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National Defense > Blog > Posts > Napolitano: Please Don’t Yell at TSA and Customs Agents About Sequestration
Napolitano: Please Don’t Yell at TSA and Customs Agents About Sequestration
By Stew Magnuson



The first weekend of sequestration kicked off with long lines at airports as the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection were forced to cut back on the number of officers manning checkpoints.
 
“Please don’t yell at the customs officers and the TSA officers. They are not responsible for sequestration,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said March 4 at a talk sponsored by Politico.
 
The long lines are a direct result of the elimination or reduction of overtime for TSA and customs officers — as well as a hiring freeze — necessitated by the Budget Control Act, she said.
 
Long lines were reported over the weekend at Chicago’s O’Hare and Los Angeles International Airport, Napolitano said. The New York airports got through the weekend okay, she said, “but that will be temporary.”
 
“I don’t mean to scare. I mean to inform. If you’re traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would, there is only so much we can do with the personnel … As a matter of sequestration, this is happening and will continue to happen,” she said.
 
“There is very little we can do to mitigate it … We are not going to cut back on those security needs. The end result is fewer people doing the same things. Lines are going to get longer.”
 
Furlough notices are going out to DHS employees, she said.
 
The Secret Service, another DHS component, is taking a 5 percent cut out of its operating account amounting to $84 million.
 
There won’t be any reductions to presidential security, she said. The cuts will come on the investigative side, where officers pursue identity theft, cybercrime and counterfeiting cases. “A lot of those activities are being cut back,” she said.

Photo Credit: Department of Homeland Security

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