National

Dec 29, 2009 9:56 AM by Associated Press

Key security agencies lack permanent leaders

Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off planes and out of the country remain without their top leaders.

The Obama administration took more than eight months to nominate anyone to head the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency. Those two agencies will be at the forefront of discussions as security policies are reviewed in the aftermath of the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on an international flight bound for Detroit.

But the Senate hasn't set a date for hearings on the Customs position, with other matters such as health care dominating the agenda. Former U.S. attorney Alan Bersin is Obama's nominee for the post.

Meanwhile South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has placed a hold on the president's choice for TSA, police detective Erroll Southers, over his concerns that Southers might let TSA screeners join a labor union.

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