INTERPORTPOLICE press Senate to approve TSA chief

INTERPORTPOLICE press Senate to approve TSA chief
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The International Association of Airport and Seaport Police Authorities, better known as the INTERPORTPOLICE, is pushing the Senate to quickly approve President Obama’s nominee to take over the Transportation Security Administration.  

The group’s Secretary General Jay Grant said in a letter to Senate leaders that President Obama’s nominee for the TSA position, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, could restore confidence after an embarrassing report found its agents failed to find fake explosives and weapons in internal tests at almost all of America's busiest airports.

“In many respects America is still struggling to get transportation security correct,” Grant wrote. 

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“Several years after 9/11 we have built a bureaucracy much larger than anticipated; one that needs to be more efficient, a better partner and better regulator with our airports, seaports and transit authorities,” he continued. “Admiral Neffenger is unequally positioned to do just this.” 

The TSA is coming under scrutiny after the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general (IG) documented a series of undercover stings in which agents tried to pass through security with prohibited items.

The undercover agents made it through security in nearly all the tests — 67 of 70 — including one instance where a TSA screener failed to find a fake bomb, even after the undercover agent set off a magnetometer. The screener reportedly let the agent through with the fake bomb taped to his back, having missed it during a pat-down.

The INTERPORTPOLICE did not specifically address the failed bomb tests in its letter to lawmakers, but the group said Neffenger’s “qualifications are beyond reproach and his career in the U.S. Coast Guard offers a broad experience that includes working as an effective and efficient regulator.

“Many of us know the Admiral personally and worked side-by-side with him since 9/11,” Grant wrote. “The skill in which he has handled his various positions from Captain of the Port in Los Angeles to his current position as Vice Commandant are second to none. He is among the best of the best.” 

Neffenger has been appointed to replace the TSA’s long-term director John Pistole, who resigned at the beginning of the year. 

The agency had been led by Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway prior to this week’s findings of the failed bomb tests. Carraway was removed from office and he was replaced by the agency’s Deputy Director Mark Hatfield