The attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight by the Burnt-Ball-Boxer-Bomer has re-ignited debate over President Obama’s nominee for chief of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which has been without a permanent leader since Obama took office.
The TSA are the folks at airports who watch you go through the metal detectors, check your luggage, etc. There role is much more than what you see at the Airport gate, 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.
It took the president eight months to nominate someone to run the TSA, but the confirmation of his nominee Erroll Southers, has been held up since then by objections from Senator Jim DeMint. Today many of the liberal pundits have been whining about DeMint’s block of Southers calling it an act of union busting. Southers quest for unionization is part of the DeMint’s rationale, but their explanation if DeMint’s motives, even the unionization segment, is much too simplistic.
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 delving into it, there are many concerns. Lets start with the big issue 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. 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 answer 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.
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 ordered 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.
Instead of being contrite, Southers tried to justify his abuse of power.
“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.
But the Senate cannot investigate the matter as the FBI has not provided a copy of the censure to the Senate committee, according to Senator Collins.
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, supporting Unions over the needs of the American people, if Southers missed a few years paying taxes he will fit right in to the Obama administration.