Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., strongly endorsed Pistole’s nomination, pointing to his long law enforcement career. Prior to serving as FBI deputy director, Pistole worked in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Pistole, 53, joined the FBI in 1983. “I am confident that John Pistole is ready and qualified to lead this agency effectively,” Rockefeller said in a statement.
But qualifications are not the only issue. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, urged Pistole to maintain the current TSA ban on collective bargaining that is in place for nearly 50,000 transportation security officers. She said allowing TSOs to engage in bargaining would threaten the security of the nation. Pistole did not offer any opinion about bargaining rights.
American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage said in a statement posted on the AFGE Web site that the Senate should move ahead and confirm Pistole without engaging in a protracted anti-labor debate.
“No senator should let an anti-labor bias interfere with the urgent need for a top Homeland Security official to be put in place,” Gage said. “Facts do matter. It is untrue that any collective bargaining agreement would impede national security. It is untrue that TSA personnel would have to first check with their union reps before acting in an emergency situation.”
To see more, go to: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings (Hearing), or http://tinyurl.com/2wtvx8u (AFGE).