WASHINGTON, DC– Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins and Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman, are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to issue an unclassified version of the recently submitted National Strategy for Transportation Security (NSTS). The Intelligence Reform law, which was authored by Senators Collins and Lieberman, required DHS to develop a National Transportation Strategy by April 1, 2005. After months of delay, the plan was released late last week, but in classified form, which is of little use to many transportation system owners and operators, both public and private, whose actions are to be guided by this strategy.
In addition, the Committee will hold a hearing next week on mass transit security in the United States and the lessons learned from the recent attacks in London, for which the strategy would provide valuable insight.
The text of the letter that Senators Collins and Lieberman sent to Secretary Chertoff is as follows:
September 15, 2005
The Honorable Michael Chertoff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Chertoff:
We are writing to urge that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issue an unclassified version of the recently submitted National Strategy for Transportation Security (NSTS). As you know, DHS recently sent the NSTS, required under Section 4001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), to the Committee in a classified format. While we commend the Department for producing a first submission, albeit long overdue, we are concerned that the NSTS cannot be reviewed by those most affected by its strategic guidance because of the document’s classified status. Key partners in transportation security, namely state, local and tribal governments and system owners and operators, are unable to access the document outlining their responsibilities and roles.
Congress gave the Department the flexibility to submit the strategy “separately in a classified format,” should any part be classified. However, the NSTS was envisioned not only as an internal plan for Federal government actions, but also as a guide for the vast number of transportation system stakeholders. In addition, Section 4001 of IRTPA specifically requires that the NSTS set forth the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders within the national transportation system as agreed upon by those stakeholders. In order to ensure the statutory requirements have been met, we must hear from those stakeholders. Unfortunately, those individuals do not have access to the key document.
On September 21, we are holding a hearing on mass transit security where Assistant Secretary Hawley and others will testify. If possible, we would appreciate transmission of an unclassified version before the hearing.
Susan M. Collins Joseph I. Lieberman
Chairman Ranking Member