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TSA nominee to face Senate grilling today

(The following story by R.G. Edmonson appeared on The Journal of Commerce website on June 9, 2010.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration’s third nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration faces the Senate Commerce Committee for his nomination hearing on Thursday morning.

The president nominated John S. Pistole, a veteran FBI official, on May 17 after his two previous candidates withdrew their names from consideration.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pistole has been the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence and counterterrorism unit. The president called his experience “a valuable asset to our administration's efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports.”

Pistole may face tough questions from Commerce Committee Republicans opposed to unionization of TSA security officers, according to The Washington Post. The same issue arose with the administration’s first nominee, Erroll Southers, who directed homeland security for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department.

The committee approved Southers’ nomination last November, but withdrew it in January, blaming “political ideology” after Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. placed a hold on his confirmation.

Robert Harding, the administration’s second choice, who was nominated in March, withdrew after his hearing in May.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

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