start out the way i did,
typing, filing, answering the phones for a nine person real estate firm and one day go on and become the chief executive of what would turn in to the largest technology company in the world, run for the president of the united states, and run now for the vice president of the united states. [cheering and applause] that is only possible in this great nation. [cheering and applause] and the reason it is possible, the reason it is possible here and only here is because our founders knew what my mother taught me, that everyone is gifted by god, all of us are equal in the eyes of god, everyone has potential. and so they said, we are going to found a nation on a radical, visionary idea that here, in this nation, everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
[cheering and applause] that was there way of saying, everyone has the right to find and use their god- given gifts to fill their otential, and they said that right comes from god and cannot be taken away. cheering and applause] and so this became a nation where groups who worshiped flourished and innovation flourish and more things became more possible for more people from more places. the constitution rightly enshrines liberty and gives us the chance to fulfill our potential, but our founders knew something else, that it has always been true throughout history -- and i used to study history -- this lso is true, power concentrated his power
abused. [applause] and so the constitution is rightly understood not just for the document that enshrines our rights and liberties but a document that prevents a concentration and abuse of power. we have grown way too far from the constitution. [applause] reality is, for the last decade republicans and democrats alike, too much power and money are concentrated in the hands of too few. >> yes! [cheering]00:44:55 >> we must restore liberty where it belongs, in the hands of the citizens of this nation, small businesses, communities and states. that is why having a constitutional conservative in he white house matters because the president in order to fix what ails us, must restore our constitutional
values. [applause] our entrenched political system, our system of crony capitalism works ifyou are a big company but not if you are a small company. it works if you're wealthy or powerful or well-connected, like donald trump or hillary clinton, as a poor, as a poor example, but it does not work for the rest of us. ours was intended to be a citizen government, and now we must restore, and a president ted cruz will restore. power belongs in the hands of citizens and communities and the states of this great nation. cheering and applause] what is at stake now is the future of our nation.
the potential of our nation. will this be a nation where every american, regardless of the circumstances, has he opportunity that comes from their god-given gift? will we be one nation, indivisible, under god, with liberty and justice for all or not? our country is being taken away from us by the elite, crony capitalists, special interests that have captured both parties. they are taking away not only what we treasure about this nation, but what has made this nation great, a place of possibility for so many. my fellow americans, people of indiana, it is time we must take our country back. [applause]
cheering and applause] >> this is the fight of our time. i believe ted cruz is the man to lead that fight, and i am prepared to stand by his side and give this everything i have to restore the core of our party, to defeat donald trump, to defeat hillary clinton, and to take our country back. cheering and applause] and so my fellow citizens, you must stand with us. you must fight with us. we must restore the potential of this nation. e must restore what has made
this nation great for so many people regardless of the circumstances. the possibility of this nation, the opportunity of this nation, the rights and liberties of this nation can extend to every american. ladies and gentlemen, this is the fight of our times. ted cruz is the man to lead that fight. i will stand by his side. i want you to stand with us as e fight. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back the next president of the united states, ted cruz ♪ ♪
>> at hearing of the house oversight and government reform employees tsa testified about mistreatment by their supervisors at the agency and retaliation against tsa whistleblowers. congressman jason chaffetz chaired the oversight committee. this is two hours and 35 minutes. n jason chaffetz chairs the oversight committee. this is an hour and 20 minutes.
rep. chaffetz: committee on oversight and government reform has come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare recess at any time. we have an important hearing today examining the management practices and misconduct at the transportation security administration. the t.s.a. as we enter summer travel, many americans are headed to the airport. we get a lot of people who come in from overseas and want to travel domestically. but we have got a lot of americans who are taking their families or going on business, the whole array, everything that you can think about. the numbers are pretty amazing. how many people travel on a daily basis. but often when they get there, they are finding that there are very long lines. we need our airlines and airports to be as secure as possible, but the practices of securing those airports i think continues to be an ongoing question, because some of the times the lines become so difficult and so long. during one week in mid march, nearly 6800 passengers missed
their flights due to long waits at the t.s.a. checkpoints. at the charlotte airport passengers waited more than three hours just to get through security. many airports complain t.s.a. is getting worse, not better, yet there has been a rise in the sheer number of people working at the t.s. ambings certainly since its inception. you're also going to find that the attrition rate is pretty stunning. i think it is a key indicator as to how the organization is performing, who is being ewarded and not being rewarded and how do people generally feel bout the organization? people are willing to wait in sfline they feel the airport is ecure.
last summer the department of homeland security inspector general performed covert testing and found failures in technology, failures in t.s.a. procedures and human error. the i.g., the inspector general testified before this committee that layers of security were simply missing. i understand some recommendations are still outstanding, although i appreciate the t.s.a. has taken steps to address many to have inspector general's findings. as t.s.a. works to improve security, the agency's staffing problem threatens to undermine its progress. currently the seath losing -- think about this. these numbers are pretty stung. they are losing about 103 screeners each week through attrition. now that is a little bit of a scary number because i think that is telling us that they really don't like working there. in 2014, this is again, a very stunning number. but 4644 e joined, people departed. there are a lot of people looking for good jobs, good opportunity in this country, so
when you have 4600 people leave that job they are only able to attract 373, what does that tell you? it tells you there is probably a management problem there and that there is probably some challenges and some underlying things and causes that ought to be examined. the government actually i think does a good job in that it surveys federal employees at all the different agencies across all the government. remember there is more than 2 million federal employees out there. of the 320 agencies that are ranked and scored, the t.s.a. ranked 313. out of 320. making it one of the worst places to work. the committee has been contacted by a large number of whistleblowers who have given us some insight as to why it might be might be. we have also reached out to some individuals.
i don't want you to assume that the panel here today are simply whistleblowers. in fact, that is not the case. one of the biggest causes that has attributed to the t.s.a. challenges is leadership and management. strong effective leadership cannot be more important. as we have chatted with people and whistleblowers who have come forward we tuned in the t.s.a. developed a highly retaliatory culture that discourages speaking up about problems. they have also raised concerns about leadership failing to punish high level managers who commit misconduct when hard working rank and file people are punished and their managers get off easy, it creates a morale problem. allowing such a culture to fester has a highly detrimental effect on the agency, keeping the air ways safe. i don't care where you in life or what you're doing, when you see someone who is doing something bad and it is not fixed, it is demoralizing. when you have maybe a group of people on the line doing one
thing and something happens and they get treated differently than the management, it is very demoralizing. i think that is clearly what we're seeing at the t.s.a.. today's hearing is intended to focus on the toll management challenges like this, take on t.s.a. employees. the tasks with protecting our transportation infrastructure. this brings us to our witnesses today who are here to discuss their own experiences with systematic management leadership challenges at the t.s.a. their testimony before this committee like all of their interactions with this committee is protected. it is against the law to retaliate against individuals for engaging in protective activity. it doesn't matter if we reach out to them or they reach out to us, and communications to the press about ways fraud and abuse also protected ways to bring mismanagement to the attention to those that are in a position o remedy it.
