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Key Security Agencies Lack Permanent Leaders

Key Security Agencies Lack Permanent Leaders

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on health care and climate change at the White House in Washington December 19, 2009. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 29, 2009

WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.

It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to “do everything that we can to keep America safe.”

The acting heads of the TSA and CBP — both created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will be at the forefront of these efforts.

Bogged down with health care reform, the Senate has yet to set a date to hold hearings for the Customs position. And Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has placed a hold on the president’s choice to head the TSA over the senator’s concern that the new leader would let TSA screeners join a labor union. This has some Democrats blaming politics for the vacancy.

Former U.S. attorney Alan Bersin is nominated to run CBP, and former FBI agent and police detective Erroll Southers is the president’s pick for TSA.

On Christmas Day, alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who spent time in Yemen, was able to sneak an explosive device aboard his flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, only to be thwarted by the device’s apparent failure to work as designed, and aggressive action by other passengers.

Abdulmutallab was not on the government’s terrorist watch list — though he was on a less sensitive and broader database. He was able to maintain a valid U.S. visa despite warnings about him to U.S. embassy officials in Nigeria from his father. Those facts are prompting a broad review of the government’s terrorist detection efforts.

“The United States will more than simply strengthen our defenses,” Obama said Monday. “We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us.”

“The president is looking for answers on this,” Denis McDonough, chief of staff of the White House National Security Council, told reporters Monday in Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. McDonough said officials have begun to assemble information related to watch list procedures. As yet, no one has been named to oversee the watch list review, he said.


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  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    over 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    Obama has finally noticed the ships have no Captain? Priories are ObamaCare and ObamaTax

  • W-swat1_max50

    cvarain

    over 4 years ago

    220 Comments

    Does this really suprise anyone? It's not hard to see where the priorities are.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    fplasencia is soooo right !!! This is war, a new kind of war where the enemy sends suicideal soldiers to do the fighting while the leaders hide in the background. We, as a nation, need to make the adjustment and commit ourselves to winning this new war, with all of the training and equipment needed to win it. We can worry about health care later; we need a safe and secure country first.

  • Aaa_max50

    beejac

    over 4 years ago

    1424 Comments

    A real mess and a real danger to citizens of the United States.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.
    These are not the offices that you want leaderless during wartime.
    Stay vigilant Brothers and sisters

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Not at all good! I hope the senate can get the ball rolling here for pete's sake and someboby takes charge of this crazy mish-mash of watch lists! The office of redtape, repetition and redundancy is not our friend!

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    over 4 years ago

    8966 Comments

    Shows the priorities for the Obama Administration after first declassifying the "TERRORISTS TO CIVIL LAW BREAKERS". The Global War on Terror does not exist because Obama says so. With this attitude , God Forbid , they may get luckier and hit bigger targets and start the outrage of the citizenry.

  • Cot_max50

    hbg522

    over 4 years ago

    7006 Comments

    this is news??

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    blkdragon1212

    over 4 years ago

    248 Comments

    Clearly it is better to let citizens be killed, than to offend someone. The inmates are in charge of the asylum! How's that hope and change working for you now?

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    over 4 years ago

    51110 Comments

    Big thumbs down on this one.

  • Nado_max50

    bluelinefarms

    over 4 years ago

    310 Comments

    Once again Obama tells us what we want to hear, but do we honestly expect him to keep his word

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Gotta rate this down.
    While the Senate and the best part of Government are deeply embeded into Health Reform, our National Security is at stake... Not a compromise I am willing to live with even If I have to, since I don't have any choice... Other than to express my comtempt.
    Perhaps is time for this administration to wake up to the fact that this is WAR. It has been so since 9/11... Make no mistake about it.

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