The Obama administration’s choice to lead the struggling Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, just weeks after revelations that he had provided misleading information to Congress prompted several Republicans to suggest that his nomination would not move forward without a fight.
Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and homeland security specialist, was presented as a leader who would improve the TSA’s sprawling operations and enhance passenger screening to prevent such attacks as the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.
But GOP opposition to Southers escalated rapidly after The Washington Post reported that he had given Congress and the White House misleading information about incidents two decades ago in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database to obtain information about his estranged wife’s new boyfriend, possibly in violation of privacy laws.
In a statement released by the White House, Southers blamed congressional critics motivated by “political ideology” for the troubles that overshadowed his nomination.
“It is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology,” he said. “. . . My nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people. This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue.”
Now, let me get this straight – Southers admittedly made a bad decision, but under Rethugly rule –
The FBI fabricated terrorism emergencies to obtain thousands of phone records between 2002 and 2006, it’s been revealed.
The Bureau created “exigent letters” to get around rules that had already been significantly loosened by the Patriot Act. The letters were used to obtain some 2,000 phone records, The Washington Post reports.
The internal concerns were confirmed in emails that are part of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which is due to report this month.
As well as fabricating emergencies, FBI counter-terror investigators obtained phone records by simply leaning on operators, getting approval after the fact with blanket authorisations.
The Patriot Act allowed investigators to effectively self-certify their requests for communications data, using a “National Security Letter” (NSL), a type of subpoena without judicial oversight. The Justice Department has found that by fabricating emergencies and sending NSLs after it had obtained phone records, the FBI violated what civil liberties protections remained.
In response, the FBI claimed that although it did not follow statutory process to obtain the records, they were all legitimate targets for investigation.
I mean – shouldn’t some Rethuglican’s ass be in jail by now?