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Eye Opener: More headaches for TSA

By Ed O'Keefe



Transportation Security Administration officers look at an X-ray screen at a passenger security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport last Wednesday. (Reuters)

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! The Transportation Security Administration has confirmed cases of drug use among employees while airline passengers report inconsistent security procedures that in some cases have caused day-long delays.

The drug use came to light late last year when a TSA agent was arrested for allegedly counterfeiting parking passes at Los Angeles International Airport. Police later found a videotape at the employee's house that included video of colleagues at an after hours party allegedly using drugs, television station KCBS first reported.

The agency confirmed the drug use on Wednesday.

"TSA management at LAX immediately identified these individuals, subjected them to drug testing and terminated the one who tested positive," said spokeswoman Kristin Lee. "TSA practices a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use and conducts random drug and alcohol testing at over 400 airports across the country to enforce this rule. We show no leniency to employees who violate the public trust and shame the uniform that is proudly worn by 50,000 men and women in service to this nation."

Obama's TSA administrator nominee, Erroll Southers has no oversight of L.A.-area TSA employees in his current role as an assistant chief with the Los Angeles Airport Police. But Southers now faces another Republican hold on his nomination amid concerns he misled Congress about an incident during his tenure with the FBI.

Meanwhile, airline passengers have reported wide inconsistencies and delays in airport security at domestic and international airports.

"For the most part, people seemed patient, even appreciative of the extra security efforts, but others were left exasperated, confused and, mostly, late," the New York Times reports.

Some passengers carrying harmless musical instruments were subjected to intense screening, while some carrying bottled martinis in their pants did not, the paper reported. Some international flights have been delayed by as much as one day amid confusion at about new security procedures.

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In Case You Missed It!: We experienced a BIG blog outage on Wednesday, so make sure you read about the costs of the "Cash for Clunkers" program; news that more Clinton-era identity theft feared and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dodging questions about his political future.

Cabinet and Staff News: Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag has a love child. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on development issues. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, talking to CNN, describes a different kind of threat. National Security Adviser James Jones, talking to USA Today, calls the Christmas Day bombing report set for release on Thursday will cause "a certain shock" among Americans. FBI Director Robert Mullen appears to rule out military action in Yemen. John Berry's OPM shakeup explained. Could Chris Dodd join the Obama administration?

CENSUS BUREAU:
Use of word Negro on 2010 census forms raises memories of Jim Crow: For many New York blacks, the word conjures visions of Jim Crow and segregation -- even if the Census Bureau says it's included to ensure an accurate count of the nation's minority residents.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Soldiers fight in the courts over liability in war zones: A recent lawsuit brought by a group of Indiana National Guardsman spotlights a controversial legal doctrine that prevents soldiers on active duty from seeking compensation for injuries sustained in war zones.

Preparing the U.S. Army for the future: If one moment could capture the unexpected trauma of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this would be it. American soldiers hit by a roadside bomb. Something as simple as a homemade booby trap literally blew up America's plan for quick and easy victories.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE:
Pharmacy benefit managers and the rising drug costs for federal workers: When Uncle Sam arranges prescription drug coverage for millions of federal employees and their dependents, you'd expect him to have enough muscle to keep those prices low. So why not?

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT:
Changes aim to make oil leases greener: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the changes should ensure stricter environmental standards in oil and gas leasing while bringing more clarity to energy companies hoping to drill on public lands, mostly in Western states.

IRS:
Report shows IRS has 'unacceptable' customer service: The annual review identifies a potentially major loophole in an agency plan announced this week to regulate people who charge money to prepare tax returns.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Grand jury indicts Nigerian would-be bomber: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was also charged Wednesday with attempted murder, willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft, and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

NYC says 9/11 trials will cost $200 million a year: That would make it by far the costliest security operation for a single event in the city in recent memory.

U.S. MARSHALS:
Shooting prompts security review: Federal authorities will conduct a nationwide review of courthouse security after a gunman killed a courthouse officer and wounded a deputy marshal in Las Vegas.

NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER:
Effectiveness of intelligence reforms questioned: Obama has not singled out anyone for blame, but the most intense scrutiny has been directed toward the agency at the centerpiece of the 2004 intelligence reorganization.

TSA:
Stimulus to bring body scanners to airports: The agency will use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to purchase 150 of the machines.

TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT:
Grassley seeks accounting of 'Cash for Clunkers' costs: He wants a full accounting of the popular incentive program as the department puts the finishing touches on last summer's economic boost to the struggling auto industry.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 7, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener  
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Next: Secret Service impersonator arrested for HHS security breach

Comments

DERAIL THIS NOMINATION, NOW OBAMA WHITE HOUSE! FOR NO OTHER REASON, DO IT ON BEHALF OF THE COUNTRY THAT YOU ALLEGEDLY SERVE-NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THIS MAN SOUTHERS AS TSA ADMINISTRATOR! NO ONE WITH ANY SENSE OF ETHICS, OF MORAL CONDUCT, OF PATRIOTISM FOR THEIR COUNTRY WOULD WANT SOMEONE WHO SO ABJECTLY DISREGARDS FEDERAL LAW, WHO SO BLITHELY LIED TO CONGRESS TO HOLD ANY POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST!

YOU CANNOT PUT SOMEONE LIKE SOUTHERS IN A POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST-HE IS UNFIT, YOU WHITE HOUSE NITWITS! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT? DO YOU HAVE NO ETHICAL LAWYERS ON YOUR STAFF TO TELL YOU THAT? OR ARE YOU SO ETHICALLY COMPROMISED YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES!

YOU CAN'T PUT SOUTHERS IN A POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST-G-D AMNIT! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR COUNTRY AT SUCH A TIME WHEN WE ARE FACING VERY GRAVE THREATS TO AVIATION SECURITY FROM AL-QAEDA? WHERE THE COUNTRY NEEDS SOMEONE OF THE HIGHEST MORAL FIBRE, WHO COULD NEVER BE COMPROMISED, WHO COULD BE ENTRUSTED WITH THE MOST SENSITIVE SECRETS OF THIS COUNTRY?

THAT PERSON IS NOT SOUTHERS!

GET RID OF HIM OBAMA ADMINISTRATION! FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR COUNTRY, GET RID OF THIS NOMINATION!

Posted by: farfalle44 | January 7, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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