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Tag: TSA

Ex-FBI’s John Pistole Planning Changes at TSA

john_s_pistole tsaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, the FBI’s number two person John Pistole, who now heads up the Transportation Security Administration, is making some changes.

The Federal Diary column at the Washington Post reports that Pistole is considering creating a small corps of TSA officers that would have law enforcement status.

Currently, screeners do not have that status and don’t carry guns and don’t make arrests. When they find something wrong — like a gun is found — law enforcement moves in to make the arrest if it’s warranted.

Pistole, in an interview with column’s author Joe Davidson, said the law enforcement would come from the current ranks or police agencies.

“Those details are currently being worked out, but I like the idea of having those who have experience in the business. But I’m looking at all options.”

As an aside, one question remains: How long will Pistole be around to implement changes at TSA?

That’s anyone’s guess. His name has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill as a candidate to head up the FBI when Director Robert S. Mueller III steps down next year.

To read more from the column click here.

As Expected, Tim Murphy Becomes 2nd in Command at FBI

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III  tapped Timothy P. Murphy to become the second in command at the FBI.

“Tim has consistently shown exceptional leadership and met tough challenges head-on,” Mueller said in a statement issued Thursday. “I have every expectation that he will do the same as deputy director, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new position.”

Murphy, the number three person in the FBI, replaces John Pistole, who was just confirmed as the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

Since 2008, Murphy has served as associate deputy director, overseeing personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure, the FBI said.

From the onset, when Pistole was nominated to head up TSA, there appeared to be little doubt within the FBI that anyone other than Murphy would  assume the post.

John Pistole No Longer an FBI Man; Sworn in as Head of Transportation Security Administration

john_s_pistole tsaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After 26 years, John S. Pistole is no longer an FBI agent.

Pistole , the number two person at the FBI, was sworn in Thursday as the head of the Transportation Security Administration after going through a relatively painless confirmation process. The previous two nominees for the job ran into trouble and withdrew their names.

Pistole takes over several months after the public was reminded Christmas day with the underwear bomber in Detroit just how vulnerable it is.

A press release by the TSA said “Under his leadership, TSA will continue to grow as a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to protecting our transportation systems.”

A likely candidate to succeed Pistole at the FBI is Timothy Murhpy, who has been assigned to replace Pistole on an interim basis.

Senate Confirms FBI’s John Pistole to Head Transportation Security Administration

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s number two man John Pistole, who was considered a sure bet, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate Friday to head the Transportation Security Administration, The Hill newspaper reported.

Pistole, who was highly respected in the FBI, was the third nominee for the post. The two others, ex-FBI agent Erroll Southers and retired Gen. Robert Harding, withdrew their nominations after problems surfaced in their backgrounds.

No replacement has been named for Pistole, though one likely and logical candidate appears to be the FBI’s number three person Timothy Murphy.

Previously, Pistole’s  name surfaced as one of four candidates being considered to head up the Drug Enforcement Administration. But in the end the nod went to the acting head of DEA, Michele Leonhart. After that, his name had surfaced as a possible head for ATF, but that idea never went any where.

Read more »

Column: Will Republicans Embarrass Themselves With John Pistole Nomination for TSA?

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

Chris Battle is a former official at Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DEA. He is currently managing partner of the Adfero Group Homeland Security Practice, a Washington public relations firm.

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief

WASHINGTON — Will John Pistole, the FBI deputy director nominated to lead the TSA, go the way of the previous two nominees?

Let’s hope not, but it all depends upon whether certain Republicans intend to embarrass themselves – again – by demanding answers from Pistole that he simply will not be in a position to answer. I am speaking here of the unionization issue.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no friend of unions. I was delighted to watch the internal combustion that occurred when the unions sunk millions into the Arkansas Senate election in an effort to hand pick a pro-union candidate.

To read full column click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI’s John Pistole Likely to Get Grilled on Collective Bargaining as TSA Nominee

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — John S. Pistole, the FBI’s second in command, who has been nominated to head the Transportation Security Administration, is expected to get grilled Thursday on his views about collective bargaining rights for TSA employees, the Washington Post reports.

Pistole is scheduled to go before a Senate nomination hearing and is likely to get some tough questions from those like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who oppose collective bargaining for TSA employees  on the grounds that it would make the agency less flexible and potentially compromise security, the Post’s Federal Diary Columnist Joe Davidson reports. Union leaders call the concerns nonsense.

Davidson writes that Pistole “is unlikely to give them much of an answer” on the collective bargaining issues. The two previous nominees, who eventually withdrew their names,  gave Senators vague answers about the thorny issue.

To read more click here.

Govt. Report Says Program to Spot Suspected Terrorists at Airport Not Effective

airport-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A behavior-protection program designed to spot suspected terrorists and others who pose dangers at U.S. airports doesn’t appear to be working all that well.

The Boston Globe reports that at least 16 people who were later tied to terror plots passed through U.S. airports without being detected by federal officials who were part of the program created in 2003 by the Transportation Security Administration.

The Globe reported that a General Accounting Office report released Thursday questioned the scientific basis of the program dubbed “SPOT” (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques).

The report said the Transportation Security Administration “without first validating the scientific basis for identifying passengers in an airport environment.”

“A scientific consensus does not exist on whether behavior detection principles can be reliably used for counterterrorism purposes,” report said.

“TSA has bungled the development and deployment of a potentially important layer of aviation security,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) told the Globe. He had requested the report.

To read more click here.

Read Full Report

Rep. Wolf Pushes Bill to Make Top TSA Post 10-Year Term Like FBI

Rep. Frank Wolf/gov photo

Rep. Frank Wolf/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) on Tuesday renewed his call for the Obama administration to support his legislation that would make the top post at the Transportation Security Administration a 10-year term.

In a letter to the president, posted on his website, he applauded Monday’s presidential nomination of deputy FBI director John Pistole to head TSA and urged the President to consider the bill.

He said the 10 year term — which is what the FBI has for its top spot — would provide stability to the agency.

“It is troubling that since its creation following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, TSA has had six administrators, averaging terms of just 1.5 years,” he wrote.

“As you know, I have written you and members of your administration numerous times since January urging you to support four bipartisan proposals to strengthen our national security, including making the TSA administrator position a 10-year term of service.

“To date, none of these proposals have been adopted – in spite of the recent attempted terrorist attacks on Christmas Day and in Times Square in New York City. I would appreciate an explanation about why proposals made by members of Congress continue to be downright ignored by this administration.”