The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the folks in the airports who check your luggage, etc. Honestly they are much more than that, the TSA consists of 50,000 security officers, inspectors, directors, air marshals and managers who protect the nation’s transportation systems so we can travel safely.
On first glance the President’s Appointment of Erroll Southers to run the TSA made sense. He is a former FBI agent and the LA Airport Police’s Director of Homeland Security and intelligence.
But on second glance there are many concerns for example his stance on Unions. If he is confirmed to run the TSA, Southers would decide whether the organization collectively bargains over security procedures. 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.
Southers has refused to state whether he would change TSA policy on collective bargaining, but union reaction to his appointment can provide hints:
Erroll Southers currently is the department’s chief of homeland security and intelligence. His name had been floated for the federal job earlier this year and was warmly received by unions and airport screeners, who say Southers will embrace collective bargaining for screeners.
Now “the question of bargaining rights at TSA is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when,’ ” said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, in a statement applauding the choice. “We are confident that the appointment of Mr. Southers as administrator will help put that matter to bed.”
Then there was the censure he received when he was an FBI Agent. Erroll Southers had a background check run on his ex-wife’s new boyfriend. Can you imagine if Bush nominated someone with that kind of abuse of power in his background?:
Erroll Southers, who was serving as an FBI special agent at the time of the censure, asked a co-worker’s husband who worked for the San Diego Police Department to run a background check on his ex-wife’s boyfriend.
Under questioning by Collins, Southers said that he has not misused government databases to receive personal information on anyone since the incident and that he would not do so in the future.
Collins did not describe the incident during Tuesday’s hearing, instead referring only to an “issue” that led to the censure.
Southers gave a detailed account in his written responses that were released Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The boyfriend had moved in with my ex-wife, from whom I had separated only a short time before, and I was concerned for the safety of her and my infant son, who was also living with them,” he wrote. “The database search revealed an outstanding warrant for his arrest, about which I informed my ex-wife.”
“I recognize that it was a mistake to have used my official connections to investigate the matter,” Southers said.
Southers worked as an FBI special agent from 1984 to 1988. He told lawmakers Tuesday that he left the FBI about six months after the censure for unrelated reasons.
The FBI has not provided a copy of the censure to the Senate committee, Collins said.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said he could not comment on the case for privacy reasons. A letter of censure could be filed for many reasons and would not necessary limit an FBI agent’s advancement, depending on the offense and mitigating circumstances, he said.
Gee, Illegal background checks and supporting Unions over the needs of the American People….this guy is going to fit right in.