TSA's Head of Airport Security Removed from Office
If you've traveled through US airports any time in the past couple of weeks, you've heard about (or experienced) the long wait times at TSA security checkpoints across the country. You've been told to get TSA PreCheck to get expedited security, and you've probably been advised to get to the airport significantly earlier than you normally would. It's caused a lot of frustration on all ends — from the airlines to the cities where these airports are located to the passengers who've missed trips they've been planning for months.
And now, following all of the agency's troubles, one of the top TSA officials, Kelly Hoggan, has been removed from his position. Hoggan was the TSA's assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations, a position he held since 2013, and was in charge of security and managing daily field operations for more than 50,000 employees at approximately 440 airports around the country. Hoggan was removed from office following a hearing about the agency's management by the House Oversight Committee.
TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger outlined a series of leadership changes in an email obtained from the TSA on Monday, including that the current deputy assistant Darby LaJoye will temporarily take over for Hoggan. During the House Oversight Committee hearing, Neffenger said that he didn't have plans to fire Hoggan, but he didn't believe Hoggan's more than $90,000 in bonuses between November 2013 and November 2014 was justified.
Going forward, there's no telling how this will affect TSA security wait times across the country, especially in the short term. However, according to NPR, there are some plans in place:
Congress gave the TSA authority to hire more than 700 new screeners, who are expected by mid-June, and the agency is redeploying others. It will also be making additional use of canine teams to help screen passengers, as well as stepping up marketing of the TSA Pre-Check program, which allows passengers who undergo a background check and pay $85 to go through expedited screening.
Hopefully with the new change, we'll see some improvements at security checkpoints across the country, especially with more travelers expected to fly this summer than ever before.