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Overview:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency in the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for protecting the nation’s transportation networks from attack. Specifically, it safeguards airports and airplanes, mass-transit systems, highways, seaports, railroads and buses. The TSA has been inundated with charges of ineptitude and corruption during its short lifespan.

more
History:

The U.S. Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (PDF) on Nov. 19, 2001, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The act established the TSA and placed it in the Transportation Department, charging it with hiring security screeners at some 450 commercial airports within 12 months.
 

In March 2003, oversight of the TSA was transferred to the Homeland Security Department, which was created the prior November. In addition to weathering numerous controversies, the TSA has had four administrators in just over six years. At least three bills have been introduced to eliminate the agency’s many perceived deficiencies, but none have passed.

 

more
What it Does:

The TSA has a total of 16 major divisions beneath the Office of the Administrator (see Current Director below for more information on Administrator Kip Hawley). 
The Office of Business Transformation and Culture is responsible for developing management and operational strategies. Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides is its director. 
The Office of Inspection evaluates TSA programs for efficiency and integrity through investigations and reviews. Its director is Assistant Administrator K. David Holmes Jr
The Office of Intelligence and Analysis does just what its name implies: It collects and analyzes intelligence on the nation’s transportation networks. Its director is Assistant Administrator Keith G. Kauffman.
 
The Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs develops internal and external communications strategies for the agency. Its director, Assistant Administrator Ellen Howe, also serves as the TSA’s primary spokeswoman.
 
The Office of Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing oversees a number of what the TSA identifies as “key” enterprises, including the agency’s troubled Secure Flight program (see Controversies below). The office also manages the Registered Traveler program, which speeds pre-approved airline passengers through security checkpoints; the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a program developing a biometric ID card for more than 4 million transportation employees; the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program (HAZMAT), which is designed to vet some 2.7 million hazardous-materials truck drivers; and various programs for aviation background checks, including Alien Flight Student. This division is headed by Assistant Administrator Stephanie L. Rowe.
 
The Office of Legislative Affairs acts as a liaison between the TSA and Congress.
 
The Office of Security Operations supervises the day-to-day affairs of maintaining security for all forms of transportation, including screenings, budgeting requirements, long-term planning, informational assistance and ensuring adherence to regulations. Before the TSA was created, private companies screened passengers and inspected luggage at airports, and, in fact, they still do at a limited number of airports through the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program. However, the TSA retains ultimate authority over these contractors. Assistant Administrator Morris “Mo” McGowan directs the office.
 
The Office of Transportation Sector Network Management assesses security vulnerabilities and develops strategies for eliminating them in cooperation with public- and private-sector partners. It’s headed by Assistant Administrator John P. Sammon.
 
The Office of Law Enforcement contains the Federal Air Marshal Service. Armed air marshals protect civil airliners from attack by blending in with other passengers, and are trained in behavioral-profiling and self-defense techniques. The office also runs a number of other programs:
  • After the Sept. 11 attacks, the TSA severely limited flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., as part of its DCA Access Standard Security Program (DCA is the airport’s code). Each day, a total of 48 arrivals and departures are permitted at the airport. Arrivals may only come from 20 so-called “gateway” airports, with planes, passengers and baggage thoroughly inspected before they depart. The TSA also runs advance background checks on all passengers and crew. Each flight departing for Reagan National Airport must have an escort known as an “armed security officer” onboard.
Dana Brown, assistant administrator and director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, leads the office.
 
The Office of Global Strategies works with foreign representatives to improve international transportation security. Its director is Assistant Administrator William W. Gaches.
 
The Office of Human Capital is the human-resources arm of the TSA, overseeing recruitment, training and staff performance. Richard Whitford, assistant administrator, heads this division.
 
The Office of Finance and Administration oversees the TSA’s accounting and administrative affairs. Assistant Administrator David R. Nicholson leads this office.
 
The Office of Acquisition handles the TSA’s major purchases, contracting, research and development, grants and other financial services. Richard K. Gunderson, assistant administrator, heads this division.
 
The Office of Operational Process and Technology acts as the TSA’s information technology division. Assistant Administrator Mike Golden is the in charge.
 
Francine Kerner is the TSA chief counsel, responsible for advising officials on all legal matters relating to the agency’s mission.
 
