Sen. Hutchison: TSA must work to improve the passenger screening - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Sen. Hutchison: TSA must work to improve the passenger screening process

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- During an oversight hearing on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, told TSA Administrator John Pistole that the traveling public's privacy concerns with the agency's aggressive screening process are legitimate.  She stated that TSA must work to improve the passenger screening process. 

"We have been hearing the outcry about the invasive use of pat-downs now in the airports.  There has to be a way to improve the airport security screening process to address the legitimate privacy concerns of the traveling public," said Senator Hutchison.   "The security process should be a partnership between the screeners and the traveling public to protect security and privacy."

Senator Hutchison also stated the importance of international cargo screening and her opposition to collective bargaining for screeners at TSA.

"Given the sheer volume, complexity and international component of our global cargo network, threats like the recent cargo terrorism plot originating out of Yemen will be a tremendous challenge to the fundamental responsibilities of TSA," Senator Hutchison said.  "Doing everything we can to find practical solutions that will bolster our intelligence analysis of cargo shipments farther down the cargo supply chain will be key to improving our overall cargo security." 

On collective bargaining for screeners, Hutchison stated, "Federal law prohibits screeners from striking, and all the previous TSA Administrators have said that allowing screeners to collectively bargain would have a negative impact on TSA's fundamental security mission. I encourage you to maintain the existing policy, but if you decide to go the other way and allow for collective bargaining among the TSA workforce, there would be an upheaval in Congress and serious efforts to prevent that from happening."

The Transportation Security Administration has said if airline passengers refuse full-body scans or pat-downs, they won't get on a plane. TSA chief John Pistole (PIH'-stohl) says religion won't give them a pass. Civil rights groups say the intense screening violates civil liberties, including freedom of religion.

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