Obama Nominates Pistole for TSA Chief

 - May 18, 2010, 12:08 PM

President Barack Obama yesterday nominated John Pistole as assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, a position where he would also lead the Transportation Security Administration. Pistole’s nomination comes after two previous failed attempts to fill the position over the past year. Erroll Southers, who was nominated in September to head the TSA, bowed out in January, saying that his nomination was being marred by partisan politics in the Senate. Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding was nominated for the position in March, but he quickly withdrew following revelations that his security consulting firm was overpaid by the government. Pistole currently serves as the deputy director of the FBI, a position he has held since October 2004. Pistole began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1983, later serving in counterterrorism and then executive management roles. His only aviation-related FBI work came in 1999, when he helped lead the investigative and recovery efforts for the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash. Aviation associations are reserving opinions on the nomination, but NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told AIN, “Security has always been a top priority for the business aviation community, and as the Senate considers this nominee, NBAA will closely monitor the process to ensure that he has a solid grasp of our industry’s unique operating model, and a readiness to collaborate with NBAA and its members on reasonable and effective security measures.”