MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A top TSA official from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will testify Wednesday before a closed door U.S. House Committee on a culture of dysfunction and retaliation within the agency. Assistant Federal Security Director Andrew Rhoades brought his concerns to the Fox 9 Investigators last February. His sworn testimony will be before the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
"Never in my 30 plus years in Government, ever, have I talked to the media about issues or problems,” Rhoades told the Fox 9 Investigators. “I feel, candidly, that there are only a few times when the TSA takes action, one of them is when it gets media attention.”
Rhoades said he started to get frustrated when he noticed several security issues, like orange tags that were no longer placed on checked bags that had already been screened, and how ammunition was handled at the checkpoints. He also suspected supervisors were shaving minutes off wait times at passenger checkpoints.
Around the same time, the Fox 9 Investigators began reporting on a series of security breaches.
Falsely believing Rhoades was the leak, his boss at MSP, Federal Security Director Cliff Van Leuven ordered Rhoades transferred from Minnesota, to Tampa, Florida.
Rhoades is expected to tell the House Committee that there is a culture of retaliation at TSA that takes the form of unjustified transfers, called directed reassignments.
VanLeuven has recently come under fire for a reconfigured checkpoint system that has resulted in long lines during the Spring Break travel season.