Embattled TSA nominee withdraws

Erroll Southers, President Obama's embattled choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration, Wednesday abruptly withdrew his nomination, which had been stalled for weeks amid GOP objections, congressional aides confirmed.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., had led the opposition to Southers, who was hailed by law enforcement and union officials and had support from Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ranking member Susan Collins.

DeMint had raised questions about whether Southers would support efforts to unionize TSA screeners. DeMint and a handful of other GOP senators also complained that he was not forthcoming about improperly accessing FBI data 20 years ago.

Southers, a 30-year veteran of public safety and counterterrorism programs at the local, state and federal level, won unanimous approval in November from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Prior to receiving the committee's endorsement, Southers admitted in an affidavit that he had been censured by FBI higher-ups 20 years ago for asking a San Diego police employee to run a background check on his estranged wife's then-boyfriend.

But after the panel approved his nomination, Southers wrote a letter to senators saying that he actually had twice run background checks himself.

In a statement, Southers said his 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. This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue."

Southers is assistant chief in charge of security and intelligence at Los Angeles International Airport's police department. In addition to serving at the FBI, he also was deputy director of the California Office of Homeland Security.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.