Congress asks TSA to improve customer service & rebuild public trust
POSTED: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 9:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 9:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Rarely a week goes by without another story about transportation security administration screeners handling, or in some instances manhandling, the flying public.
Screener conduct was the main focus of a Congressional hearing Thursday, where lawmakers laid into TSA Administrator John Pistole.
"It's palpable. The American people are just really disgusted and outraged with the department that they see is bloated and inefficient," said Representative Mike Rogers, Alabama.
The Capitol Hill critique of the TSA comes in the wake the screeners scandal in Fort Myers, Florida.
Five front line security officers were fired and thirty-eight others suspended after an investigation found they failed to conduct random screenings.
It was the latest in a series of high profile embarrassments for the TSA, and critics say the agency could start with a substantial downsizing.
"Do you agree that we could reduce the workforce by 30 percent and you'd still be able to do the job if you got to pick the people?" Rogers asked.
"No, I don't agree with that, that's a huge number that would take a significant assessment on the one hand," Pistole replied.
Pistole said he wouldn't pledge to eliminate any jobs that might undermine protecting the flying public, but committee Chairman Rogers continued pressing.
"You and I both know, everybody in this room knows you can get by with less folks," Rogers insisted.
The TSA has 52,000 employees, mostly screeners, who Pistole says screen 1.8 million passengers a day, most without complaint.