Murkowski: TSA's "One Size Fits All" Approach Unfit For Alaska

Senator to TSA: Are Representative Cissna's Concerns Being Addressed?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today pressed Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole for answers about the TSA’s approach in Alaska – through a series of questions ranging from sensitivity to passengers with special needs, to added safety expenses being passed along to consumers, to the security risk of Alaska Native traditional clothing.

In a hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Murkowski opened up the exchange by questioning the logic of having such a high level of TSA employees staffing small Alaska rural locations like Bethel and Dillingham, when the security risk is relatively low.

She then turned to issues like that of Representative Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage), who has expressed her outrage at the invasive probing she received by TSA employees.  Murkowski asked what the TSA was doing to better serve passengers with special needs like prostheses.

Does the TSA presence in Bethel need to be so high?

Are Cissna's concerns being heard?

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While Pistole acknowledged the TSA hasn’t done a good job, he informed Murkowski that the TSA launched a call-in-advance service in December, “TSA Cares.” 10,000 people have taken advantage of the program where passengers with unique conditions and situations can call the airports in advance to make sure their screening doesn’t sacrifice their dignity.

Senator Murkowski also asked about Alaska women being asked to remove their kuspuks (qaspeq) for security concerns.