Committee Postpones Southers Hearing

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Panel to reschedule meeting to assess union backed nominee

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called off a meeting late Wednesday in which it was to consider the nomination of Earl Southers to be the new head of the Transportation Security Administration.

The committee may reschedule the meeting on Thursday, according to a committee spokeswoman.

Southers, currently in charge of the homeland security and intelligence for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, won the endorsement of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents some 12,000 TSA security officers. He testified before the committee on Nov. 10.

In a statement on Tuesday, the union urged the committee to approve Southers’ nomination, saying “TSA is in desperate need of a strong, knowledgeable leader to fulfill its incredibly important mission of ensuring safety for the flying public. The combination of Mr. Southers' education, experience and commitment to security and justice make him ideally suited to lead TSA."

Southers’ nomination had earlier won approval from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. But he also ran into some tough questioning before the Homeland Security panel, where Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked him about the FBI’s decision to issue a censure to him in 1988 over his use of a police database in a personal situation.

Contact R.G. Edmonson at [email protected]

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