sometimes it doesn't matter how many protections you have in place. management and leadership of federal agencies find subtle ways to demean those who do nothing more than speak the uncomfortable truth. i want to be clear this committee will not stand for reprisal against individuals -- cooperating with investigation. this is especially true for today's witnesses. we appreciate the brave stature to come forward and at some risk come and chat with us before congress, but it is the way we're going to get to the truth. it is the way we're going to be able to protect the greater whole and i think the gentlemen that are here today will provide valuable insight and hopefully make the whole of government, the whole of the t.s.a., its vital mission a better place to do it. we thank these gentlemen for stepping forward and participating with us today. with that, i will now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. mr. cummings: today we hear the testimony of three employees
from the transportation security administration who allege a series of abuses and improper practices within that agency. whistleblowers are essential to dentifying ways based on the work conducted by this committee today protect employees who bring wrongdoing to light. i know chairman and i share a strong commitment to ensuring that federal employees who come before us are protected from retaliation and reprisal. equally important, we as members of the committee also have an obligation to run these allegations to the ground and determine if we can substantiate them. of course just as we want to protect whistle blowers from retaliation, i'm sure we all agree that we also want to
protect federal employees from claim s that are not substantiated. all three of these men who have stepped forward today for their willingness to testify and for he information that they provided in the transcribed interviews with staff, they have raised troubling allegations of improper personnel practices within t.s.a. all three have filed complaints with the office of special council through the equal employment opportunity process or in federal court. ach allegation we have heard deserves a thorough and fair investigation. i think these three individuals eserve that too. unfortunately, as we hold this hearing today, the committee has not yet had an opportunity to complete such an investigation.
in some cases, we have not spoken with those who have first hand knowledge of the allegations we have heard. we have also yet not heard from the t.s.a. regarding most of the allegations raised by these employees. i hope the committee will talk with all of the individuals involved and review all of the documents rell event to the issues -- we will discuss today. that is fairness and thoroughness. many of the allegations our witnesses today have raised were initiated under previous agency administrators. in some cases the allegations were resolved under previous administrators. it also appears that the current t.s.a. administrator, vice admiral peter neffenger has moved to address many of the practices that have been cited by the whistle blowers.
one of today's witnesses described this progress in his interview with the committee by saying and i quote, i think we have made tremendous progress with mr. neffenger. e added and quote, mr. neffenger has come in, i've heard nothing in terms of misconduct. end of quote. under administrator neffenger, .s.a. as issued new policies and clarified the membership and role of the executive resources council to tell the abuse and ensure directed reassignments are meant only to support agency goals. administrator neffenger has also moved to address the airport security lapses identified by
the inspector general and by the agency's own testing teams that we examine in this this committee's hearing last fall. he has ended the managed inclusion program that committed individuals who had not received background risk assessment to receive expedited screening and he has placed agency focus squarely on -- at screening checkpoints. neffenger testified before this committee last fall, he is and i quote readjusting the measurements of success and focusing on security rather than speed. end of quote. so i am pleased to see that his actions are beginning to show real progress. however, people may not want to hear this, but these actions are likely to slow lines at airports even further. things may get even worse if
t.s.a.'s workforce continues to be reduced. administrator neffenger recently estified that the t.s.a. has nearly 6,000 fewer transportation security officers in its workforce than it had four years ago. being asked to do more with less and that is indeed a problem. so i hope that our committee will continue to focus on holding t.s.a. accountable for completing essential reforms that we will provide him with the resources he needs to do his job. i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses today. i want to thank you all for be with us. mr. chairman, with that, i yield back. rep. chaffetz: we'll now recognize our witnesses. please welcome mr. brainard. federal security director for
the state of kansas in the office of security operations at the transportation security administration. mr. mark livington is the chief risk officer at the transportation security dministration and mr. andrew rhoades in the office of security operations at the t.s.a. we welcome you and thank you for eing here. if you will please rise and raise your right hand, do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. thank you. you may be seated. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion, we would appreciate if you would limit your verbal comment to five minutes. your entire written statement will be entered into the record. we will start with mr. brainard. you recognized for five minutes.
make sure you bring that microphone up nice and close. you can straighten it out but we want to make sure we get you clearly on audio. thank you, mr. brainard, you're now recognized. mr. brainard: chairman chaffetz ranking member cummings and members of the committee, i'm pleased to appear at the request of this committee today to discuss issues surrounding the transportation security administration. our business is a serious business. the national strategy to have united states of america is clear. defending our nation against all enemies both foreign and domestic is the first fundamental commitment of the federal government. when that commitment is in danger of being fulfilled it is incumbent upon those of us entrusted to ensure our national security to come forward and if necessary to report to you and to do so at whatever the cost may be. we are all here today for that purpose. while the new administrator of t.s.a. has made security a much-needed priority once again make no mistake about it, we remain an agency in crisis. t.s.a. remains in crisis as a result of poor leadership and
over sight poims, some of which have taken place over the last several years. some of which still serve in key positions within our agency today. our culture went into rapid decline after having gone unchecked by its leader and various agencies and committees responsible for that oversight and for that reason we continue to have a crisis in leadership and culture. t.s.a. chose in abundance people that were chosen not because they were time-tested leaders mature in leading people in large complex organizations but because they were liked or good at managing programs or progress. lacked many of these any security experience had never worked in the field of operation their entire veer. each federal agency's workforce response to is graded by its own people has declared repeatedly our agency has failed its employees year after year. we continue to have a culture problem in t.s.a. by an unwillingness to address
misconduct of senior executives combined with poor leadership and decision making, all of which have been the number one contributing factor of our security risks and have led to our poor performance. we have low morale and lack of trust people at all levels of the agency in the field and at headquarters have spent their time constantly looking over their shoulder when doing right thing. let me make one thing abundantly clear. this is not a t.s.a. headquarters issue. there are legion of decent people at our headquarters who are just as disgusted and concerned as i am sitting here today. this is and has always been a senior executive issue. a senior executive problem. i refer to those at the very top of the food chain. for years, we had many senior executives, most of which who completely lacked the experience for their position run amok and make decisions and conduct themselves
an unethical manner which eroded our abilities to complete the mission. ntil substantive change occurs, it will remain a position of cultural leadership. we still have some of those very same leaders in critical positions whose focus on attention and numbers first and leaves security and people last. in fact, many of the same people who broke our agency remain in key positions of influence even today. because of this, we continue to empower positional leaders fill a certain leadership vacancy. to be clear, they are not followed because they are leaders. subordinates follow these leaders out of fear whose only to anyone who opposes them. these leaders are some of the biggest bullies in government. as a result many people feel battered, abused and overworked. these positional leaders convince themselves they are liked by everyone and their decisions are accepted because there is almost no one left to question them. they regularly make decisions
regardless of the people affected by them. i know several people in key leadership position who is went along to get along, who regret having supported the agenda of those positional leaders. in an effort to clean up our agency, they instituted an agency-wide ethics training complete with a t.s.a. wall of shame. for the purpose of exposing a few bad apples in our agency and shaming them. to quote the message to, our people, one of the videos that everybody is required to see, people, we're better than his. that wall of shame has namors people who have been held to a completely different standard than the rest of the agency. not one person from our agency is glad to see any of us here today. those who have spoken up have een and continue to be targeted and victimized with the goal of running them out of federal service. complaints were buried and in many cases so were the complainers.
