The cynic in me will call this a post-election day morning news dump, but nevertheless, it is something to celebrate. Erroll Southers, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration, has withdrawn his name from consideration, a Senate aide confirmed Wednesday.
While on first glance it seemed that Southers had the qualifications to run the TSA, recent revelations cast doubt on his ability to successfully head the agency charged with protecting travelers from terror:
- Lying/Abuse of Power: Southers first told the Senate that he asked a co-worker’s husband who worked for the San Diego Police Department at the time to run a background check on his ex-wife’s boyfriend. But a day after the panel referred his nomination to the Senate, Southers told lawmakers that he twice conducted database searches himself, downloaded confidential law enforcement records about the boyfriend and then passed the information on to the police department employee.
- Doesn’t Understand Terrorism: In the video below Southers is asked Just how important is our “war on terror” in the nation’s priorities? Southers begins his answer by blaming our friendship with Israel and France for al-Qaeda’s attacks.
“Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France — countries that are seen by groups, by al Qaeda, as infidels or anti-Islamic — by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we subject to be attacked as well.”
In this interview with Video Jug, Southers claimed that the war on terror had “some parity” with such issues as Global Warming and education, supersedes them in importance because other government initiatives cannot flourish as long as terrorism remains a serious threat.
- Unionization: If he was confirmed to run the TSA, all indications were that Southers would decide to allow the agency to be unionized. Collective bargaining,currently forbidden for the TSA, would put traveler’s lives at risk by preventing the TSA from responding rapidly to new intelligence and by replacing merit promotions with seniority schedules.
Who do you want making the final decisions regarding who gets onto your flight, the guy who has shown that he is the best at spotting bombs, or someone whose major accomplishment is not dying or getting fired the longest? Who do you want making decisions or work rules, a manager who is trying to protect travelers or a Union President? If your answer is unions, would you say the same for the military trying to protect you? How about the CIA? Would you like the next head of the CIA to be Murry from the mail room who has been on the job for 50 years? OK, that last one is an extreme but you get the idea.
It was these issues that caused Republicans in the Senate to block Southers nomination and today he decided (more likely it was decided for him) to withdraw.
“I was extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the Transportation Security Administration and fulfill Secretary Napolitano’s objective to develop it into the best organization of its kind in the world,” Southers said in a statement released by the White House Wednesday morning. “However, it is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology. I have decided, after deep reflection and in consultation with my family and friends to respectfully withdraw my name from consideration for confirmation as the assistant secretary for the TSA.
“It is clear that my nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people,” Southers said. “This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue. The TSA has important work to be done and I regret I will not be part of their success. I would like to thank the President, Secretary Napolitano and all of the people at the Department of Homeland Security who worked tirelessly to successfully move my nomination through two Senate committees during the past seven months.”
Sorry Erroll but you were the wrong person for the Job.