The Senate confirmed Deputy FBI Director John Pistole as head of the Transportation Security Administration today, ending a lengthy search process in which two previous nominees withdrew from consideration.
Pistole's nomination was approved by unanimous consent.
Pistole received praise for his law enforcement experience from both Democrats and Republicans during the confirmation process.
During the hearings, Pistole did not express an opinion on whether TSA workers should be able to unionize but told the senators that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has asked him to study the issue. He also discussed the challenges in discovering every would-be terrorist. Among other things, he noted that Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, who allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on December 25, never touched his bomb so no explosive traces would have been detected in screening. Pistole also said that the bomb had no metal parts, meaning metal detectors could not find it. Under such circumstances, he said, while it's important to have the best technology, solid intelligence on what terrorists are plotting is just as important.
Pistole was Obama's third nominee to head the TSA.