Media Blog

Obama Ends 2009 Like He Started It

With a vetting problem. Washington Post:

TSA nominee gave misleading information to Congress, documents show

The White House nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration gave Congress misleading information about incidents in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database, possibly in violation of privacy laws, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

The disclosure comes as pressure builds from Democrats on Capitol Hill for quick January confirmation of Erroll Southers, whose nomination has been held up by GOP opponents. In the aftermath of an attempted airline bombing on Christmas Day, calls have intensified for lawmakers to install permanent leadership at the TSA, a critical agency in enforcing airline security.

Southers, a former FBI agent, has described inconsistencies in his accounts to Congress as “inadvertent” and the result of poor memory of an incident that dates back 20 years. He said in a Nov. 20 letter to key senators obtained by The Post that he accepted full responsibility long ago for a “grave error in judgment” in accessing confidential criminal records about his estranged wife’s new boyfriend.

His letter to Senate homeland security Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking Republican Susan Collins (Maine), which has not been publicly disclosed, attempts to correct statements about the episode that were made in a sworn affidavit on Oct. 22 and have been previously reported.

Southers did not respond to a request for an interview, and his wife declined to comment.

Well, on a positive note, he does have experience working with databases, which seems to be a skill lacking at the DHS.

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