Press Release


McCaul and Katko on Indictment of 12 Former and Current TSA and Airport Officials in Puerto Rico

Washington, D.C. – Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Transportation and Protective Services Subcommittee Chairman John Katko (R-NY) issued the following statement in the wake of 12 current and former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport employees being indicted for smuggling approximately 20 tons of cocaine through TSA security systems at Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport between 1998 and 2016.

Chairman McCaul & Subcommittee Chairman Katko: “Our aviation sector is a pivotal piece of America’s homeland security. This week’s indictment of 12 current and former TSA and airport employees accused of smuggling drugs through security screening is a stark reminder that our airport access controls and employee vetting processes need constant oversight and improvement. This Committee has made it a priority to investigate potential security challenges and insider threats within TSA. Now more than ever, we must work to secure our nation’s airports and close vulnerabilities that may put our homeland or citizens at risk.”

Just last week, Rep. Katko’s Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee released a report entitled America’s Airports: The Threat From Within, identifying and highlighting the dangers posed by insider threats at airports. If security breaches in airports provide an opportunity for the transportation of illicit drugs, these same gaps could be ripe for terrorists to exploit and smuggle weapons or carry out plots internally.

McCaul and Katko have been leaders in improving aviation security and TSA. Just last week, they introduced H.R. 876, which would reform key TSA programs. Additionally, the two introduced a bill that passed the House last Congress, H.R. 3102, the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015, to reform TSA programs and streamline transportation security regulations. Some of these provisions became law as part of the FAA Extension Agreement in July.

See the whole report with recommendations to better eliminate insider threats here.