PHOTO: TSA security checkpoint. (photo via Flickr/Ben Popken)
If there's one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on these days, it's that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some work to do.
Both sides were harsh in their criticism of TSA during last week's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, which was called to address transparency issues and a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general that determined the administration "cannot be trusted to administer the Secret Security Information (SSI) program in a reasonable manner."
The committee has been investigating a slew of concerns regarding TSA of late, including abusive management practices, retaliation against whistleblowers, security failures and employee intimidation, among others.
"Unfortunately, the TSA is not fulfilling their legal obligation to produce documents, frustrating the Office of Special Council's (OSC) investigative efforts," said committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz via the Washington Post. "And I can tell you with a passion on both sides of this aisle, it is not acceptable to withhold information."
"Selective use of redaction, the inconsistent use of it, claiming attorney-client privilege—with all due respect it appears that TSA is trying to cover up problems," added Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Gary Palmer.
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TSA acting administrator Huban A. Gowadia could offer little explanation, only claiming the administration relies on departmental guidance.
"I have to say we follow departmental guidance," said Gowadia. "My hands are tied by departmental policy."
Gowadia said she will work more transparently with the OSC in the future, though the committee threatened subpoena if TSA doesn't provide all of the outstanding documents and guidance it's legally obligated to hand over by March 10.
"We’re going to go to the ends of the earth to protect whistleblowers," said Chaffetz.