Lastly, Kimberly Walton is special counselor to the TSA administrator and deputy administrator. The special counselor disseminates information to the public in accordance with federal laws and addresses complaints from the public or TSA employees. Her office oversees several subdivisions, including the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, the Ombudsman Office, the Office of Privacy and Compliance, the Freedom of Information Act Office, the Sensitive Security Information Office, the Audit Liaison Office and the Transportation Security Redress Office.
 
In addition, the Aviation Security Advisory Committee recommends security improvements for civil aviation.

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

more
Controversies:

The TSA and its employees have been accused of ethical lapses, incompetence, theft, fraud, mistreatment of passengers and infringements upon civil liberties, among other charges.
 
Secure Flight Program
The Secure Flight program violated federal privacy laws during its trial period. Tests also showed its database was vulnerable to hackers.
Secure Flights Gets Wary Welcome (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Secure Flight Hits Turbulence (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Secure Flight (by Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security)
 
Inadequate Security Tests
Numerous stories have arisen about the apparent inadequacy of airport security under the TSA. In addition, the agency has been accused of cheating on its own security tests to make it appear as if it’s performing better.
The state of airline security (by Bill McGee, USA Today)
Most fake bombs missed by screeners (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
A ‘façade of security’  (Consumer Reports)
Fallout looms over TSA message (by Chris Joyner, Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
 
Mishandled Employee and Passenger Data
The TSA has mishandled private passenger and employee data. Lawmakers also noted that the agency appeared to lack uniform policies on what constituted “sensitive” information.
More False Information from TSA (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Report: TSA Exposed Travelers to ID Theft (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)
Former TSA workers’ data exposed (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
TSA Sends Employee Data to the Wrong Address (by Martin H. Bosworth, ConsumerAffairs.com)
Lawmakers question policy on sensitive security information (by Chris Strohm, Government Executive)
 
Secret Information Collection
Privacy experts decried a TSA plan to develop a database that would gather information on all air travelers without their knowledge.
 
Mistreatment by Screeners
Travelers have complained about mistreatment or inappropriate touching during airport screenings. Some, including U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, claim to have experienced a lot of aggravation getting their names removed from TSA-maintained no-fly lists.
US eases patdown policy for air travelers (by Keith Reed, Boston Globe)
Nun Terrorized by Terror Watch (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Morning in America (photograph of a nun being frisked at a TSA checkpoint, Flickr)
 
Calling Kim Hawley an Idiot
 
Theft by Screeners
Dozens of airport screeners have been arrested for stealing travelers’ belongings.
3 ex-TSA workers plead guilty to theft (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Team 4: Airport Baggage Theft Claims (Pittsburgh Channel 4 News)
10News Exclusive: Are TSA Employees Stealing?  (San Diego Channel 10 News)
 
Lavish Spending by TSA Employees
The Department of Homeland Security inspector general uncovered evidence of inappropriate spending on high-level agency employees, including $81,000 for plaques and $500 for cheese at a luxurious awards ceremony. All told, the event cost nearly $500,000. A later probe uncovered evidence of further spending binges of about $500,000 on artwork and silk plants at a TSA operations center. The DHS inspector general said the employees’ actions were “unethical and possibly illegal.”
Waste, possible fraud reported at TSA (by Jeanne Meserve, CNN)
 
Screeners Not Allowed to Unionize
President Bush and the Republican Party have resisted attempts by airport screeners to unionize, claiming the TSA needs to maintain its “flexibility.”
TSA union fight threatens anti-terror bill (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
Collective Bargaining for Defense and DHS Would Undermine National Security (by James Jay Carafano and James Sherk, Heritage Foundation)
 
Fee for Registered Traveler Program
Companies protested a fee hike in the Registered Traveler Program, prompting the TSA to back down.