no significant consistency or action has been taken while the esults of our covert testing were made public last may, it was embarrassing and when it came time to address this problem, the people r who were really to blame never stepped ay response ability. instead they watched officers on the frontline get shamed head the truth is come officers did not fail had they did exactly what that gsa leadership demanded of them. for years, executive leadership moved further away from security and focused on reducing wait times. those federal security director's raised concerns had and one was the the the use of directed reassignment. when of my counterparts had a conversation with elevator responsible for the problems who indicated that they had developed a loyalty and were removing the directors on the list paid for those not familiar
intos goal forced people retirement. it is able to even without an agreement, they targeted specific deputies. thatnly thing wrong is they were devoid of reason. vacancy occurred and many of them are filled with under all five personnel -- under qualified personnel. waged autive leadership campaign against the federal circuit's directors and of the 157 original directors hired after 9/11 attacks, only five of us are the day. -- five of us are left today. if you hundred thousand dollars -- the public was outraged. had beenpent millions looking at the agenda on the website, the most support in part of why we are here, the challenges that were taken under the workforce had this only scratches the service.
those who do not look at history are doomed to repeat it. looking forward to a brighter future sounds good, but the reality is that leadership changes when there is a change of administration. if that happens and these continue to go unaddressed, those people will once again be off the leash. and what progress we have made will be in vain. we need the committee to take a serious look at the road ahead and make sure this never happens again. i will answer questions and provide insight based on experience. thank you for having me. that concludes my opening statement. mr. cummings: thank you. i am very pleased that mr. ofingston, a resident columbia, an area shared between my district and those represented by my distinguished colleague. knows him and he
has written a letter to express support for mr. livingston and to urge that the committee investigated claims. b --er consent that the that the v included. >> you are not recognized. members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you regarding the transportation security and ministration and issues of misconduct. whistleblower retaliation and the lack of accountability as it pertains to senior executives and their impact on the mission. i will share with you i have seen firsthand and is a member of the senior leadership team and as a victim of these practices, after reporting misconduct by top leaders. i am here because i believe that the tsa has many challenges, which is imposing failure on
their mission and could have serious consequences for the u.s. national security. it matters what leaders do and what they do not do. education leaders dollars -- scholars have stated that any organization is shaped by what the leader is willing to tolerate. in the tsa, that is yet to be identified, because people keep seeing examples of the worst behavior. not the transportation administration leadership. there seems to be no bottom to the field leadership of this -- abyss. the vast majority of the frontline employees truly care about the omission -- the mission of the agency. most do a great job. what you hear about is the 1% of failed leadership and that is why i am here. i am a career senior management executive and for the past 36 years i have served successfully in my prior roles. i am a disabled veteran.
through my adult life, we do not tolerate those who lie or cheat or steal. i am not a novice when it comes to the important matters we will discuss. beyond for decades of leadership experience, i bring a special viewpoint, my doctor of management focuses on research and expanded leadership within the field of organizational management. my field of study has been on crisis leadership and organizational crises. issues with technological consideration in the global environment, well considering a critical role of technology in all aspects of management has been a direct correlation to my executive leadership role at tsa. i am an expert in organizational integration. on the occasion of critical thinking skills and how to manage high-performance teams and how to evaluate organization credit i have held top secret clearance for many years of my service.
this is an important know, as i will be identified security incidences in violation have occurred at tsa and explain where they have failed to act properly. my career status is a good and i am in good at is with my agency and -- status with my agency and i am here by my own choice to inform you of challenges. i am relaying this information so that the committee may better understand my role at tsa. this is about the inability of tsa to focus on the mission due to the overwhelming complaints and personnel issues brought on by failed leadership. the refusal to address or hold senior leaders accountable is simply paralyzing the agency. the leadership imperative is missing at tsa. your role, you should be greatly alarmed and concerned, because tsa employees are less likely to report operational security threats for fear of retaliation.
nobody reports -- nobody who reports issues are safe. -- to respond to an evolving exploitnd are likely to opportunities to strike. this negates any operational improvement or process that prevents them from fulfilling the mission to protect the transportation system. and protect an economic well-being from threat. retaliation from senior leadership will move systematically as repeated by the media. this was provided to you in october of 2009. the exact same thing happened to me then and it has happened to other leaders. senior organization leaders use retaliation as a means to silence those who report club by security concerns or operational issues, forcing employees into resignation. no employee will be allowed to report issues when simple fraud
or reason for leaders to retaliate against employees. senior leaders appeared before congress and said that they would correct the behavior. they should be held to strict timelines. i would bet that you have heard this in the last six month, yet you continue to hear these. i would like the opportunity to thank my congressman and senator for the opportunity to represent me -- represent tsa. this is democracy at its best. >> mr. rose, you are now recognized. mr. rhoades: ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you regarding the use of punitive reassignment, retaliation, and the impact on security. directive reassignments have been used by leadership as a means to silence and force early retirement or resignation. senior leader misconduct and retaliation help explain why tsa under forms -- underperforms.
recently i was asked to pull files from numbers visiting my office. i will not do this, i am not -- additionally my supervisor accused me of will, going native. after attending a meeting at a local mosque. those in the community in minneapolis know i would never betray their trust by profiling them. this is not reflective of the entire government. if these problems are rooted in the air of leadership in culture, ours is a closure of misconduct, retaliation, lack of trust, coverups and the refusal to hold senior leaders accountable. eventually, my agency bypasses principles and the allocations of awards with hiring. simply put, we pick people. we elevate people in senior positions do not have the experience, character and ability to lead and manage a complex organization. the meteoritic rise of unqualified individuals corrects
itself only after subordinates and other employees suffer the consequences of poor leadership. there is a difference toward investigating legitimate complaints and moreover, my counsel employed a nondisclosure agreement to keep people silent about misconduct and malfeasance and the vicious cycle continues. while some of these issues predate the current administrator, i have an indirect communication with him and my chief counsel on all of these issues. some of them dating back to 2015. i have yet to receive a reply. directive reassignments, i am the only employee whose reassignment has been it accepted -- has been accepted. i was given the reassignment based on the belief that i was leaking information to the media and my professional and personal relationship with the former minneapolis st. paul security director, area director, chief operating officer and tsa acting administrator.
