Head of TSA security ousted amid bonus backlash, airport delays

- The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration has been removed from his position in the wake of congressional scrutiny over agency mismanagement. Kelly Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over 13 months, despite failures in security screening tests and coast-to-coast frustration over airport lines.

Drew Rhoades, an Assistant Federal Security  Director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, filed a whistleblower complaint with TSA last year on the bonus issue.  Rhoades complained that TSA managers making more than $162,000, including Hoggan, got automatic bonuses. TSA managers received those bonuses even though, according to a leaked Homeland Security report, undercover tests found weapons and fake explosive getting past security 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests. TSA has reportedly changed its bonus policy, limiting performance bonuses to $10,000 annually. KEEP READING

May 23 letter from TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to TSA senior leaders

To ensure we intensify our agency-wide focus on mission effectiveness, I have directed several leadership and operational changes at the national, regional and airport levels.

Effective immediately, Deputy Assistant Administrator Darby LaJoye will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator of the Office of Security Operations. Darby LaJoye is an experienced Federal Security Director with successful leadership tours at two of the nation’s largest airports, Los Angeles International Airport in California and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. His strong leadership and proven operational expertise have driven a renewed agency-wide focus on security effectiveness.

At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, a new leadership team is now overseeing screening operations and is supported by several screening experts from across the country. This strong leadership team and the talented workforce at O’Hare have made immediate adjustments that have dramatically improved passenger throughput, even as volume increased beyond 90,000 passengers a day.

I have appointed Director Rod Allison of the Federal Air Marshal Service as the Deputy Chief of Operations. In this capacity, he will support our new Chief of Operations, Gary Rasicot, with integrating the full range of our counterterrorism capabilities. They will direct nationwide screening operations and oversee daily allocation of forces and capabilities to respond to threats as well as mission essential needs.

Additionally, we have established an Incident Command Center at TSA Headquarters. Using nationally-accepted incident management concepts, the National Incident Command Center will closely track daily screening operations, shifting officers, canine resources, the National Deployment Force and other resources to meet mission demands in advance of predicted passenger volume.

These adjustments will enable more focused leadership and screening operations at critical airports in the national transportation system.

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