Former TSA nominee Erroll Southers goes from The Hill to home

After coming under fire from at least two fronts, Erroll Southers, the man nominated to lead the Transportation Security Administration called it quits yesterday.

In a statement, Southers outlines the reasons for his decision:

While I have more than thirty years experience in the law enforcement and homeland security environment, my experience in navigating Washington is admittedly limited. I came prepared as a law enforcement professional to outline my vision for strengthening the Transportation Security Administration and doing my part of make the homeland safer, but perhaps I did not prepare enough to address politically charged issues such as unionization. I understand that Senator DeMint has serious concerns about any effort to unionize the TSA workforce – and I respect that and tried unsuccessfully to meet with him about that – but ultimately that policy decision would have been made at levels in the Administration above me. I went into the hearings with an open mind about the union question with the intention of assessing its potential positive or negative impact after I addressed more pressing issues – primarily security vulnerabilities that exist in our aviation and transportation security. I am disappointed to have to withdraw my nomination, particularly in light of the aviation vulnerabilities that were apparent after the Christmas terror incident and at a time when TSA needs leadership more than ever.

This afternoon at 1 pm EST, we’ll talk In Depth with Erroll Southers about the nomination process, where he believes his nomination went wrong, and his view of what the next nominee might face.


Yesterday, a former TSA chief of staff, Ralph Basham, told the Federal Drive the next nominee will face many of the same challenges. For more on that, click here.