my agency was aware that i was a recent father of two wonderful children, but could not leave the state of minnesota unless i was willing to lose custody of those children. there is a financial price we pay for mismanagement. i estimate that the money saved by adding reassignments, mismanagement, and out-of-control bonuses for senior executives would likely find enough transportation officers to staff some of the largest airports in the nation. the most egregious example occurred with an assistant administrator. he sent provocative messages to a female. when questioned by an agent, he lied three times. the recommended penalty associate within a pistol -- with an official investigation's removal from service. they recommended that this assistant administrator be removed from service. instead, either the deputy or
acting tsa administrator ignore and thees of -- advice subject of this investigation is still employed at tsa. why is it acceptable for those employees to lie? in conclusion, the american public and congress should care about what happens in tsa, because senior leaders are mismanaging the agencies and our effectiveness is compromised. our culture is like animal house. while the relationship between our headquarters and to the field is best rejected -- shown in the series game of euros. game of thrones. if this was a private company, the entire leadership would have been removed, long ago. i think the committee for the opportunity to appear before you and i think -- thank the congressman and -- congresswoman
for her support. i think that we will always fall short in the band of excellence. we are in agency in dire need of oversight and the public deserves it. employees in tsa, they deserve leaders who value and treat them with respect. we can do better. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. i look forward to answering questions from you and other members of the committee. thank you. mr. chaffetz: we thank all three of the witnesses and we will turn to questions and i will be no the first round. all three of you are currently tsa employees, correct? all three of you have bravely come forward to talk about retaliation, about a toxic environment come about -- environment, about misconduct within the areas you have worked . what concerns me is that some of
it is historic, at least the first witness, the second witness, the third witness i heard say they believe it is still continuing. would you say that is the case? is it still going on? mr. rhoades: yes sir. mr. livingston: i would agree. mr. chaffetz: so that is very troubling. unfortunately, you concerned -- you have confirmed our worst suspicions. we have a bureaucracy in tsa. we have had about 42 screeners. that they i know cooked the books and moved positions to other agencies. but there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000-10,000 personnel, i know that there are 4000 in the d.c.
$100,000 ag over year on average. so they are well paid. i read stories of what they did to you. since we have begun, we have had dozens of others, forward throughout tsa, telling us that they have experienced similar misconduct. i am a little concerned. mr. mica: again, you tell me that the people who are the most abusive are still there. is that right? mr. brainard: what i have observed, i think that the prime minister has done his best to get his arm around the situation, but we have not resolved it. this comes from a high
level on the retaliation, it has taken place. i know that there have been memos and operational guidelines that have been revised, but folks are still in place. that have to be pretty demoralizing. mr. brainard: it is. i do not want to go into specific detail mode that they are subject to due process. the reality is, no -- even though they are so with the agency, they are still in those positions today. so we continue to have that issue. mr. mica: what concerns me is, the ability to perform now is also hindered. nothing -- nothing jury is -- neffinger is well intended, but poorof the leaks of performance, you sell cooking of the books and wait times, is that correct? mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. mica: that has been
documented. the failures of performance and the wait times, and retaliation for also, for the facts coming out. you know what to say that you revealed them, but those were the facts taking place and to some of you are blamed for that? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. mica: all three. i am concerned about what is taking place. ingerothing to her -- neff has tried to correct the situation. but tsa cannot recruit, retain, or schedule, and it cannot manage the huge bureaucracy that has been created. that is part of the problem and it will not be created. and those people on the line pull me aside, they said, see those three guys doing nothing. they are making over 100 grand and we are busting our tale
trying to process these people and they are having a good time. they are having a good sitdown chat and enjoying themselves. part of the tsa gets the name thousands, standing around, but these guys are sitting around and earning huge salaries while others are doing their work. the meltdown that is already occurring, my colleagues, here are a few of the headlines. , americanrdale airlines, 6800 people last month missed their flights. chicago, 1100 american airlines missed their flights. charlotte airport, three hours waiting on good friday. long lines cranking travelers. jfk, i meandenver,
-- we have not even gotten to the summer when you have a heavier traffic. you all know what i am talking about. i think we're heading for a rough time this summer. mr. brainard: i absolutely believe that is the case. i think it is important to point out that we are talking about personnel issues and we are talking about senior executives and the people still here. it goes beyond that. a lot of things you are reading in the paper, the $1.5 million, the same decision-makers. when you talk about moving security resources out of the airport, same decision-makers. us intoit back, putting quite a situation for summer, the same people who broke the agency are the same people who are essentially running it. and i will offer to you that in the results coming out, there was an effort in tsa and of that effort, there were wonderful
recommendations offered. i served as a senior advisor for a time of two months and the most important part of that survey, the most important part of the working group, was fixing security. and the second-most important part was fixing leadership. i do not think that message got back. mr. mica: did you want to say something? i will yield as much time to mr. cummings. mr. brainard: i can add a unique perspective. as a member of the senior leadership team, i sat in the office and at the table with other senior leaders as a deputy assistant and i can tell you that the administrator has brought a new perspective to the agency, he has hired a chief officer. he has the same people doing the same thing and dealing with the same problems. he has the right mindset and energy to change it, but he needs to put people in different positions. he will not get there with the same team. he has energy and focus to do
it, but he cannot do it with the same people. mr. mica: what you say is troubling. i will yield to mr. cummings. mr. cummings: gentlemen, i want to thank you for being here. these are serious allegations. and we definitely needed to have a thorough inquiry so we can hear all sides. i think you would agree. mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. cummings: you testified that you were removed from your position and basically that you are demoted. mr. livingston: that is correct. two great. mr. brainard: and you lost pay? mr. livingston: yes. mr. cummings: how much did you lose? mr. livingston: $10,000 a year and bonuses. mr. cummings: you said right at the end of your, so, you said that they did it right at the end of your one year probation?
mr. livingston: yes. mr. cummings: how close were you to the end of the time when they did this? mr. livingston: roughly 48 days. i had served for 17 months, because the secretary of homeland security had announced her retirement, they had frozen ,ll those being certified putting them into a new security at the time. i was in that position for a long time. both my agency, the bottom line was they removed me and investigated me and when i was clear, they do not reinstate the. they removed me because i had found my senior culpable for -- and i reported another one for sexual harassment, so after they removed me, i failed my probationary. y period. and they could not reinstate me.
mr. cummings: so, -- what do you think probationary period is for? mr. livingston: to evaluate performance. mr. cummings: as i understand, during that time you do not have certain rights, is that right? mr. livingston: that is correct. mr. cummings: like the ability to appeal? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: they basically demoted you, and they can promote as they want to and you do not have any adequate protection or due process during that time? mr. livingston: that is correct. mr. cummings: wow. you must have been upset. mr. livingston: considering i had gotten to metals and a great midterm, and another middle at the time, i was -- metal at the time, i was blindsided. mr. cummings: so you were asked if it would be easier for agencies to retaliate against employees, if probationary
periods where extended beyond one year and you said, yes? mr. livingston: i did. mr. cummings: you are asked also, given what happened to you, and you claim that tsa retaliated against you during your probationary period, would you support probationary periods that are longer than one year, and you said, quote, no? mr. livingston: in tsa, it has not worked. i have seen other agencies where it has. in my situation come i cannot see it working for two years. mr. cummings: there is a proposal that has been made with the committee. to extend the probationary period and to make it longer. that would mean that you could have been demoted, even if you worked there longer. do you think that is a good idea?
