January 4, 2010

Terror Strike Out

Hatched by Dafydd

The Washington Examiner notes that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC, 100%) has put a "hold" on Erroll Southers, Barack H. Obama's nominee to head up the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). The Senate has not yet acted on Southers' nomination for two good reasons.

First, there is DeMint's hold, which is due to Southers' refusal so far to answer one simple question:

DeMint won't withdraw his hold until Southers answers a simple question -- does he think TSA employees should be allowed to collectively bargain with the government on workplace rules and procedures? To date, Southers has declined to give a definitive response to DeMint's question, even though it's importance was highlighted by the attempted Christmas Day massacre of nearly 300 people aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The 23-year-old Nigerian Muslim terrorist boarded the Detroit-bound flight despite having explosives sewn into his knickers.

(Hat tip to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.)

Second, the Senate has dilly-dallied in taking up the nomination because Southers has been too busy giving false testimony to that august body, and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME, 20%) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 85% Dem) have been holding his nose to the fire about it. Again, we turn to Power-Line Paul:

It looks like Erroll Southers, the Obama administration's nominee to head the TSA, corrected his testimony about his abuse of his position with the FBI only after Senator Susan Collins learned that his tesimony was inconsistent with FBI records and asked him to account for the inconsistency. To summarize this situation, about which I wrote here, In an affidavit, Southers admitted to Congress that he was censured by the FBI in 1988 for using his position to gain access to data about his ex-wife's new boyfriend. He claimed that he had asked a co-worker's husband who worked for the police to run the database search. When Senator Collins asked Southers whether this was the only case in which he engaged in this serious abuse, he testified that it was.

Later, however, Southers sent a letter to Collins and Senator Lieberman (the two key members of the Senate Homeland Security Committe) stating that on two occasions, not one, he misused his position to gain access to information about the "boyfriend." Moreover, he did not ask the police to run the search; rather, he ran it himself and passed the information on to the police....

The chronology set out in today's Washington Post answers the question. On November 19, Senator Collins voted in committee in favor of Southers' nomination. However, she did so "conditionally" and asked him to account in writing for the inconsistencies between his testimony and FBI documents she had reviewed. On November 20, Southers sent the letter to Senators Collins and Lieberman correcting the record. By that point, he had no choice.

Collins and Lieberman have indicated that, regardless of his lack of candor in previous testimony and his admitted (multiple) abuses of his authority, they're ready to vote to confirm Southers anyway.

(And why not? When the Senate has already overwhelmingly (and bipartisanly) confirmed a Secretary of the Treasury who evaded his income tax, why quibble about such a little thing as using one's FBI authority to harass the ex-wife's new boyfriend -- and then lying about it to Congress? What is power for, but to abuse one's enemies?)

But let's get back to the unionization issue. Jim DeMint has his own question, but I have mine: Suppose after extending "collectivization" (unionizing) to the TSA, they go on strike?

And what if, during that strike, a terrorist boards an airplane (as did Abdulmutallab), uses a non-defective ignition system this time, and blows up the plane over a populated area, killing hundreds of people? How will the American citizenry react to such a concatenation of events -- a barbaric terrorist attack on us directly enabled by "labor action" in the TSA, action which has the blessing of Obama's new appointee to head up that very agency?

Does the president understand the risk he's running? Does he understand the words "aborting his own presidency?"

For the most selfish of all reasons, Barack Obama should seriously rethink his appointment of Errol Southers to such a critical position as Administrator of the TSA. It's one of those "serious" appointments, like Secretary of Defense or Attorney General; not a mere political plum -- like Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, or something.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 4, 2010, at the time of 12:30 AM

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» Life Goes On: Adios, Erroll Southers from Big Lizards
The week in politics just keeps getting better and better. In a brief and happy follow-up to an earlier post on Big Lizards, Terror Strike Out, we are pleased to report that Barack H. Obama's nominee to head up the... [Read More]

Tracked on January 20, 2010 4:55 PM


The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn

The President and the rest of the Democrats, with support from some Republicans, do not consider national security or public safety to be the goal of TSA or DHS. They look on it as a jobs program that can be milked for contributions by a highly political union. If a terrorist act occurred as you described, the union, the Democrats and the lapdog media would blame anyone who had not caved in to the union's demands. There would be a voter backlash, but it would be minimized by the left elite's control of the media.

The above hissed in response by: Ken Hahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 4, 2010 3:51 AM

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