TSA defends its handling of security breaches

Riley also said that TSA collects "thousands of records of incidents and security breaches occurring at airports and other transportation facilities."

"As part of its multi-layered, risk-based approach to airport security, TSA recently began testing travel document authentication technologies, which automatically and concurrently verify passenger boarding passes and IDs in order to make travel safer for all travelers," he said. "Also, the use of Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges helps prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the sterile and secured areas of the airport. The authorization is done in cooperation with the airport operators."
Sen. Lautenberg, who is vice chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, said on Monday the report however "identifies a gaping hole in our airport security system and gives us a framework for how to improve security at Newark Liberty Airport and all across the country."

Lautenberg added that it was important for TSA to take all security breaches seriously.

"The recent attempt by al Qaeda to take down a U.S.-bound airliner showed us that terrorists are still determined to exploit aviation security gaps in order to attack America," he said.

But Riley said TSA was already working to implement the recommendations of the inspector general's report, including creating a uniform definition of what constitutes a security breach.

"TSA is coordinating appropriate revisions to relevant operations directives to develop a single definition of 'Security Breach,' addressing an OIG recommendation," he said.

"TSA is also updating its airport performance metrics to track security breaches and airport checkpoint closures at the national, regional and local levels, addressing an OIG recommendation," he continued.