Poor leadership and a culture of retaliation are making it harder for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to address security gaps, employees of the agency said Wednesday.

TSA employees told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that workers are afraid to speak up about problems at the agency and feel as though they will be unfairly punished, despite promises of protection from TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger.

“You should be alarmed and concerned with these issues, because TSA employees are less likely to report operational security threats or relevant issues out of fear of retaliation,” said Mark Livingston, program manager for TSA’s office of the chief risk officer. “No one who reports issues is safe at TSA.”

The agency ranked as one of the worst places to work in federal government last year, coming in at 313 out of 320 in the annual survey by Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit.

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