Lankford: “All of us are grateful for the folks that are standing there in blue and doing a great job.”
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today questioned Mr. David Pekoske, Administrator for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), at an Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing to review the President’s fiscal year 2021 budget request for the TSA. Lankford’s questions focused on the status of TSA’s efforts to secure our nation’s airports, specifically the 30 largest airports, from the safety and security threats of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); TSA’s efforts to prevent an airborne fentanyl attack on an aircraft; and general TSA security efforts and whether the agency’s funding levels are appropriate to carry out operations. Lankford also applauded TSA agents in Oklahoma airports for their diligent work to continue to keep us safe in airports and in the skies.
(00:00- 00:50) Lankford: Thanks for being here. Thanks for the work. All of us, and I mean all of us, go through the process of TSA. All of us are grateful for the folks that are standing there in blue and doing a great job. I will tell you, in the airports that I fly out of, Oklahoma and Tulsa City the most, I fly out of Oklahoma City more often than I do out of Tulsa, it’s a remarkable group of folks that are there. What they do and the attitude they do it with, the speed and the efficiency they do it with, they’re really a tremendous group of folks. If you get the opportunity to come to Oklahoma City and to Tulsa and to be able to meet those folks, I’d encourage you to be able to do it and to be able to see how they’re doing it because they’re really doing it extremely well. I know they’re in a process in our airport, taking time to be able to merge several sites and doing a lot of other parts they’re doing right now. They’re really doing a remarkable job.
(04:33-end) Lankford: I would only say I know that Customs and Border Patrol and other folks are working on technology to do rapid scanning for things like fentanyl, opioids and other things that are coming in. Once they’re transported into the system as you mentioned before, if someone gets through in the system and in the airport they can get through to every airport on it. If drugs and contrabands and other things are getting in and some of those could be airborne and released and become lethal or become an issue as well. All of those technologies, I would encourage you to work with other areas of DHS and the technology they’re using for screening to see if there’s a way to actually build that in the algorithm of what we’re using for screening as well. There are several different companies that are out there that do the rapid testing like you do for explosives on your hands for random testing. They do that exact same type of testing to be able to actually test for fentanyl and other things as well. That might also be helpful to us do be able to some other detection and that might be something that can be built into the screening that you already do so it’s not a second type of test. But if you ‘re already doing that swab, it would show up as well in that algorithm. If there are ways that we can help or things you need engagement on, I’d be pleased to be able to continue to see your work on that.
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