Legislation to Enhance Airport Security Introduced
By Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief HSToday
Special for In Homeland Security
Two bipartisan bills to enhance airport security measures and ensure funding is spent in a cost-effective manner by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), a former 20-year prosecutor who is the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security.
The legislation comes on the heels of the subcommittee’s hearing last week on airport access control measures in response to several alarming security incidents, including the December 23, 2014 arrest of a Delta baggage handler at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for gun smuggling the FBI called a “serious security breach.”
“Threats to our nation’s transportation systems are constantly evolving, and it is critical that Congress act to preempt catastrophes at our nation’s airports by strengthening security protocols in the most cost-effective manner possible.” Katko said. “My subcommittee hearing … stemmed from security breaches in which loaded firearms were brought onto commercial airplanes by employees with airport access privileges. In light of that hearing, these bills provide a thoughtful response to create safer airports across our country by improving upon nationwide security protocols and facilitating commonsense TSA reform to save taxpayer dollars.
At the subcommittee’s hearing, witnesses from the airport and airline industries, TSA and FBI were questioned about potential ways to bolster access control measures to deter and prevent future security breaches, including 100 percent employee screenings, increased random screenings, expanding the list of disqualifying crimes for employees and more frequent criminal history records checks.
The TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act (HR 719), which was referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security would require Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General to analyze the data and methods that the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Transportation Security uses to identify TSA law enforcement officer and criminal investigators and to provide relevant findings to the assistant secretary, including regarding whether the data and methods are adequate and valid.
Read the full article at HSToday.
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