Southers’ TSA Appointment Is Not A Privacy or Partisan Issue – It’s About Honesty

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Our politics have become so corrupt that seemingly we are no longer able to get honest brokers in positions of import in our Federal Government.  Is the benchmark set so low today that we no longer even think of someone in Mr. Southers’ position as having forever given away his right to be characterized as someone we can trust?  For those who are unaware, here is the background information on Mr. Southers.

Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent, has been nominated to head up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  In the late ‘80s, while an active FBI agent, Southers abused his position and utilized FBI systems to access the private records of his ex-wife’s boyfriend. Such an act was in direct violation of the federal Privacy Act.  However, during his testimony in committee to move his nomination along, according to The Washington Post, this was Southers’ account of the incident:

Southers first described the episode in his October affidavit, telling the Senate panel that two decades ago he asked a San Diego Police Department employee to access confidential criminal records about the boyfriend. Southers said he had been censured by superiors at the FBI. He described the incident as isolated and expressed regrets about it.

The committee approved his nomination Nov. 19. One day later, Southers wrote to Lieberman and Collins saying his first account was incorrect. After reviewing documents, he wrote, he recalled that he had twice conducted the database searches himself, downloaded confidential law enforcement records about his wife’s boyfriend and passed information on to the police department employee, the letter said.

Southers’ differing account has led to both partisan divide for his confirmation as well as concerns regarding his ability to hold a position of trust regarding confidential records.

It seems to me that this is no longer just an issue of privacy breaches or partisan debate.  This is now an issue of simple honesty and not rewarding dishonest behavior with further positions of authority and privilege.  Is it really reasonable to think that Mr. Southers forgot the important breaches in privacy laws and his conduct of 20 years ago?  Of course not.  When he wrote that “he recalled that he had twice conducted the database searches himself…” he was simply lying once again!  He didn’t suddenly recall this information.  This information would have forever been burned in his memory and would have never left his mind needing recall.

Have we come to a point in America where we just don’t have any honest brokers left available for positions in our government?  Both parties should aggressively oppose Mr. Southers’ confirmation.  He is clearly a man who has abused his privileges and duties in the past.  He has failed to show true remorse as he continues to cover up the severity of his participation in the act.  He is dishonest, plain and simple, and continues to show himself as a dishonest broker to this day with his most recent testimony.  For that reason alone, he should be disqualified from holding such an important position in our government.

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