mr. livingston: that recommendation comes with other regulations that include a mentor and 60-90 day checkups. there is a process with that where you are informed as you go. i was blindsided. that recommendation would not allow that. mr. cummings: so maybe longer for whistleblowers like you, they would have fewer protections, and even longer tie you would oppose it? mr. livingston: the whole point is to help the government, not the individual. if it was not balanced, it would not work. quality is the issue and tsa has not showed that quality. they have not acted in good faith. you agreegs: so, do with that? do you oppose having a longer probationary period, where
whistleblowers like you would have protection? mr. rhoades: i think the problem that is plaguing the agency is the fact that we have policies, but we do not follow them. we have leaders that abuse their power of authority. in general terms, if we had ethical leaders, we could make the probationary period 10 years, it would not matter. they would do the right thing. but as mr. livingston stated, with as much retaliation, as much as you need to be in an inner circle, i would not supported. mr. cummings: and then? mr. brainard: i do not care. as long as there is checks and balances. you have to have engaged leadership that will follow the performance of the individual. if the person is not performing, you need to give them a plan to be successful. as long as there is a structured process in place and to make a
determination if they will be a good fit, it does not matter how long it is. mr. cummings: so you have a sayingon where, you are no matter who is at the top, you have people who have been there, most people have been there for a while. mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: did he want to say something? mr. livingston: i was going to answer the question. mr. cummings: let me say something. no matter who you have at the time, you have folks underneath, many of them have been around for as long as tsa has been around, am i right? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: are these people easily identifiable? is it easy to know who they are? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: and so they inger can, so mr. neff put out whatever mandates or
rules, to correct it. correct the situation is, generally. unless you have these folks cooperating, it is still not going to be resolved? is that a fair statement? mr. livingston: my perspective is, they are going to wait him out to see if he will stick through and they are not giving him an honest shake. a career professional would support him no matter how long he would be there, a day or 10 years. he is not getting a fair, honest national shake. if i can say to that, when you're talking about the whole of tsa, 50,000 employees and you get to the leadership component, that is smaller. theyou get to the crux of problem, we are talking about a handful of people who manage to maintain power and have escaped responsibility. mr. brainard: some have departed
with a golden parachute or a private lucrative offer. we are talking about a handful of people. a number of people who understand what they do, a number of people on the front line who are outstanding. we are talking about a small number of people for whatever reason i cannot explain, who managed to hold onto power and they are the worst abusers in the agency and they are still there and nothing is being done about that. i do not know to what the current -- extent to the current demonstrators is able to do his job. mr. chaffetz: the gentleman from tennessee. mr. duncan. mr. duncan: i have an article that talks about the $336,000 that tsa paid for producing an app. it says, when an app is not much more than he read them number generator, it is hard to imagine how it could cost that much, but
it is typical of government spending. i understand from the staff that you once recommended an analysis that another employee refers -- refused to do and ended up spending $12 million on a project that should have cost $3 million. will you tell us about that. and any other examples of a huge waste that you have seen on your watch. mr. brainard: yes, sir. when i came on, we did a transformation. allocatedt, we had $3.5 million to do this transformation. and because there is no alternative of analysis completed, it was not managed properly. signaturea 60-90 day completed and it was not done properly. the wrong equipment was ordered, it did not work. we had to do it over and it cost
three times the amount. even today, if you look at the board, there is about $500,000 worth of equipment in a box in the office and there should be about 12 people working and there are only about five people working. it is a waste of money. it may not sound like a lot when you look at the big picture, it is wasting almost $9 million. that is a lot of money. and i think the taxpayers would be upset to know that t.s.a. wasted that money. mr. duncan: it may not sound like much for those in the federal government, but i can tell you that it sounds like a lot to the average person out there when you waste -- pay $12 million for something that should have cost $3 million. do either of you, mr. rhoades, mr. brainard, have you seen examples of waste in your positions? mr. brainard: yes, sir. in minneapolis we built a regional headquarters for a
regional director that had no intentions of coming to minneapolis. he stayed in michigan. and throughout that whole process as i worked with the office of real estate, i would identify why are we spending $300,000 on an office space that this regional director has no intention of coming to? mr. rhoades: we are in the process right now of minneapolis changing that, but we are going to spend more money to revamp that office for coordination center where we should have done that at the beginning. we identified that years ago. i identified that years ago, but what happens is when you make suggestions like that, they move around you or you get cut out of the meeting and you're not consulted anymore. so -- we have already spent $300,000 on this office space, and we are going to spend, i don't know, $150,000, potentially more, when we should have done that up front. it's gross mismanagement. mr. duncan: the easiest thing in the world is to spend other people's money. mr. brainard? mr. brainard: i'd like to
comment on the app you just mentioned. i have to tell you that's one of , the strongest indicators of the mentality we have. not only of the feeling they are bankrolled pretty much do whatever they want no matter how silly it seems. but when this story came out about the app, you find out it's no better than chance. i put together this ouija board. it has expedited screening on it. and standard screening here at the bottom which would have been just as effective as that app and would have cost a lot less. you could have the same type of outcome with a quarter, flipping a quarter. and -- mr. duncan: i understand there have been other software developers who for fun have created a similar app, almost no cost, and to pay $336,000 to i.b.m. was a total rip-off it seems to me. mr. brainard: i also do app development as well. i can tell you that it does not take a lot of thought to do what they did. mr. duncan: dr. livingston.
mr. livingston: i wanted to make a comment for the record. i pointed out that fraud, waste, and abuse and i was told to let it go. and i also made a point of saying that this was a lot of money and it was wasteful. and nobody took any action. mr. duncan: let me mention one other thing since my time is running out. mr. rhoades, i understand you think the wait times to -- at minneapolis airport have been falsified, is that correct? have you heard about that happening at other locations, too? mr. rhoades: i cannot comment specifically on the locations. i can comment on minneapolis. in 2013 we received what's called a federal security director office of inspection. basically a health check. on page 18 of 40, which i provided to this committee, a supervisor at the checkpoint had identified that he or she, it doesn't give his or her gender, had expressed some frustrations that the wait times that they submit up for was being changed
by management. i can tell you at the minneapolis-st. paul airport, the airport police has at times begun to tabulate wait times. think of that. we are expending police resource s at our airports to check on t.s.a. reporting our wait times. and as recently as last month, the airport is investing in some sort of automated wait time calculations. that would indicate, sir, that they don't trust the numbers that we are reporting. mr. duncan: thank you very much. >> the gentlelady from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, you are recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you very much. and thank you gentlemen for being here. i want to ask one question, i think it was you, mr. brainard, who said there were only a handful of really bad administrative level people. a lot of others have left. you said there is only a handful. is that 10, 12, 5?
