A senior Transportation Security Administration official told House members at a Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday that Cuba that no agreement exists between the U.S. and Cuba to permit air marshals on board scheduled flights between the two nations, despite prior claims officials made.
The information surfaced just two weeks after scheduled service between the U.S. and Cuba resumed for the first time in 50 years.
TSA Deputy Administrator Huban Gowadia said that air marshals are only allowed on charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba presently, because the Cuban government has not signed the agreement U.S. officials gave the communist regime back in August to expand the marshal service to scheduled flights. Only a draft agreement was approved by the Department of State and sent to Cuba, which was never returned.
“You misled the American public… and you did it at a time right before the flights were supposed to start,” said New York Republican Rep. John Katko, chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee.
“That’s the type of thing that causes rifts between agencies and oversight.”
The Homeland Security Committee put forth a bill to halt commercial flights to Cuba until a full security review happens at the country’s 10 airports.