Obama's TSA Nominee Pulls Out Under Fire
Says he was being used by those with a 'political agenda'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2010 8:09 AM CST
Erroll Southers, Obama's pick to run the TSA, is seen in this photo from LA's World Airports Police Department.   (AP Photo/Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, file)

(Newser) – Erroll Southers, Barack Obama's choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration, withdrew his name today, saying his nomination had become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda. Southers' confirmation has been blocked by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who says he was worried Southers would allow TSA employees to engage in collective bargaining with the government.

Questions have also been raised about a reprimand that Southers received for running background checks on his then-estranged wife's boyfriend two decades ago. Southers wrote a letter to lawmakers earlier this month acknowledging that he had given inconsistent answers to Congress on that issue. The White House says it has accepted Southers' withdrawal with great sadness, and still believes he would have been an excellent leader for the TSA.