mr. brainard: less than 20. i do not know the precise number. only the people i deal with in my world. i don't speak -- strictly as an operations. i don't speak for the office of law enforcement, global strategies, or human capital. there are some different divisions women the t.s.a. -- within t.s.a. i can only speak to what i know. operations has the largest piece of the pie. mrs. watson coleman: i'll pay better attention to your organizational chart because i'm confused where people are located. i will do that. dr. livingston, you wrote in a statement you submitted for the record today, and i quote, today t.s.a. lacks the senior leadership courage to make the necessary changes so that the agency can accomplish its mission. right? mr. livingston: i did. ms. coleman: now in your transcribed interview with committee staff you stated the following about the -- the following about administrative messenger, i give him all due credit for being probably one of the smartest people in d.h.s. and he is the right guy to lead t.s.a., is that accurate?
mr. livingston: yes. mrs. watson coleman: you also stated pete neffenger has stood up and said this is what we need to do but he is the only voice. why is admiral neffenger the right guy to lead t.s.a.? what has administrator neffenger said that needs to be done? mr. livingston: when i was the deputy administrator i sat next to him. i know him to be an intellectual, i know him to be a leader. when he was the vice admiral of the coast guard, he spoke truth to power. he speaks with authority. i think he's a man of integrity. what i don't think is he has the support and cast around him. if you think of it as a sports analogy, he can't play every position on the field. i think he has good intentions for t.s.a. i think he needs the support and cast to help him. i think all of you have heard him here when he's testified. i think he speaks honestly. i think is he well intended. but what i think he needs is the people around him to buy into
what he's doing. he has since hired a chief operating officer to come in and help him. that is one example of him trying to get things right. mrs. watson coleman: you also stated in your transcribed interview, again i quote, here's the thing, the work force is waiting out mr. neffenger because they think the elections are coming. having worked in state government at various levels, i know what it is for people to wait for leadership to come in and wait for leadership to come out and they say we were here when you got here, we'll be here when you leave. are you speaking of those individuals that have some kind of -- i'm going to use this as a generalized term, civil service protection that can't be moved that are representing the most difficult element to deal with
and work with? mr. livingston: ma'am, my intentions with that comment was to admit the middle management and the senior level leadership hasn't provided the necessary leadership to support the administrator to let it be known that they bought in that no matter how long he's there, whatever he has said, should be carried out. i don't think there's the necessary buy-in to carry out what he's advised and directed to be done. whether he's there a day or four years, once he decrees it, it should be carried out regardless of the time frame. that was my intent. ms. coleman: can you share some of the things you think need to be institutionalized under his leadership that would help this agency as it may transition ingenuity -- transition into new leadership? mr. livingston: i think he has come out specifically and when he has weekly meetings, he says he is interested in five things. how well we are doing with the pre-check, the acquisitions, he wants to know what we are doing
with the budget, how we are doing -- he is very clear where he is going. he is specific and i can provide you information very clearly. ms. coleman: i appreciate that. i yield back. >> mr. meadows? mr. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony here today, for your willingness on behalf of the american people to speak up. we know that it does not come without risk, and i for one am committed to making sure all of our federal employees are treated fairly and certainly when we see retaliation, it is troubling. dr. livingston, when i hear some of your testimony, i always watch the audience and i see people nodding their head yes or shaking their head that they can't believe these kind of things are happening. let me just make sure that i'm
clear. during your probationary period, were there areas that you were able to appeal to other -- like the special counsel, did you appeal some of the decisions or could you have appealed to those? mr. livingston: sir, the rule from o.p.m., they have the right to terminate you and there's no recourse. the problem is i was never told one time either written or verbal to adjust. what i do have is a record of 96 emails saying great job. what i do have is a mid term saying great job. there was no indication there was ever a problem. i was told on a monday, great job over the weekend working for the white house. i was told tuesday, you're being nominated for an award and i was told thursday, you're done. mr. meadows: so now you do have a claim currently with o.s.c.,
is that correct? mr. livingston: yes, sir, i have a petition with o.s.c. mr. meadows: how about from an e.e.o. standpoint? mr. livingston: i have filed a lawsuit and an e.e.o. mr. meadows: you have those two appeals, i guess, sitting out there or at least request at this particular point. i just wanted to make sure that's clear, in addition to this probationary period you've actually filed in those two areas, is that correct? mr. livingston: it is the first time for me, sir, in 36 years that i have. mr. meadows: no. and that's fine. when injustice happens or that perceived injustice, certainly we want to make sure that that -- that you are given the right to appeal. so let me go further because part of this is a federal employee mismanagement issue, but the american taxpayers probably are not as in tuned to that as much as the safety and security of air travel. is it your testimony, dr. livingston, that this mismanagement is affecting the safety and security of americans?
mr. livingston: sir, it's my testimony today that we have nonintel professionals running your office of intelligence and analysis. mr. meadows: so nonintel running the office of intelligence. alright. mr. brainard, is it your testimony here today that the lack of sufficient management practices within t.s.a. is putting americans at risk? mr. brainard: mr. meadows, i would say that's the case. let me quantify that. when i talk about the lack of experience in positions, right now this summer we are going into what they call a very challenging season, and we are looking at situations in these airports where they have recently pulled out the management inclusion aspect of expedited screening. that is a very small part of that whole process and package
and because they have done that, we're going to have this problem. the problem alone with that is the fact that plan a was to put that in place, but nobody sat down and put a plan b in place if they had to pull any one or those options off the table. in this business, you need to understand continuity of operations, and it's very clear to me just on that alone, they didn't have a continuity of operation. that's detrimental to our security. additionally, when you are talking about security at the airport, you're talking about things like this app, this randomizer. there are stories out there week about a proposal that existed precurrent administrator about not screening passengers on flights out of airports. to me that speaks in and of itself the level -- mr. meadows: so your testimony is that correcting this situation is of the highest priority for the security of the american traveler, is that correct? mr. brainard: absolutely. mr. meadows: so let me finish in the last few seconds. i was at dulles a few weeks back visiting with customs and border
protection as we looked at the whole vetting of visa overstays and exit of the country. in there they indicated that t.s.a. doesn't check all the background areas of potential workers so they can be on a terrorist watch list, they could have other backgrounds and that we're not systematically checking all the backgrounds, resources that we have at our disposal, is that correct, dr. livingston? and i yield back to the chairman. mr. livingston: sir, let me research and get back. i am not exactly sure about that. i think but i don't want to mislead you, but i can find out. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. i yield to ms. kelly.