TSA Backs Off Registered Traveler Fee Hike

(by Dan Schlossberg, ConsumerAffairs.com)

 

 

more
Debate:

Against - from the Right
Sieg Heil,TSA (by Becky Akers, LewRockwell.com)
The Cheesy Blockheads of the TSA (by Becky Akers, LewRockwell.com)
False Security (by Robert Poole, Reason Foundation)
TSA - Bullies at the Airport (by Ron Paul, Texas Straight Talk)
 
Against - from the Left
Getting it Right (by Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution)
 
For - from the Left
A Come-From-Behind Victory (by Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution)
 
Suggested Reform
At least three bills have been introduced in Congress to overhaul the TSA, but none have passed. Some critics are clamoring for the agency’s elimination.
Militarize, Not Unionize, Homeland Security (by James Pinkerton, New America Foundation)
Rethinking TSA (by Beth Dickey, Government Executive)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

more

Comments

Emil Harris 9 months ago
Why does TSA fire injured employee and refute their claim. Also, why does TSA then delay in Paying Continuation of Pay after the claim is accepted…
Richard Sills 3 years ago
Dear Sir or Madam On March23 2011 my wife and I flew from Charleston Sc to Nashville Tenn.While going through the security gates,I lost my wallet.The agents in the line did a wonderful job in searching for my wallet as well as keeping me cdalm even though I was not.All the time they kept searching for my lost article until they found where I had knocked off the table into a cranny between seats and table.They were all great and I thank them.They allowed me to have a great vac...

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 2001
Annual Budget: $6.4 billion (2008)
Employees: 50,173 (2008),
Official Website: http://www.tsa.gov/
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Pistole, John
Administrator

It took three tries, but President Barack Obama finally got an appointment confirmed to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). After former FBI agent Erroll Southers’ nomination imploded over revelations that he accessed FBI databases for personal reasons, President Obama turned to Robert A. Harding, a major general who retired from the U.S. Army in 2001. But Harding had to withdraw his nomination after concerns were raised over his work as a defense contractor. So, finally, the White House turned to a veteran of the FBI, John S. Pistole, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 2010.

 
Although he was confirmed without a dissenting vote, Pistole’s views were not without controversy. In July 2004, during testimony in a closed door hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was asked his opinion of enhanced interrogation techniques, otherwise known as torture. He replied, "In my view the benefits are huge and the costs are insignificant.”
 
Pistole’s father, Dr. Hollis Pistole, was a professor of theology at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, and his mother, Elisabeth, was a high school teacher. A native of Anderson, Indiana, Pistole was a rebellious teenager and broke his neck in a car accident and almost died. He later told the Anderson University school magazine that, “I see that as God’s way of giving me a wake-up call, saying ‘Knucklehead, I’ve blessed you in so many ways. Don’t squander your living. I’ve given you blessings and an opportunity. You’ve got a job to do.’”
 
Pistole graduated from Anderson University in 1978 with a major in American studies and pre-law, and went on to Indiana University School of Law. He completed law school in 1981, and then practiced law for two years. 
 
Pistole has said that his religious beliefs include service to community. “Each of us as Christians are called to be ministers to a unique congregation, that is those we interact with on a daily basis—our families, our coworkers, whomever. We may be the only Christ that somebody sees.”
 
Pistole joined the FBI in 1983. He served as a special agent in the Minneapolis division, investigating organized crime and violent crimes. In 1985 he was transferred to the New York division, where he continued to specialize in combating organized crime, in particular the Genovese crime family. He was being promoted to a supervisor in the Organized Crime (OC) Section at FBI headquarters in 1990. His work included assisting the Italian National Police in their investigations into the 1992 assassinations of two prominent magistrates, and serving as an instructor in OC matters at The FBI Academy.
 
In 1994, Pistole became a field supervisor of a White-Collar Crime (WCC) and Civil Rights Squad in Indianapolis, where he created a Health Care Fraud Task Force and a Public Corruption Task Force. During this time, he also developed curricula and provided instruction at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
 
Next, in 1999, he served as assistant special agent in charge in Boston, Massachusetts, where he had oversight for WCC, Computer Intrusion Programs and all FBI matters in Maine and New Hampshire, and WCC, especially public corruption, in Rhode Island. In 1999, he helped lead the investigative and recovery efforts for the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash off the coast of Rhode Island. Following the espionage arrest of Robert Hanssen, he was detailed to FBI headquarters and helped lead the Information Security Working Group, addressing security and vulnerability issues.
 
In July 2001, Pistole was named an inspector in the Inspection Division in Washington, DC, leading teams conducting evaluations and audits of FBI field offices and headquarters divisions.
 
In April 2002, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Pistole was assigned to the Counterterrorism Division, first as deputy assistant director for operations, then as assistant director. Pistole was then appointed as the executive assistant director for counterterrorism and counterintelligence.
 
