Thump, thump, thump. With media attention focused last night on the Massachusetts Miracle, the White House found its opening to throw a disastrous homeland security nominee under the bus.
Southers blamed his withdrawal on “politics.”
But it was his deceptive answers to Congress about improperly accessing FBI files to snoop on an ex-wife’s boyfriend, coupled with his security-undermining unionization zeal and his disturbing assertion that the war on terror should be treated on par with global warming, that earned him Obama bus skid marks.
January 20, 2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement after President Obama’s nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Erroll Southers, withdrew his name from consideration:
“Americans deserve a leader at TSA with integrity and with an unwavering commitment to putting security ahead of politics. The White House never responded to requests for more information relating to Mr. Southers false testimony to Congress and his censure by the FBI for improperly accessing files. And Mr. Southers was never forthcoming about his intentions to give union bosses veto power over security decisions at our airports. TSA screeners can already join unions, but collective bargaining would force TSA officials to ask union bosses for permission to make critical security changes. The Senate could have had an open and transparent debate this week to approve Mr. Southers, but apparently, answering simple, direct questions about security and integrity were too much for this nominee. I hope the President will quickly put forward a new nominee that is fully vetted and that will put the safety of the American people first.”
On January 6th, U.S. Senators DeMint, John McCain (R-Arizona), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) wrote to the White House requesting documents and information surrounding the administrations vetting process of Mr. Southers and his censure by the FBI (PDF here). The White House never responded to the letter.
Once again, the withdrawal spotlights the Obama administration’s reckless evasions of public information requests about its nominees — and its embrace of radical nominees who show contempt for the rule of law. The Southers debacle, like the USAO nominee Stephanie Villafuerte debacle, the green jobs czar Van Jones debacle, and the Charles Freeman debacle, shows that neither the White House nor the vast majority of mainstream media outlets care about vetting at all.