ms. kelly: thank you. mr. rhoades, you told committee staff after march 1, 2015, no one has told you that they believe wait times are being falsified, is that correct, is that what you said to the committee staff? mr. rhoades: ma'am, i described to the committee staff march 1, 2015, i was aware of an incident in minneapolis where a manager was in our coordination center. he was counting the wait times of the people in the check pount point line and he was pulled away. he counted 18 minutes. a new manager came in and she counted somewhere around five but we reported 18. ms. kelly: so is that a yes? mr. rhoades: that's as best as i can tell is march 1, 2015. but as i stated earlier, ma'am, when the airport police start having police officers count your wait time, it's an indication of trust and so i would maybe look at that as the measurement that when police
organizations at airports are starting to count the wait times of your checkpoint security queue, something's wrong. ms. kelly: so you don't know? mr. rhoades: i don't have the information, ma'am. ms. kelly: the preliminary results conducted by the department of homeland security's inspector general leaked to the press. the inspector general made findings that according to the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, and i quote, we're completely unsatisfactory. in response to the results secretary johnson ordered t.s.a. , to implement the 10-point plan. mr. brainard, are you aware of these findings? mr. brainard: i am, ma'am. ms. kelly: as part of the ongoing efforts to complete the 10-point plan and resolve security vulnerabilities, administrator neffenger worked to address what he identified as a, quote, disproportionate focus on efficiency and speed in
screening operations rather than security effectiveness. to that end, administrator neffenger testified before this committee that he has provided new training to, quote, every transportation security officer and supervisor to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the o.i.g. test. mr. brainard, has your staff received this training? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: you discussed the impact this training has had on the performance of the screener work force during your transcribed interview with the staff. you stated, while the management essentials training has obviously improved our situation in terms of how they conduct their jobs, the thoroughness, i mean, there have been improvements in terms of -- i think -- without seeing any test results, the detection capabilities, is that correct? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: administrator neffenger has refocused the screener work force with alarms at checkpoints and he testified,
quote, readjusting the measurements -- he's readjusting the measurement of success to focus on security rather than speed. when you spoke with committee staff, you were asked whether under administrator neffenger there had been, and i quote, new emphasis on resolving the alarm and you said, and i quote, absolutely, is that correct? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: what is the importance of resolving alarms at the checkpoint? mr. brainard: ma'am, making sure that our people are thorough, you know, the job that an officer does is certainly the most important job in t.s.a. and one of the hazards of that job is when you're constantly dealing with people all day and the routine is the same, it's very easy to get laxed in procedure. and so part of the training, and i use the word culture and i really mean that, is to improve our culture, to make sure people understand the importance of resolving the alarm versus just clearing the passengers and letting them go. also, part of that was to explain limitations of equipment that we had. these are all things that came out of the tiger team effort. there's some great stuff that
happened. certainly since mr. neffenger has been in, there's been a shift to security and trying to get the pendulum to go back to strike the balance. i will offer to you this, a lot of things that happened happened prior to this administration. those testing results, those aren't new. they may have been released but the previous administration knows what our performance was and they still implemented a number of different programs and processes which in my opinion did not help our security situation. i've talked with the committee staff members about some other security concerns which have happened. all those things took place when they knew, they knew what the testing results were. as a federal security director i see the testing results within my a.l.r. i see the results within the state of kansas. what i didn't see prior to that was everybody else's. but the leadership steam did. -- team did. ms. kelly: what is the nature and impact of t.s.a. staffing shortages and the amount of time
after you answer? mr. brainard: that's a very good question and i could sit here for the next 20 minutes and talk about it. i know they won't let me do that. so let me just say the most important aspect to this is. when we are not properly staffed it causes our people to be under a lot more stress. now, regardless of how much mr. neffenger or myself or supervisors preach the importance of resolving the puts pressure on security officers. additionally, when you look at the media, you have airports screaming to go privatized. if it's one thing that puts pressure of a federal employee of 13 years is the threat of privatization. that's one thing that is absolutely at the forefront of their mind and you can't focus on the security mission when they're focused on their job security. i give mr. neffenger credit. he is bearing the news to the public. you remember the day after
thanksgiving, that's going to be every day this summer. and so it's important for us to make sure that we reassure our officers that regardless of the fact that somebody's going to have to wait a few extra minutes, we still have their back and we have an administrator who fully supports that and that is part of the culture he's established with t.s.a. that's a very difficult job. it's certainly not the most popular job, and we certainly appreciate it. mr. rhoades: mr. chairman, may i add one thing? mr. mica: yes. mr. rhoades: we keep talking about the failures at the checkpoint and candidly i think it's insulting to t.s.o.'s because the leaders are what put the t.s.o.'s in that environment and so, yes, they got a difficult mission. yes, we need to resource them. but let's not forget the fact that the people who brought us to the dance of those the failures of the detection rate are still in leadership positions. and what training did they get? so, again, we're deflecting the problem on the t.s.o.'s, but we're not really talking about all the people in leadership positions who brought them to the dance.
mr. mica: i now yield to mr. walberg. mr. walberg: mr. livingston, we've been talking about failure at all levels, training, morale, etc., and the consistent terrible rankings that d.h.s. has. what do you think it's going to take to instill a meaningful change in employee morale? mr. livingston: accountable leadership that gets results that's consistent and that is honest because right now there's no trust. mr. walberg: accountable leadership, go back to that. what does that mean? mr. livingston: well, right now the value on conformity and silence is greater than integrity and innovation. if we don't have an agile agency that's more focused on the threat and making security the priority, you're not going to get an agency that's going to be agile.
and right now the agency is supposed to be working on the threat. and right now we're more worried about conformity and silence. i tell you if you don't build trust with the work force you're never going to make the morale better. mr. walberg: so the results that we're talking about today are not a surprise to you? mr. livingston: not in the least bit, sir. mr. walberg: mr. brainard, we've heard of senior positions being filled with unqualified staff, untrained staff, specifically individuals with little or no management or security experience. can you share your experience in this regard, specifically whether you know of any efforts on the agency to address this issue? mr. brainard: well, let me give you another example, and there are several. in 2013 an active shooter opened fire at the los angeles airport, killed one of our officers, wounded two, wounded a total of seven people. in response to that some of our senior leaders, these folks who have a questionable background and certainly lack the security experience necessary, all got together and decided to
standardize a checkpoint panic alarm system and the purpose of the alarm was to press it if there is an imminent threat. so our people could have protection at the quickest opportunity. so of the 450 airports where they installed those, some 710-plus checkpoints, they installed those alarms. that is great. that's a good security move. they are all covert security alarms. they have an auto dial that calls the police department. if you have a law enforcement standing there. and a come towards the checkpoint chasing people with a machete, if that officer wouldn't have been there, several people would have been hurt or killed there. how can you install 700 alarms and forget to put an audible alarm? we installed the audible alarm in our hub in wichita. we put out the specs nationwide. that in and of itself, when you're talking about the changes they put into these airports, i mean the rationale behind some , of this stuff make makes no -- absolutely makes no sense from
standpoint. the motto is from the previous administration, there's never been a risk i wasn't willing to accept. it's like dealing with a financial investor. you give a financial investor $100,000 of your money and he or she will do things with it they would never do with their own, that's one example of the logic that goes in and the thought process that goes in. one of my counterparts took a survey over a period of five months with calls that we have with t.s.a. leadership prior to mr. neffenger's arrival and over a five-month period there were 147 topics discussed. not one of them was security related. they may have talked about playbook or they may have talked about some security aspect but it is always the metric driving it. it was a running joke. this is the priority of that leadership. mr. walberg: let me jump to another point here. can you walk us through the process that t.s.a. engages when they are evaluating a potential new hire? mr. brainard: at which level, sir? mr. walberg: new hire at
management level specifically, what's the process t.s.a. walks through? mr. brainard: well, it varies, sir. you have with officers there is , an online assessment. as a federal security director, i don't get a lot of insight into that. at the administrative level, posting it on u.s.a. jobs and the executive resource council at t.s.a. headquarters. the administrator is involved in that decision. it varies with different components. mr. walberg: ok. mr. rhoades, complaints to leadership at t.s.a. going unacknowledged, ignored, etc., have you ever heard justification for these complaints not being accepted or reviewed? mr. rhoades: no, sir, there's no logical explanation for that. mr. walberg: what explanations have been given? mr. rhoades: precisely, none. no contacts, no email.
