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.
"When they move ahead with the transportation security head and say his stated goal is to unionize rather than to focus on security, I think it is something we should have a discussion about on the Senate floor and have a roll call vote," DeMint told CBS News.
DeMint said President Obama "is more focused on coming through with a campaign promise to unions rather than keeping transportation security focused on the real security of American passengers."
Erroll Southers has had an impressive career in public safety and homeland security issues. Currently, he is the Assistant Chief for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department's Office of Homeland Security and Intelligence. He also serves as the Associate Director at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California, where he was previously an Adjunct Professor of terrorism, homeland security and public policy. Prior to this position he served in the Office of Governor Schwarzenegger as the Deputy Director of Homeland Security for the State of California. His career has also included serving as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and positions with the Rio Hondo Policy Academy and the Santa Monica Police Department. He is a senior fellow with the School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a Master's of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development.
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