President Obama's nominee to lead the federal agency in charge of airport security claimed in 2008 that America is subject to terror attacks because of its alliances with countries like Israel and France.
"Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France -- countries that are seen by groups, by Al Qaeda, as infidels or anti-Islamic -- by the true nature of our alliance with them means we are subject to being attacked as well," Errol Southers said in an interview with the online publication VideoJug.
The comment could further complicate the confirmation of Southers to head the Transportation Security Administration. His confirmation already has been held up over concerns by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that Southers would unionize the agency's screeners and over conflicting accounts that Southers, a former FBI agent, gave to Congress over background checks he ran on his then-estranged wife's boyfriend two decades ago.
Following the botched Christmas Day airliner bombing, lawmakers are calling for swift approval of Southers to an agency that has been leaderless for months.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that after the Christmas Day plot, he will cut off debate on Southers when Congress returns so that "the president has another key member of his national security in his place."
But the nomination process for Southers has been another embarrassment for the White House, which has admitted that it wasn't aware of some details of Southers' past.
When Southers clarified in a recent letter to senators "inconsistencies" in his recollection of the background checks, the White House reportedly said it did not know of discrepancies in his account until November but that the president stands behind him.