-- nuts.re not hey, that's a good idea, nothing. mr. walberg: so it just happens and allowed to answer? mr. rhoades: i can't answer that. the only thing i can answer, sir, i have not been contacted. that's all i can answer. mr. walberg: thank you. i yield back. mr. mica: the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch. mr. lynch: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for your helping the committee with this work today. in my previous life i was a union steward and a union president and then later on a labor lawyer practicing labor law on behalf of unions. i'm just curious, when i was a steward on the work side, when i had employees that were being treated unfairly, i would take it on myself. that was my job. i would deal with management and make sure people were being treated fairly. that way my workers weren't continually banging heads with management, it was me and, you know, i enjoyed that work but a lot of people don't.
would it be helpful at all in your workplace if you had somebody like that that you could go to? i know that there is a signatory representative in the workplace, but you do not have, you don't have -- you don't have full bargaining rights and all the rights that the other federal employees have so you don't have those. would that be helpful? mr. rhoades: sir, i'd like to answer that. i'd like to first answering by -- answer this by saying my a.f.g. from minnesota is in attendance in support of this testimony. mr. lynch: great. mr. rhoades: i think the fact that she's supporting me talking about mismanagement in my agency is a powerful signal hopefully to my agency. i'll start off by saying this. my a.f.g. in minneapolis, the management wanted to fire this person because he made a mistake. and when i looked at the table of penalties, it was excessive. so what i did is what's called
the designated grievance official is i reversed it, i eliminated it. we had a great conversation in my office and i owned the decision. and like i said, as long as you have ethical leaders willing to do the right thing and not be coerced from the top it could work. but it requires ethical but it requires ethical leadership, sir. mr. lynch: no, i understand it. mr. rhoades: totally off topic, i grew up in massachusetts. mr. lynch: we'd know how you would vote anyway so we do it on your behalf. mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. lynch: i don't want to spend a lot of time on that. what do you think, mr. livingston? mr. livingston: sir, the most important thing about t.s.a. is the people.
the people and the mission. if you don't make the two match, t.s.a.'s never going to get better. we've got a great leader but it's getting lost in translation. mr. lynch: look, i got to tell you i'm very happy to hear about neffenger and he's been before this committee. he's a frequent flier and he's trying to put -- frequent flyer and he's trying to put -- look, checkpoints are very important. all you got to do is if you google checkpoint bombings or checkpoint attacks, you look at what happened in brussels, you know. you look at what happened at the airport checkpoint, at the rail checkpoint, you know, suicide bombers detonating at both of those. look at paris outside the stadium where president hollande was watching the game teens france and germany, those suicide bombers hit up the checkpoint. what happens at the checkpoints is incredibly important. we have need to have a whole different strategy. that's been the focal point of
all these attacks. you know, and i'm not calling out my t.s.a. screeners, but, you know, as the -- as the ranking democrat on the national security subcommittee, i go to those classified briefings and i saw what the inspector general did, you know, sending people through with ace bandages with knives or a gun strapped to their leg and i got to tell you about 90% of those folks got through. these are major airports in our country. i'm not looking to place the blame on any particular aspect of this but that is unacceptable. so we got to work together. mr. neffenger has said he's going to go back and redesign this whole thing so we'll do a better job with that. i cannot not criticize when we have a 90% failure rate. so that's got to change. but i'm -- we get a lot of turnover. we get a lot of turnover and i think some of that is related to
the fact we don't -- the way we treat our employees, you know, this ought to be a profession. these folks are doing an incredibly -- are doing incredibly important work. people yell about protecting our borders. well, that screener at that airport, that is your border. we got to make sure that those employees have the protections and the rights to be able to do their job. and one of the things i'm concerned about -- and this is what i want to ask you about. my concern from a national security standpoint is whether or not those passengers are screened efficiently. the airline priority is moving people through that checkpoint and getting so many people -- that's why you got these people being timed. your screeners being timed on how many -- what's the wait time on getting these people through? if anybody who travels -- and we all travel regularly, you got to get there a little earlier, you got to adjust your schedule in case you do have, you
know an alert or something like that at the airport and we want our screeners to do a damn good job. so the priority has to be safety and security and what's going on at that checkpoint. it can't be the airline needs to move product, needs to move people through that. so what do you think is winning out today between those two priorities, effective screening or moving passengers, what's the priority that's prevailing today in our nation's airports? mr. livingston: sir, i don't speak for the agency but i can tell you we're not going to compromise security for speed. i can tell you that we're going to balance it. i'd tell you that t.s.a. is not going to compromise our mission to expedite passengers through at the expense of our mission. what we're going to do is we're going to get better. we're going to keep pushing precheck. we're going to keep pushing through a better process. mr. neffenger has made it a priority. there is a day that doesn't go at t.s.a. that this isn't a priority.
i can tell you every single senior leader he talks to at t.s.a., this is the topic of discussion. i don't want you to think that it's not a priority. mr. lynch: ok. mr. livingston: i got to go back to the original point i made. he needs the right team to do it. mr. lynch: sure. mr. brainard: i work in a field operation and i'm responsible for everything in the state of kansas. i was at maine last year. iowa 10 years. indiana before that. i can tell you there is a stereotype that they care about customer service. that's not accurate. there are a number of airlines who partner with t.s.a. successfully every day. there are a number of airports who partner with t.s.a. successfully every day. we are the only entity that deals with three constants -- departures, arrivals, connections. and when we're not doing our job as efficiently or effectively as we can, they have the right to be upset about that and we need to find a solution. the problem we have right now is the previous leadership team oversaw -- that oversaw t.s.a. put in a plan a without a plan b. ife