Holder: TSA agents 'unappreciated'

Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up MORE said at a memorial for a slain Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee that the agency's workers "have too often been unappreciated, overlooked or even discounted."

Holder was speaking on Tuesday at a memorial for 39-year-old TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed in a shooting earlier this month at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Holder said "every single day, Officer Hernandez took pride in the role he played to keep the American people safe."


TSA agents have often been criticized for the agency's controversial airport security techniques, like X-ray scanners and pat-down hand searches.

But Holder said in his memorial speech that TSA agents deserved more credit than they typically receive for attempting to keep airline passengers safe.

"Over the years, the contributions that [Hernandez] and others have made — and the tireless work of TSA employees across the country — have too often been unappreciated, overlooked or even discounted," he said. "Yet the importance of their efforts, in preventing acts of terror and deterring those who would threaten our nation, is difficult to overstate. 

"That’s why I want to take this moment to say thank you to our Transportation Security Officers for everything that they do," Holder continued. "To wish Officers [Tony] Grigsby and [James] Speer a full and speedy recovery from their injuries."

Hernandez, Grigsby and Speer were wounded on Nov. 1 by a rifle-wielding gunman police believe was specifically targeting TSA agents.

Hernandez became the TSA's first agent to be killed in the line of duty since the agency's inception after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.

Holder promised to do "everything in our power to ensure that those responsible for this senseless act can and will be held accountable — to the fullest extent of the law.

"We will not rest until justice has been done," he said.