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Four separate hearings slated this week by House Homeland Security Committee

Cannon House Office Building,
scene of four upcoming hearings

The House Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a full slate of hearings during the coming week, with no less than four separate sessions slated on a wide range of security-related topics.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the full committee will tackle one of the Republicans’ favorite subjects, Obamacare, with a session entitled, Cyber Side-Effects: How Secure is the Personal Information Entered into the Flawed Healthcare.gov?

“Healthcare.gov’s flaws aren’t merely about trying to access the site, there are larger issues yet to be resolved,” said committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). “Americans are entering their most sensitive personal data into the website and now the same people who told us the system would work are telling us it is secure. As Americans start to submit their personal information, we must examine how safe that information is once it’s placed on Healthcare.gov, the federal healthcare exchanges and the Datahub.”

Witnesses will include Roberta Stempfley, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS; Soraya Correa, Associate Director, Enterprise Services Directorate, at US Citizenship and Immigration Services; and Luke Chung, President, FMS, Inc.

This hearing will take place in Room 311 of the Cannon House Office Building, beginning at 10 am.

On the same day, and in the same room, but beginning at 2 pm, the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence will hold a session entitled, The Insider Threat to Homeland Security: Examining Our Nation’s Security Clearance Processes.

"Appalling events over recent years involving trusted individuals who have damaged national security or committed tragic acts of violence has put a spotlight on the need for reforms and rigorous oversight over the security clearance process,” said subcommittee chairman, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), in a notice posted on the committee’s Web site. “It is vital that more is done to identify potential insider threats. The Department of Homeland Security has approximately 70,000 employees with a security clearance and this hearing will review the quality of the investigative and adjudicative process, as well as other insider threat detection programs." (Comparable statements from the committee’s ranking Democrats were not posted on the same Web site.)

Witnesses at this hearing will include Brenda Farrell, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Military and DoD Civilian Personnel Issues at the GAO; Gregory Marshall, Chief Security Officer at DHS; Brian Prioletti, Assistant Director, Special Security Directorate, National Counterintelligence Executive, Office of Director of National Intelligence; and Merton Miller, Associate Director of Investigations, Federal Investigative Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The next day, on Thursday, Nov. 14, the subcommittee on transportation security will hold a hearing on a late-breaking topic, TSA's SPOT Program and Initial Lessons From the LAX Shooting.

“In the wake of last week’s tragic shooting at LAX, we have a responsibility to re-examine existing TSA security policies and programs, in order to identify practical, risk-based steps that can be taken to strengthen coordination between local law enforcement and TSA, and to prioritize security measures more effectively,” explained Rep. Richard Hudsn (R-NC), the subcommittee’s chairman, in a prepared statement. “The Subcommittee’s hearing on TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) Program is a timely opportunity to review whether this program and others are an effective and efficient use of resources. I look forward to discussing the SPOT program with Administrator Pistole and the other witnesses, initial lessons from the LAX shooting, and TSA’s plans for a comprehensive review of aviation security procedures.”

The list of expected witnesses includes John Pistole, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration; Daniel Gerstein, Acting Under Secretary, Science & Technology Directorate at DHS; Stephen Lord, Managing Director, Forensic Audits and Investigative Service at the GAO; and Charles Edwards, Deputy Inspector General, at DHS.

That hearing will take place in the same committee room, beginning at 9:30 AM.

Finally, on Friday, the subcommittee on oversight and management efficiency will examine the subject, DHS Financial Management: Investigating DHS’s Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars.

“Since its inception 10 years ago, the Department of Homeland Security has faced a multitude of challenges in combining 22 separate legacy agencies into one cabinet-level department,” noted subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). “This is especially true with financial management practices at DHS. The Department’s inability to have an accurate and timely handle on its financial information remains a major management challenge. If the American people can open up their checking account online and know to the penny how much they have, then surely the third largest federal department should also have real-time financial data. DHS has a fundamental duty to be an effective steward of taxpayer dollars. Using sound financial practices is critical to ensuring taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted and the homeland is secured in an efficient and effective way.”

The two scheduled witnesses at this hearing are Chip Fulghum, Acting Chief Financial Officer at DHS and Asif Khan, Director, Financial Management and Assurance, GAO.

Government Security News welcomes comparable statements from the committee’s Democrats to provide their perspectives on these topics.

 
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