- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

A key Senate panel cleared President Obama’s pick to head the TSA on Thursday, moving quickly just days after a report that airport screeners missed most of the contraband weapons investigators tried to sneak by them in tests.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter V. Neffenger was approved on a voice vote by the Senate Commerce Committee, with this week’s failure report front-and-center.

“Investigation by the TSA’s inspector general paints a picture of an agency that is not fully up to the task of protecting the traveling public. That’s why we need to get new leaders like Adm. Neffenger in there quickly,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Adm. Neffenger must also be considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee before going to the full Senate for a final vote.

In the wake of reports this week that 95 percent of contraband got by Transportation Security Administration airport screeners in tests, President Obama said part of the problem is that the agency has been without a confirmed leader for months.

Former Administrator John Pistole announced his departure in October and left at the end of last year, but Mr. Obama didn’t name a replacement until April 28. He has since urged Congress to speed Adm. Neffenger through the process.

But Republicans say the delay has been Mr. Obama’s fault, and say they are now working as quickly as possible.

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