In 2003, he led the FBI team that investigated the bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed 40 people, including eight Americans.
 
In October, 2004, Pistole was promoted to deputy director, the No. 2 position in the FBI. He was involved in the investigations of the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, the plot to attack New York City’s subways and the attempted Times Square car bombing by Faisal Shahzad.
 
Pistole held the position of FBI deputy director until his appointment to take over the leadership of the TSA.
 
Pistole and his wife Kathy have two daughters, Lauren and Jennifer.
 
Pistole is a member of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. Influenced by Wesleyan theology and Pietism, the Church of God is a non-hierarchical denomination without formal membership. Other noted followers of the Church include Montana Senator Jon Tester and Charles Schulz, the author of the Peanuts comic strip. Pistole has said that, “Every day I pray for discretion or discernment, encouragement and wisdom.”
 
Public Servant: Pistole Brings Sense of Mission to FBI's #2 Post (by David Harness, Signatures Magazine, Anderson University)
more
Hawley, Edmund
Previous Director
Hawley’s career has revolved around transportation and technology. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University. The University of Virginia awarded him a law degree in 1980.
 
Hawley worked as both a special and deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. He then served as deputy assistant secretary and executive director of governmental affairs for the Department of Transportation, drawing up budgets and proposals for legislation. In 1992, he served on the National Commission on Intermodal Transportation.
 
Between 1995 and 1998, Hawley worked as chief executive office for Skyway, an organization that helps high-tech companies deliver their products to consumers. He also served as vice president for Union Pacific Railroad.
 
Hawley has worked for the TSA before. Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Hawley was selected by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to lead a so-called “go-team” comprising government and private-sector specialists, who worked together to create the TSA.
 
Prior to becoming administrator, Hawley was executive vice president of Arzoon, a supply-chain software company based in San Mateo, Calif., and was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Services Subcommittee.
 
President George W. Bush nominated Hawley for the TSA administrator post on May 6, 2005. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 22 and assumed the position five days later. Hawley also held the title of assistant secretary of homeland security for the Transportation Security Administration.
 
Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (by Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security)
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency in the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for protecting the nation’s transportation networks from attack. Specifically, it safeguards airports and airplanes, mass-transit systems, highways, seaports, railroads and buses. The TSA has been inundated with charges of ineptitude and corruption during its short lifespan.

more
History:

The U.S. Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (PDF) on Nov. 19, 2001, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The act established the TSA and placed it in the Transportation Department, charging it with hiring security screeners at some 450 commercial airports within 12 months.
 

In March 2003, oversight of the TSA was transferred to the Homeland Security Department, which was created the prior November. In addition to weathering numerous controversies, the TSA has had four administrators in just over six years. At least three bills have been introduced to eliminate the agency’s many perceived deficiencies, but none have passed.

 

more
What it Does:

The TSA has a total of 16 major divisions beneath the Office of the Administrator (see Current Director below for more information on Administrator Kip Hawley). 
The Office of Business Transformation and Culture is responsible for developing management and operational strategies. Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides is its director. 
The Office of Inspection evaluates TSA programs for efficiency and integrity through investigations and reviews. Its director is Assistant Administrator K. David Holmes Jr
The Office of Intelligence and Analysis does just what its name implies: It collects and analyzes intelligence on the nation’s transportation networks. Its director is Assistant Administrator Keith G. Kauffman.
 
The Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs develops internal and external communications strategies for the agency. Its director, Assistant Administrator Ellen Howe, also serves as the TSA’s primary spokeswoman.
 
The Office of Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing oversees a number of what the TSA identifies as “key” enterprises, including the agency’s troubled Secure Flight program (see Controversies below). The office also manages the Registered Traveler program, which speeds pre-approved airline passengers through security checkpoints; the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a program developing a biometric ID card for more than 4 million transportation employees; the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program (HAZMAT), which is designed to vet some 2.7 million hazardous-materials truck drivers; and various programs for aviation background checks, including Alien Flight Student. This division is headed by Assistant Administrator Stephanie L. Rowe.
 
The Office of Legislative Affairs acts as a liaison between the TSA and Congress.
 
