Obama hits ‘systemic failure’ over terror tip

The South Carolina Republican also denied delaying confirmation, saying his hold only insists on an open debate and a recorded vote on the Southers nomination. He said Mr. Reid could have had a set of hearings and a possible confirmation at any time.

He also defended his hold as an attempt to prevent possible unionization of TSA. He said the nation’s unions, which heavily backed the Obama campaign, will try to extract the move from the White House as political payback. Mr. DeMint did not explain why such White-House-supported payback would be affected by who heads the agency, and he did not respond to the Fox host’s question of whether Mr. Southers, a former FBI special agent, is unqualified for the post.

“Airport security needs maximum flexibility. And it makes no sense to” require TSA to submit to “union interference,” he said on Fox. “We don’t need airport security to be under the same constraints as the automakers.”

Denis McDonough, chief of staff of the White House National Security Council, downplayed the fight to reporters Monday in Hawaii, saying that although Mr. Obama “is eager to have his TSA head on the job,” acting TSA chief Gale Rossides is “very able” and “we have a very able team of career professionals at TSA.”

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