Sen. Warner: Burger Joints Have Better Background Checks Than TSA

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 07:52 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the Transportation Security Administration's ability to keep travelers safe and prevent terrorism attacks, citing recent incidents that included a teenager who scaled a fence at a California airport and stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaii-bound jet.

The TSA, which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, annually screens about 640 million travelers and 1.5 billion bags on domestic and international flights leaving U.S. airports.

Several incidents, including a shooting in November at Los Angeles International Airport that left one TSA official dead, have put the agency under close scrutiny from lawmakers, the public and the transportation industry.

The recent stowaway case happened just weeks after the TSA inspected the San Jose International airport, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and declared it to be in compliance with its security systems.

"If a 15-year-old can do this, who else can do this? What if it was someone else with an explosive that got on that plane?" Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, asked TSA Administrator John Pistole, who testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Lawmakers also questioned the agency's employee security clearance system, which may have been a factor in the killing of a Navy security officer at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia in March.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, noted that the shooter, truck driver Jeffrey Savage, used his TSA-issued Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC) to gain access to the station, although he had a history of criminal offenses.

Once issued, the TSA expects TWIC-cleared employees to self-report any criminal incidents, a system that lawmakers said risks giving criminals access, as was the case in the Naval Station shooting.

"DHS (Department of Homeland Security) officials have told us that job applicants in the fast-food industry typically undergo a more robust background check than applicants for a TWIC card," Warner said.

Pistole said the TSA is continually working to improve the way it protects travelers and to train its workers, but needs Congress to clear funding for some programs.

"We could require airports to do much, much more, but the question is who pays for that," he said.

Since the TSA was formed, there has not been any successful terrorism incident carried out on U.S. airlines. Even so, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the committee, said the recent security breaches underscore the need to continually reevaluate and improve the agency's security measures.

"The looming question now is whether Congress is ready to give up its stubborn hold on resources the TSA needs to meet its mission," Rockefeller said.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Newt Gingrich: Sony Hack Is America's First Cyberwar Defeat

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:43 PM

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the release of the movie "The Interview" in th . . .

Obama Commutes Sentences of 8 Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:31 PM

President Barack Obama is cutting short the sentences of eight federal drug offenders, including four who were set to di . . .

MLK III: It's 'Insanity' to Say 'Kill the Cops'

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:03 PM

Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights icon, told Fox News on Wednesday that he doesn't think most of the peopl . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved