June 21, 2017

During Commerce Committee Hearing, Senator Hassan Questions TSA Administrator Nominee on Harmful Impact of Trump’s Budget Proposal on Airport Security

Commerce TSA hearing

Click here for video of Senator Hassan’s remarks.


WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator nominee Vice Admiral David Pekoske.

Senator Hassan highlighted the challenge of securing “non-sterile” areas of airports (the locations before security checkpoints) where incidents of violence have occurred in recent years. Securing these areas at airports requires strong cooperation between TSA personnel, the local police force, and airport officials. It also requires resources that would be cut dramatically under President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request. Senator Hassan asked Admiral Pekoske to commit to “stand up for that principle, that we have a national interest in protecting the soft areas of our airports and the perimeters, and that we really do need to help our local and state folks be partners with that.”

Admiral Pekoske said “Yes, Senator, I’ll look at all of things you’ve asked me to look at.”

Senator Hassan also discussed efforts to prevent against insider threats to U.S. airports and our air travelers, noting that airport workers at foreign airports are believed to have been complicit in aiding attacks in the past. Senator Hassan asked “from your perspective, do you think foreign airports, especially those that are points-of-last-departure to the United States, are effectively screening their workers in order to root out potential terrorist threats?”

Admiral Pekoske said he didn’t know the answer but noted that Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has looked into the issue, and Admiral Pekoske committed to looking into the issue himself if confirmed.