Neffenger explained that he found “systematic problems” with the training of agents and their use of the equipment, and forced all employees to go through a two-month period of retraining.
Prior to Neffenger taking over, many whistleblowers had come forward with claims that employees who reported wrongdoing were reassigned or forced into early retirement.
“I discontinued directed reassignments explicitly,” Neffenger said. “I don’t tolerate that. It’s illegal, unethical and most of those people doing directed reassignments no longer work at the agency.”
“So if there are people watching this at TSA who feel they are being wrongfully retaliated against, you’re saying you have an open door?” Representative Elijah E. Cummings asked.
“They can come directly to me,” Neffenger replied.
Many Republican lawmakers favor privatizing the beleaguered agency, while many Democrats are calling for it to remain a government body and for Congress to increase funding.
"Certainly some of the challenges that they're facing right now could be alleviated if they got all of the funding that we would like to see them have," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday. "So once again, a problem that people have noticed can be traced back pretty directly to the inability of Republicans in Congress to govern the country."