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Thompson to DHS: Time to Upgrade Airport Screening Tech

Nov 9, 2017
Correspondence

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke after the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration’s testimony before Congress yesterday highlighted the pressing need for updated screening technology – including Computed Tomography (CT) – at our nation’s airport checkpoints.

Letter excerpt:

Following the hearing, I remain convinced that DHS must act – without delay – to acquire and deploy updated screening technology, including Computed Tomography (CT), at our nation’s airports.  Such technology has proven more effective at detecting threats than existing systems and is currently deployed successfully elsewhere in the world.  Indeed, Administrator Pekoske testified that CT is “probably the most significant improvement we could make” at airport checkpoints.  Improved technology, coupled with a fully staffed, well-trained, and appropriately compensated workforce is absolutely vital to better securing America’s aviation sector.

Unfortunately, a lack of resources is a primary impediment to deploying CT technology at our airports currently. The Administrator testified that “to invest in CT technology requires funding above what TSA currently has.”  Meanwhile, approximately $1.28 billion in aviation security fees are diverted from TSA operations annually, ostensibly to fund deficit reduction, leaving the agency without the funds it needs to acquire the improved technology necessary to better identify threats. This is unacceptable and puts American lives at risk.

Link to letter

Link to hearing

Link to joint statement

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978