Pistole Confirmed As New TSA Chief

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The Senate has unanimously confirmed John Pistole, President Barack Obama's nominee, as the next head of the Transportation Security Administration. The post has been vacant for about a year and a half, and two previous nominees failed to win confirmation. Pistole, a former deputy director at the FBI, was seen as "bulletproof" when his nomination was announced and apparently that was the case. He faces multiple challenges. The TSA has had four administrators in the last eight years. Rep. John Mica, head of the House Transportation Committee, this week described the agency as an "out-of-control bureaucracy." Union leaders already have asked for meetings to press for collective bargaining rights for TSA employees. GA leaders welcomed the new administrator.

AOPA President Craig Fuller said, "We look forward to working with him on issues affecting general aviation, such as the Large Aircraft Security Program." NBAA President Ed Bolen said, "We look forward to working with Administrator Pistole on security policies for general aviation that harden the industry from threats while preserving the mobility and flexibility that are the industry's hallmarks." Pistole helped to lead the investigation of the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash in 1999, and recently was involved with the pursuit of the Times Square bombing suspect. Maj. Gen. Robert Harding, a retired Army intelligence officer, withdrew his nomination in March, and Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and counterterrorism supervisor for the Los Angeles airport police, dropped out in January.