This is one of our editors’ picks from our ongoing roundup of Investigations Elsewhere.
Last week’s thwarted terror attack left all eyes trained on the Transportation Security Administration, but there was no chief of the agency to offer an explanation. The top post is sitting empty because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee, who has already secured the bipartisan support of two Senate committees, reports McClatchy Newspapers. The reason? DeMint objects to giving baggage screeners full union rights. Obama has promised to give screeners such rights, and DeMint thinks the nominee, Erroll Southers, will carry out that promise.
DeMint says that collective bargaining rights for TSA screeners would undermine the agency’s "flexibility to make real-time decisions that allowed it to quickly improve security measures in response to this attempted attack." And he says that union bosses would have the power to “veto or delay future security improvements at our airports.”
John Gage, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told CNN earlier this month, “People who insinuate that being a union member has a nation security implication are just totally wrong." In the meantime, an acting administrator is in charge at the TSA.