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Saturday, January 2, 2010

TSA Nominee: Bad Nominee, Horrible Timing

Talk about bad timing. The Obama administration's nominee for head of the Transportation Safety Administration is coming under fire. The TSA has jurisdiction over airports and air travel so the bad timing should be obvious to all. Errol Southers is that nominee and he's facing three separate bits of controversy. First, the nomination was held up by Jim DeMint of South Carolina because he felt that Southers would unionize the TSA.

As Republicans step up criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the Christmas Day bombing attempt, Democrats are seizing on the hold Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has placed on President Obama's nomination of Erroll G. Southers to head the Transportation Security Administration.

DeMint on Wednesday defended his move to block Southers as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, where he would run the TSA, the agency created after the 9/11 attacks and charged with airport security. DeMint is concerned that Southers would be too union-friendly.

It's not exactly clear what DeMint based his assertion on. Also, he initially held it up before the attempted hijacking and so it wasn't really a big news story at the time.

Since then, however, we've also learned that Southers, once an FBI agent, not only used the FBI office to run background checks on a former girlfriend but has given inconsistent statements and explanations of this affair.

President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration has provided Congress inconsistent reports about – and regrets for – running background checks on his then-estranged wife's boyfriend two decades ago.

Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent whose nomination has been delayed by Republicans for unrelated concerns, wrote to senators in November to correct what he called a distortion of his record.

The new chic political buzz word these days is optics, how things look politically. This really can't look worse. The Obama administration just fumbled, badly, the hijacking. Now, their TSA nominee is embroiled in scandal. The only thing left is sex and money in a freezer.

The Obama administration is running dangerously close to the label of incompetent permanently being placed on it and that spells the end of the administration. This nominee was clearly not vetted properly, is there a theme there. The news comes out at the worst time. Now, playing defense on the hijacking they also have to play defense on this. Not good, not good.

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