Tester: We Can’t Have Gaps in Our National Security

Senator Continues Push to Install Full Body Scanners in Montana Airports

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today continued his effort to increase the safety of Montanans by pushing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to install the most technologically advanced security equipment in rural airports across the country.

During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Tester demanded an update from TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger on the progress of installing full body scanners in rural commercial airports across the U.S. Recently, airports in Helena and Great Falls made infrastructure improvements to create space for full body scanners, but the TSA has yet to deliver and install the scanners.

“Providing inferior security equipment to Montana’s airports in unacceptable,” Tester said. “We can’t afford to have any gaps in our national security.”

John Roth, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, added that “there is a cause for concern” regarding the security of rural airports that do not have full body scanners.

Neffenger stated that the TSA will soon put forward a recommendation to Congress that outlines the funding needed to purchase and install the most technologically advanced security equipment in rural airports across the country.

Tester also asked Neffenger to reassess the airport employee screening process, which is different than the passenger screening process, to eliminate the possibility of any insider security threats.

Tester recently met with met with John Faulkner, Director of the Great Falls International Airport, and toured the security checkpoints that would be upgraded with a fully body scanner.

In April, Tester successfully added an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill to study the feasibility of installing full body scanners in every airport across the country.

Last year, Tester passed legislation that strengthened the Visa Waiver Program by requiring all travelers from participating countries to undergo rigorous screenings if they have traveled to Iraq or Syria within the past five years.