ICYMI: Chairman Johnson Asks TSA for Solutions on Passenger Screening and Insider Threats

WASHINGTON — The government has “a long way to go” to address long security lines plaguing travelers at the nation’s airports, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) learned Tuesday as he questioned a federal watchdog overseeing the problem.

The panel Johnson chairs, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Tuesday looked into problems with airport security. Johnson asked Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth whether the Transportation Security Administration is working to correct many of the problems plaguing the agency, such as long lines at airports and insider threats from airport workers.

Johnson asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of critical assessment, we’ve gone from what to what, in terms of improvement?”

VIDEO: Click here to watch Chairman Johnson’s remarks.

Roth replied, “I mean we have gone from night to day. … We have a number of challenges — I will not underestimate it. With regard to the checkpoint and the covert testing, there’s a 23-point plan that TSA has put into place. We are generally satisfied with the progress they are making. It is by no means complete. But there are issues not just at the checkpoint, there are issues with regard to TSA as a contract administrator, for example. There are issues as far as TSA as a regulator with local airports, how well are they regulating the local airports. We have considerable concerns about insider threat.”

Johnson responded, “From the standpoint of taking the first step in solving a problem, admitting we have one, we’ve really taken that step.  But in terms of actually solving the problem, you would say we have got a long way to go?”

Roth replied, “That’s correct. We didn’t get into this overnight and we aren’t going to get out of it. 

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger agreed, saying, “We’ve made some substantial progress in just really enumerating what some of these issues are, but these are issues that will take some time to correct.”

Click here for Chairman Johnson’s opening remarks.

To watch the full hearing click here.

Click here for witness testimony.