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June 28, 2010 1:00 PM, EDT

Senate Confirms First TSA Chief Under Obama

The Senate confirmed former FBI deputy director John Pistole to be head of the Transportation Security Administration — the first time the post has been filled during the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported.

Two previous nominees had withdrawn their nominations for various reasons, leaving the Department of Homeland Security agency without a permanent administrator since Obama took office.

Pistole was confirmed by the Senate Friday by a voice vote, the Post reported Saturday.

 

While the air, rail and trucking issues that TSA oversees are critical to safety and security, the two largest federal employee unions also want collective-bargaining rights for about 50,000 transportation security officers at the agency, the Post said.

Pistole did not take a position on that issue during his confirmation hearings, saying he would review it if his nomination was approved. In response to a question, however, he said that collective bargaining at the FBI would not improve national security, the paper reported.

Two unions — the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union —said they plan to meet with Pistole to stress that collective bargaining would not compromise national security or the ability of the TSA to deploy its employees, the Post said.