January 20th, 2010
08:40 AM ET
4 years ago

TSA nominee withdraws name

The Obama administration's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, according to the White House.
The Obama administration's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, according to the White House.

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, according to the White House.

Erroll Southers, assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence at Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama in early September.

He came under fire from the GOP for testimony before Congress in which Senate Republicans claim he gave incomplete information about accessing a federal database for personal reasons. The move led to a censure from the FBI.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, also spearheaded GOP objections to Southers based on concerns over the TSA becoming unionized.

Specifically, DeMint and other Republicans have expressed concern that collective bargaining - a union tactic allowing workers to organize together and negotiate on issues such as hoursand wages - would be allowed if Southers takes over.

"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 in a written statement.

"This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue."

Obama "believes that Erroll Southers would have been an excellent TSA Administrator but understands his personal decision and the choice he has made," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Wednesday.

The dispute over Southers' confirmation came as the agency is under the microscope after the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines plane heading to Detroit, Michigan. Gale Rossides, a holdover from the Bush administration, is serving as acting TSA director.

- CNN's Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report


Filed under: Homeland Security • TSA
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Dan

    The first casualty of the major tide against the people who believe they can ignore the people for long.
    You can fool some people for long time, all the people for short time, but you cannot fool the majority of the people for over a year !!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  2. southerncousin

    Get off this ship quick, we have sprung a leak.

    January 20, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Another "great" choice from the current administration! All part of the "machine"?

    January 20, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  4. J

    Typical political logjam – thanks to the Republicans.

    January 20, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  5. Blutarski

    Obama can't get Democrats and Independants to vote for Martha Jokely in Ted Kennedy's home state, and now he can't even fill his posts with his loser selections. An impotent loser surrounded by losers.

    January 20, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  6. chris l

    The Radical Liberal Party is in complete chaos.

    January 20, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Francis Marion

    It is a shame that someone like DeMint can hold up nominations that put our country at risk.

    January 20, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Obama – please NO MORE LEFTIST LOONS in the government!

    January 20, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    OK – so what person would the RepubliCAN'Ts pick? Who do they have in mind that will do a better job than SOUTHERS? Name someone NOW so Americans will be SAFE!!!

    Always NO and NO SOLUTIONS!!

    January 20, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Gary

    Good riddance! Now, maybe we can get someone who is qualified, and is a patriot.

    January 20, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Alan

    Good things are already starting to happen as the result of Brown's election.

    Maybe there is hope for this country after all!!

    January 20, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. MattMan

    Another win for America.

    Today is the beginning of real change!!

    January 20, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. No Unions

    NO government job should be unionized. elected government office should be a paid position. No elected government office should offer retirement or anything at taxpayer expenses. Run for and hold government office at your own expense not ht taxpayer. This is the root of the entitlement mentality problem we have today.

    January 20, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. TBA

    The only reason GOP was against him is " Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, also spearheaded GOP objections to Southers based on concerns over the TSA becoming unionized." CNN basically hit it right on the nose, there is no exsample or proof that TSA will be unionized.

    January 20, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Carnoe Morales

    Too bad that Obama's picks for his government are mostly all Chicago "organizer" thugs. These community organizer thugs are the same thing as the old-style Chicago gangsters, stronghanding and threatening to beat up on those who reject their ideas. Get this bunch out of the white house immediately. Many of them can't even read and write.

    January 20, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Reny

    When a Repub wins the White House payback will be so sweet!!!

    January 20, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Rauwsdower

    Thank God. And the first thing he wants to do is unionize the TSA. Forget about our safety....Just what do we do if we want to make a quick change to our safety procedures...ask the stupid union..He is a jerk. 100%.

    January 20, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Someone censured by the FBI should never have been nominated. For someone who promised change Obama has assembled a collection of the ethically challenged, tax cheats annd lobbyists for his cabinet and top officials. I guess that's 'change' in Chicago politics.

    January 20, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. Anthony In Miami

    I think people should just start being called out for what they stand for and who they are. Jim DeMint also has made it known that he wants to make sure the President fails at everything. I guess people haven't suffered enough for the BS to stop! If he is qualified enough to have been the head of the LA operation and the President felt he was the man for the job, why do this? Oh, what about the FBI conducting what amounts to warrantless wire taps! But I guess since that happen between 2004 and 2006 and with a Republican Majority, it was okay.

    January 20, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. nomorepoliticsplease

    once again.........people playing politics......throwing a monkey wrench in the works. Sorry, mr. deminted......the fact is, in this country, regardless of the business or company, workers are allowed to consider if they want to become a part of a union.......it's up to the workers. If they are happy, they don't need unionization, and probably wouldn't even consider it.......who are YOU, DeMint, to say that they can't? Now look what you've done.........

    January 20, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Alex L.

    This article is full of grammatical mistakes, Suzanne Malveaux. It's a chore to read.

    Back to the point: What an immature, selfish statement by Southers. Yes, republicans will criticize your credentials if you're a democrat trying to run for an important position. This happens in almost every case where suspicious activity is evident. The fact that he says "...it is clear that MY nomination has become a lightning rod..."– No. It's because you're suspected of a felony and promote collective bargaining tactics, something that the majority of Americans do not like.

    January 20, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. Chad from Tampa

    It's all starting to unravel for the Dems.... FINALLY!

    January 20, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It seems that Republicans are trying to have it both ways - critize Obama for not having someone and stalling when he does have someone. You just have to love this dilema.

    January 20, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. John L. - NYC

    I don't care what he did decades ago but his keen interest in opening up the TSA to unionization is reckless and a transparent political and partisan move (to use his own language) for an administration that gets a significant amount of support from unions.

    Can you imagine an alert at the airport going off and a unionized TSA employee saying, "sorry, my shift is over" or "I don't work on that machine, i carry the bins back to the front of the line." WHAT? There are people trying to kill us and they're worried about "break."

    God forbid there would need to be changes to the system to respond to a threat. We'd be in negotiation for months trying to move one guy from here to there. You've got to be kidding me.

    When my safety is at stake, there is no place for that kind of nonsense. Period. Good riddance to this guy.

    January 20, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. t22

    The second casualty of yesterday's election.

    January 20, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
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