Former TSA nominee Erroll Southers goes from The Hill to home

Thursday - 1/21/2010, 2:07pm EST

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.