The Office of Security Operations supervises the day-to-day affairs of maintaining security for all forms of transportation, including screenings, budgeting requirements, long-term planning, informational assistance and ensuring adherence to regulations. Before the TSA was created, private companies screened passengers and inspected luggage at airports, and, in fact, they still do at a limited number of airports through the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program. However, the TSA retains ultimate authority over these contractors. Assistant Administrator Morris “Mo” McGowan directs the office.
 
The Office of Transportation Sector Network Management assesses security vulnerabilities and develops strategies for eliminating them in cooperation with public- and private-sector partners. It’s headed by Assistant Administrator John P. Sammon.
 
The Office of Law Enforcement contains the Federal Air Marshal Service. Armed air marshals protect civil airliners from attack by blending in with other passengers, and are trained in behavioral-profiling and self-defense techniques. The office also runs a number of other programs:
  • After the Sept. 11 attacks, the TSA severely limited flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., as part of its DCA Access Standard Security Program (DCA is the airport’s code). Each day, a total of 48 arrivals and departures are permitted at the airport. Arrivals may only come from 20 so-called “gateway” airports, with planes, passengers and baggage thoroughly inspected before they depart. The TSA also runs advance background checks on all passengers and crew. Each flight departing for Reagan National Airport must have an escort known as an “armed security officer” onboard.
Dana Brown, assistant administrator and director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, leads the office.
 
The Office of Global Strategies works with foreign representatives to improve international transportation security. Its director is Assistant Administrator William W. Gaches.
 
The Office of Human Capital is the human-resources arm of the TSA, overseeing recruitment, training and staff performance. Richard Whitford, assistant administrator, heads this division.
 
The Office of Finance and Administration oversees the TSA’s accounting and administrative affairs. Assistant Administrator David R. Nicholson leads this office.
 
The Office of Acquisition handles the TSA’s major purchases, contracting, research and development, grants and other financial services. Richard K. Gunderson, assistant administrator, heads this division.
 
The Office of Operational Process and Technology acts as the TSA’s information technology division. Assistant Administrator Mike Golden is the in charge.
 
Francine Kerner is the TSA chief counsel, responsible for advising officials on all legal matters relating to the agency’s mission.
 
Lastly, Kimberly Walton is special counselor to the TSA administrator and deputy administrator. The special counselor disseminates information to the public in accordance with federal laws and addresses complaints from the public or TSA employees. Her office oversees several subdivisions, including the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, the Ombudsman Office, the Office of Privacy and Compliance, the Freedom of Information Act Office, the Sensitive Security Information Office, the Audit Liaison Office and the Transportation Security Redress Office.
 
In addition, the Aviation Security Advisory Committee recommends security improvements for civil aviation.

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

more
Controversies:

The TSA and its employees have been accused of ethical lapses, incompetence, theft, fraud, mistreatment of passengers and infringements upon civil liberties, among other charges.
 
Secure Flight Program
The Secure Flight program violated federal privacy laws during its trial period. Tests also showed its database was vulnerable to hackers.
Secure Flights Gets Wary Welcome (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Secure Flight Hits Turbulence (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Secure Flight (by Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security)
 
Inadequate Security Tests
Numerous stories have arisen about the apparent inadequacy of airport security under the TSA. In addition, the agency has been accused of cheating on its own security tests to make it appear as if it’s performing better.
The state of airline security (by Bill McGee, USA Today)
Most fake bombs missed by screeners (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
A ‘façade of security’  (Consumer Reports)
Fallout looms over TSA message (by Chris Joyner, Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
 
Mishandled Employee and Passenger Data
The TSA has mishandled private passenger and employee data. Lawmakers also noted that the agency appeared to lack uniform policies on what constituted “sensitive” information.
More False Information from TSA (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Report: TSA Exposed Travelers to ID Theft (by Brian Krebs, Washington Post)
Former TSA workers’ data exposed (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
TSA Sends Employee Data to the Wrong Address (by Martin H. Bosworth, ConsumerAffairs.com)
Lawmakers question policy on sensitive security information (by Chris Strohm, Government Executive)
 
Secret Information Collection
Privacy experts decried a TSA plan to develop a database that would gather information on all air travelers without their knowledge.
 
