TSA chief grilled by House subcommittee

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The airport security director in Fort Myers, Fla., his deputy and a manager were suspended among the 43 workers disciplined for failing to conduct random screenings last year, according to the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

TSA Administrator John Pistole described the positions – without the names – at a House homeland-security subcommittee Thursday.

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Five TSA staffers were fired and 38 were suspended after failing to randomly screen about 400 passengers out of 3.8 million who departed from the airport last year. The workers were notified Friday and told they could appeal the discipline.

The committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., opened the hearing by suggesting the agency's staffing is bloated and could be reduced by 30% to 40%. Referring to the Fort Myers, he asked what it takes to get fired from TSA.

"I believe you are too bogged down in managing an oversized workforce to mitigate the next potential threat," Rogers said.

Pistole said the agency investigated to find who was responsible and who was culpable. He said the question for the supervisors was whether they knew what was going on or should have known.

"We want to make sure that we investigate properly, we afford appropriate due process," Pistole said. "When we find people not doing their job, we will give them due process, but we will fire them."


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