U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today expressed his disappointment with the Transportation Security Administration for the agency’s unsatisfactory answers over the inadvertent posting of sensitive security information on a government Web site.
Congressman Dent articulated his concerns during a hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection, on which he serves as Ranking Member. Subcommittee Members received testimony from Gale Rossides, the Acting Administrator of TSA, regarding the accidental yet regrettable disclosure of the agency’s ‘Aviation Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures.’
“TSA’s mistake has undoubtedly weakened our aviation security,” Congressman Dent said. “While I understand that people make mistakes, my review of this incident over the course of the past week has led me to one simple conclusion — this was not the failure of an individual, but rather the failure of a system.”
The Acting Administrator asserted that the released document was effectively rendered obsolete by several substantive changes reflected in the current version. The Ranking Member and other Subcommittee Members have been requesting that TSA provide the most current version of the breached standard operating procedure in accordance with federal law since December 8th. To date, TSA has refused to give Congress the document.
“President Obama said, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of his administration,” Congressman Dent said. “Why then, after more than a week of phone calls, emails, letters, and in-person requests does this committee still not have the most recent version of the standard operating procedures?”
Congressman Dent introduced a Resolution of Inquiry (H.Res. 980), a formal action that creates a 14-day legislative clock in which case either (1) the Department will have to produce the document for the Committee, or (2) the Majority will have to vote to compel the Department to produce the document for the Committee.
The Congressman did note he was pleased that the Acting Administrator had made an effort to stay in contact with him.
“Now TSA has an opportunity to learn from (this) mistake…the question is, will they?” Congressman Dent said. “Ms. Rossides, I am confident TSA will.”
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