Mistreatment by Screeners
Travelers have complained about mistreatment or inappropriate touching during airport screenings. Some, including U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, claim to have experienced a lot of aggravation getting their names removed from TSA-maintained no-fly lists.
US eases patdown policy for air travelers (by Keith Reed, Boston Globe)
Nun Terrorized by Terror Watch (by Ryan Singel, Wired)
Morning in America (photograph of a nun being frisked at a TSA checkpoint, Flickr)
 
Calling Kim Hawley an Idiot
 
Theft by Screeners
Dozens of airport screeners have been arrested for stealing travelers’ belongings.
3 ex-TSA workers plead guilty to theft (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Team 4: Airport Baggage Theft Claims (Pittsburgh Channel 4 News)
10News Exclusive: Are TSA Employees Stealing?  (San Diego Channel 10 News)
 
Lavish Spending by TSA Employees
The Department of Homeland Security inspector general uncovered evidence of inappropriate spending on high-level agency employees, including $81,000 for plaques and $500 for cheese at a luxurious awards ceremony. All told, the event cost nearly $500,000. A later probe uncovered evidence of further spending binges of about $500,000 on artwork and silk plants at a TSA operations center. The DHS inspector general said the employees’ actions were “unethical and possibly illegal.”
Waste, possible fraud reported at TSA (by Jeanne Meserve, CNN)
 
Screeners Not Allowed to Unionize
President Bush and the Republican Party have resisted attempts by airport screeners to unionize, claiming the TSA needs to maintain its “flexibility.”
TSA union fight threatens anti-terror bill (by Thomas Frank, USA Today)
Collective Bargaining for Defense and DHS Would Undermine National Security (by James Jay Carafano and James Sherk, Heritage Foundation)
 
Fee for Registered Traveler Program
Companies protested a fee hike in the Registered Traveler Program, prompting the TSA to back down.

TSA Backs Off Registered Traveler Fee Hike

(by Dan Schlossberg, ConsumerAffairs.com)

 

 

more
Debate:

Against - from the Right
Sieg Heil,TSA (by Becky Akers, LewRockwell.com)
The Cheesy Blockheads of the TSA (by Becky Akers, LewRockwell.com)
False Security (by Robert Poole, Reason Foundation)
TSA - Bullies at the Airport (by Ron Paul, Texas Straight Talk)
 
Against - from the Left
Getting it Right (by Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution)
 
For - from the Left
A Come-From-Behind Victory (by Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution)
 
Suggested Reform
At least three bills have been introduced in Congress to overhaul the TSA, but none have passed. Some critics are clamoring for the agency’s elimination.
Militarize, Not Unionize, Homeland Security (by James Pinkerton, New America Foundation)
Rethinking TSA (by Beth Dickey, Government Executive)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

more

Comments

Emil Harris 9 months ago
Why does TSA fire injured employee and refute their claim. Also, why does TSA then delay in Paying Continuation of Pay after the claim is accepted…
Richard Sills 3 years ago
Dear Sir or Madam On March23 2011 my wife and I flew from Charleston Sc to Nashville Tenn.While going through the security gates,I lost my wallet.The agents in the line did a wonderful job in searching for my wallet as well as keeping me cdalm even though I was not.All the time they kept searching for my lost article until they found where I had knocked off the table into a cranny between seats and table.They were all great and I thank them.They allowed me to have a great vac...

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 2001
Annual Budget: $6.4 billion (2008)
Employees: 50,173 (2008),
Official Website: http://www.tsa.gov/
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Pistole, John
Administrator

It took three tries, but President Barack Obama finally got an appointment confirmed to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). After former FBI agent Erroll Southers’ nomination imploded over revelations that he accessed FBI databases for personal reasons, President Obama turned to Robert A. Harding, a major general who retired from the U.S. Army in 2001. But Harding had to withdraw his nomination after concerns were raised over his work as a defense contractor. So, finally, the White House turned to a veteran of the FBI, John S. Pistole, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 2010.

 
Although he was confirmed without a dissenting vote, Pistole’s views were not without controversy. In July 2004, during testimony in a closed door hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was asked his opinion of enhanced interrogation techniques, otherwise known as torture. He replied, "In my view the benefits are huge and the costs are insignificant.”
 
Pistole’s father, Dr. Hollis Pistole, was a professor of theology at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, and his mother, Elisabeth, was a high school teacher. A native of Anderson, Indiana, Pistole was a rebellious teenager and broke his neck in a car accident and almost died. He later told the Anderson University school magazine that, “I see that as God’s way of giving me a wake-up call, saying ‘Knucklehead, I’ve blessed you in so many ways. Don’t squander your living. I’ve given you blessings and an opportunity. You’ve got a job to do.’”
 
