Washington, D.C. - On Wednesday when Peter Neffenger, TSA Administrator and Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, testified to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation headed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).
The committee was convened in order to establish a clear understanding of national transportation security regarding the recent attacks by ISIS. Events in Belgium on March 22, have underscored the fact that terrorists can inflict significant casualties at transportation targets without attempting to board airplanes or subjecting themselves to security screenings. TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, who was in Brussels on March 22, delivered a testimony about TSA efforts to prevent attacks on passenger and freight targets that could lead to mass casualties.
In his opening remarks, Neffenger relayed his story on the chaos that he experienced landing just minutes before the first bombs went off at the Brussels airport. He mentioned the increased funding for exercises and training in U.S. airports and his appreciation of support from Congress.
Sen. Thune asked about soft targets and the fact that only 2% of TSA resources go to the security of trains and subway type transportation systems. Currently there are only 30 VIPER teams nationwide, yet TSA has requested that there be at least 60 teams. These teams are usually small ground teams that use canine dogs and other low cost methods to track possible threats.
"If I were to receive more VIPER teams, I would put them to use," Neffenger said.
Sen. Nelson (D-FL) raised a different issue in which airports are supposedly doing a poor job of background checks and screening for airport employees. He asked if there was anything airports were doing to avoid issues like Atlanta International airport faced with gun-running through Delta airline employees.
Neffenger dodged the question and said, "There has been a lot of movement in security at those airports."
"Give us the report," Nelson said.
“That’s coming your way," Neffenger promised.
Neffenger was then questioned by Sen. Ayotte (R-NH) on the recently criticized 'randomizer' app that supposedly cost taxpayers $1.4 million to create. In the video, the app was used by one TSA agent to point airline customers in either the right or left direction.
“We are not using that app... It is not an app we are not using anymore,” Neffenger said.
However, Townhall reported on Tuesday that Chris Pacia, a programmer, made the app in less than 10 minutes on his computer to prove the inefficiency f the program.
Concluding notes indicate that the TSA is functioning with bloviated funding and doing very little to enhance new ideas on how to stop future threats. Programs like the 'randomizer' are the perfect example of how government, through the use of fear, can burn hard-earned tax dollars on useless programs.