January 12th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called on Barack Obama to withdraw his nominee for Director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Errol Southers, for “equating pro-life, Christian, and anti-government Americans to real terrorists.”
In a 2008 video interview that has resurfaced recently, Southers said, “Most of the domestic groups that we have to pay attention to here are white supremacist groups, they’re anti-government, in most cases anti-abortion, they are usually survivalist types in nature, [and Christian] identity-oriented.”
“Just like the Department of Homeland Security did last year, Errol Southers has taken his talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center to equate the views of a majority of Americans with that of potential terrorist threats,” said Wilson, pointing to a controversial, now-disavowed memo published by the Department of Homeland Security.
In defining “rightwing extremism,” the Department of Homeland Security memo had targeted “groups, movements, and adherents… that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Wilson said that Southers had made the same mistake, “and with a broad brush painted millions of Americans as potential terrorists that presumably the Transportation Security Administration would now be profiling.”
“Targeting regular Americans is completely unacceptable from a prominent security official who would be tasked to protecting the American people and organizing the nation’s transportation security,” Wilson said, adding, “And a diversion from real terrorist threats that the TSA must contend with that are Islamist in origin.”
“The federal government should not be wasting its time looking for anti-government, anti-abortion Christians,” Wilson explained, “It should be focused on the real threat from al Qaeda.”
“What we are learning from the Fort Hood shooting and now the Flight 253 attempted attack is the primary terrorist threat to the U.S. is still Islamist in origin,” Wilson said.
Americans for Limited Government’s latest objection to Southers comes atop its call for the nominee to answer outstanding questions about whether he would support collective bargaining rights for TSA employees, and for abusing his position to order background searches on his wife’s boyfriend in the 1980’s “and lying about in front of Congress.”
“The more we learn about Errol Southers, the less there is to like. Barack Obama should either withdraw this nomination or alternatively the Senate should defeat him. The TSA must be headed by a nominee who values security over union kickbacks, and who will not confuse legitimate dissent with committed terrorist murderers.”