Thune and Nelson Statement on Inspector General Criticisms of TSA Risk Assessments

Commerce Committee leaders will soon introduce bipartisan legislation addressing the lack of TSA analysis for highway, rail, transit, and pipeline security

September 15, 2016

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who serve respectively as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the follow statements on a new report released today by the office of the Department of Homeland Security inspector general concluding that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), “lacks an intelligence-driven, risk-based security strategy that informs security and resource decisions across all transportation modes.”

“In attacks over the past year, Islamic terrorists have killed innocent civilians in Europe at rail and transit stations,” said Thune. “While TSA’s role at airports is most visible, and remains critically important, the agency has a responsibility to stay ahead of threats and secure all U.S. transportation systems. To help ensure that complacency and a lack of analysis described by the inspector general does not create vulnerabilities for terrorists to exploit, the Commerce Committee will soon introduce bipartisan legislation to improve how TSA assesses and responds to security risks.”

“I find it troubling that 15 years has passed since the 9/11 attacks and TSA is still struggling to allocate resources to protect travelers, especially in our rail and transit systems,” said Nelson. “This report only underscores the need to shore up any security gaps before it’s too late.”

On April 6, 2016, the Commerce Committee held a hearing on TSA efforts to safeguard trains, subways, buses, and ports with Administrator Peter Neffenger. Neffenger testified that TSA spends only three percent of its budget on surface transportation security efforts.  The planned legislation aims to determine whether this allocation reflects an appropriate analysis of the relevant risks to potential transportation targets.