Transportation Security Administration chief, John Pistole, declined to testify before Congress' Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation — reported CNN.
Pistole had been requested to address the impact of the TSA's policies on passengers and the airline industry. But he claims the panel has no jurisdiction over TSA matters. "No representative from TSA will be present," Pistole said in a statement.
The Transportation Committee, chaired by Florida Republican John Mica, has been critic of the TSA due to its inefficiency — which translates into long lines, poor logistics and complaints about privacy issues.
And now, Pistole's refusal to appear before Congress ads insult to injury; especially since the committee insists it does have legislative jurisdiction when it comes to the airline industry. The official body also says it has jurisdiction over passengers, and that these actually finance TSA operations (through security fees).
Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for the committee says, "TSA is missing the point." "While this committee does not have direct legislative jurisdiction over TSA, that agency, as with any other agency, has a responsibility to provide congressionally requested testimony or information," he added.
Meanwhile, Pistole said TSA would continue to work with "committees of jurisdiction" on agency matters. He added that TSA witnesses have already testified at 38 hearings and provided 425 briefings for lawmakers during this session of Congress.