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November 09, 2012

Management Problems at TSA TTAC Office Must Be Addressed

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on personnel matters at the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing Office (TTAC). The TTAC contains the Secure Flight Operations Center and the Security Threat Assessment Operations Adjudication Center.

The report, entitled "Personnel Security and Internal Control at TSA's Legacy Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing Office" (OIG-13-05) details the following findings from the IG:

  • Workplace favoritism seemed rampant: many employees said that hiring and personnel management decisions were based on personal connections and relationships.
  • TTAC failed to properly handle and refer Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints.
  • Misconduct issues have been mishandled because of poor management and inappropriate use of administrative processes.
  • The Security Threat Assessment Operations Adjudication Center heavily relies on contractors rather than federal employees.

To address these problems, the IG made eight recommendations; TSA agreed with seven of them but did not agree to create an independent review panel to review allegations of favoritism and other improper personnel practices that may have resulted in unwarranted reassignments and reductions in pay.

Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement with the report:

"This report points to systemic problems with discrimination, hiring, position assignment, and contractor reliance within TSA's Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing Office. Today, I am calling on Administrator Pistole to implement all of the IG's recommendations and to immediately establish an independent panel to review employee allegations of favoritism and discrimination. Additionally, I am calling on the Administrator to request an immediate review of the ratio of Federal employees to contractors within the Security Threat Assessment Operations Adjudication Center so that the number of Federal employees is sufficient to ensure internal controls."

"Conducting security threat assessments and credentialing initiatives for passengers on public and commercial modes of transportation and transportation industry workers is a critical aspect of securing this nation against the terrorist threat. We cannot allow discrimination, favoritism in hiring practices, and an over reliance on contractors to distract from and hamper that critical mission."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978