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Senators raise concern that TSA employees still afraid to blow the whistle

Senators raise concern that TSA employees still afraid to blow the whistle

Senators are raising concerns that the majority of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are still afraid to speak up about problems at the agency and feel as though they will be unfairly punished for doing so.

A recent survey shows that just 49 percent of TSA workers and 36 percent of federal air marshal service employees feel that they can disclose a suspected violation of any law, rule or regulation without fear of retaliation.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson40 patient advocacy groups oppose 'right to try' drug bill GOP eyes changes to 'right to try' bill Hundreds sign on to letter opposing 'right to try' drug bill MORE (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGovernment watchdog finds safety gaps in assisted living homes GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races McCaskill challenger links human trafficking to 'sexual revolution' of 1960s MORE (D-Mo.), the ranking member, wrote a letter to new TSA Administrator David Pekoske this week expressing alarm over the survey results.

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“It is imperative that all federal employees know that they can disclose waste, fraud, or abuse, violations of laws, regulations, and rules, and dangers to the public without fear of retaliation,” they wrote.

The lawmakers want to know whether the agency has conducted a review about why employees feel this way; if there are any whistleblower reprisal programs in place; how managers are held accountable; and how the TSA plans to handle allegations of whistleblower retaliation.

The TSA has long grappled with low morale and high turnover rates. Last year, employees testified to Congress that poor leadership and a culture of retaliation were making it harder for the agency to address security gaps.