Pistole graduated from Anderson University in 1978 with a major in American studies and pre-law, and went on to Indiana University School of Law. He completed law school in 1981, and then practiced law for two years. 
 
Pistole has said that his religious beliefs include service to community. “Each of us as Christians are called to be ministers to a unique congregation, that is those we interact with on a daily basis—our families, our coworkers, whomever. We may be the only Christ that somebody sees.”
 
Pistole joined the FBI in 1983. He served as a special agent in the Minneapolis division, investigating organized crime and violent crimes. In 1985 he was transferred to the New York division, where he continued to specialize in combating organized crime, in particular the Genovese crime family. He was being promoted to a supervisor in the Organized Crime (OC) Section at FBI headquarters in 1990. His work included assisting the Italian National Police in their investigations into the 1992 assassinations of two prominent magistrates, and serving as an instructor in OC matters at The FBI Academy.
 
In 1994, Pistole became a field supervisor of a White-Collar Crime (WCC) and Civil Rights Squad in Indianapolis, where he created a Health Care Fraud Task Force and a Public Corruption Task Force. During this time, he also developed curricula and provided instruction at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
 
Next, in 1999, he served as assistant special agent in charge in Boston, Massachusetts, where he had oversight for WCC, Computer Intrusion Programs and all FBI matters in Maine and New Hampshire, and WCC, especially public corruption, in Rhode Island. In 1999, he helped lead the investigative and recovery efforts for the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash off the coast of Rhode Island. Following the espionage arrest of Robert Hanssen, he was detailed to FBI headquarters and helped lead the Information Security Working Group, addressing security and vulnerability issues.
 
In July 2001, Pistole was named an inspector in the Inspection Division in Washington, DC, leading teams conducting evaluations and audits of FBI field offices and headquarters divisions.
 
In April 2002, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Pistole was assigned to the Counterterrorism Division, first as deputy assistant director for operations, then as assistant director. Pistole was then appointed as the executive assistant director for counterterrorism and counterintelligence.
 
In 2003, he led the FBI team that investigated the bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed 40 people, including eight Americans.
 
In October, 2004, Pistole was promoted to deputy director, the No. 2 position in the FBI. He was involved in the investigations of the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, the plot to attack New York City’s subways and the attempted Times Square car bombing by Faisal Shahzad.
 
Pistole held the position of FBI deputy director until his appointment to take over the leadership of the TSA.
 
Pistole and his wife Kathy have two daughters, Lauren and Jennifer.
 
Pistole is a member of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. Influenced by Wesleyan theology and Pietism, the Church of God is a non-hierarchical denomination without formal membership. Other noted followers of the Church include Montana Senator Jon Tester and Charles Schulz, the author of the Peanuts comic strip. Pistole has said that, “Every day I pray for discretion or discernment, encouragement and wisdom.”
 
Public Servant: Pistole Brings Sense of Mission to FBI's #2 Post (by David Harness, Signatures Magazine, Anderson University)
more
Hawley, Edmund
Previous Director
Hawley’s career has revolved around transportation and technology. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University. The University of Virginia awarded him a law degree in 1980.
 
Hawley worked as both a special and deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. He then served as deputy assistant secretary and executive director of governmental affairs for the Department of Transportation, drawing up budgets and proposals for legislation. In 1992, he served on the National Commission on Intermodal Transportation.
 
Between 1995 and 1998, Hawley worked as chief executive office for Skyway, an organization that helps high-tech companies deliver their products to consumers. He also served as vice president for Union Pacific Railroad.
 
Hawley has worked for the TSA before. Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Hawley was selected by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to lead a so-called “go-team” comprising government and private-sector specialists, who worked together to create the TSA.
 
Prior to becoming administrator, Hawley was executive vice president of Arzoon, a supply-chain software company based in San Mateo, Calif., and was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Services Subcommittee.
 
President George W. Bush nominated Hawley for the TSA administrator post on May 6, 2005. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 22 and assumed the position five days later. Hawley also held the title of assistant secretary of homeland security for the Transportation Security Administration.
 
Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (by Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security)
 
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