Obama to announce TSA nominee soon

Obama to announce TSA nominee soon
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President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden Supreme Court study panel unanimously approves final report To advance democracy, defend Taiwan and Ukraine Press: GOP freak show: Who's in charge? MORE could announce his pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday afternoon, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. 

Republicans have criticized President Obama for not appointing a nominee more quickly to replace the TSA’s longtime former head, John Pistole, who retired at the end of 2014.

The agency has been helmed by acting Administrator Melvin Carraway since Pistole's departure, but Johnson told lawmakers during a Homeland Security oversight subcommittee hearing that the announcement of a replacement was set to be made soon. 

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"Our nominee to be the new TSA administrator should be announced shortly. Perhaps even today," Johnson told lawmakers. "So I thank the committee in advance for your time and attention."

Johnson told the panel that he thought they would approve of the president's TSA pick, even though he did not reveal the person's name. 

"I believe that our nominee for TSA Administrator is an excellent choice and I believe that he will be very focused on aviation airport security," he said. "I also believe his name will be announced some time this afternoon." 

Pistole announced in October 2014 that he was resigning after nearly five years at the helm of the agency. Carraway stepped into the role in January and assumed a high-profile role in the fight over the department's funding that dominated Washington in February.  

Pistole has been tapped to lead his alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and he left Washington in January to take the new position. Obama appointed him TSA administrator in 2010.

Under Pistole, the TSA made a high-profile transition to risk-based airport security. The shift has been touted as a sea change in the federal government’s approach to transit security because it allows the agency’s employees to focus on searching for explosive devices while ruling out passengers who have volunteered for background checks. 

Pistole ran into resistance from lawmakers, however, when he tried to weaken the TSA’s rules for prohibit small knives onto planes.

-This story was updated with new information at 1:39 p.m.