- - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

James Bovard’s “A cure for the common queue at the airport” (Web, Aug. 14) is misleading, inaccurate and unfairly disparages the dedicated Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workforce, especially those who work on the front lines to protect the nation’s transportation systems.

TSA continues to improve the passenger experience through risk-based security initiatives such as TSA “Pre”, which provides expedited screening to trusted travelers. The $85 fee to enroll in TSA “Pre” for a period of five years covers the cost of the background check and does not result in a “windfall” for TSA, as claimed in the article. In addition, TSA no longer uses backscatter X-ray advanced imaging technology to screen travelers.

TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct. In fact, since December 2012, TSA has conducted thousands of integrity tests at hundreds of airports to ensure workforce integrity with a 99.6 percent pass rate. The 13 individuals who failed were removed from federal service.

While aviation security remains the cornerstone of the TSA mission, a positive customer experience is critical to the TSA goal of providing the most effective transportation security in the most efficient way. To improve customer service, we established TSA Cares, a helpline for passengers who require assistance with the screening process. We have employed more than 2,600 passenger-support specialists at airports nationwide.

We are sure the opinions expressed in Mr. Bovard’s piece are the exception, but we will not sit back and allow misinformation and conjecture to malign our employees.

JOHN S. PISTOLE

Administrator

Transportation Security Administration

Arlington

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