Transportation security chief appointed

Security screener jobs

President Bush on Jan. 7 used a recess appointment to install former Secret Service chief John Magaw as undersecretary of Transportation for security.

Magaw will head the Transportation Security Administration, chartered by Congress to improve aviation security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the agency, mandates Magaw take control of airline security no later than Feb. 17, according to Paul Takemoto, agency spokesman.

Other requirements Magaw faces in his new post include ensuring that the screening of all checked bags for explosives begins Jan. 18 and that an explosives detection system is in place by the end of the year.

He also is responsible for hiring about 31,000 security screeners, Takemoto said.

The Transportation Department has employed Korn/Ferry International to assist with recruiting federal security directors for the nation's 81 largest airports, according to a jointly operated Web site, www.dot-tsa.gov.

Magaw comes to the Transportation Security Administration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he was acting director of the Office of National Preparedness — a position turned over to Bruce Baughman. Before joining FEMA, Magaw was director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

During his tenure at the Secret Service, which began in 1967, Magaw rose in the ranks to become director in 1992.

"The skills he has developed over the course of his stellar career will prove instrumental as he goes about the job of rebuilding public trust and confidence in our transportation systems," Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said at Magaw's Senate confirmation hearing Dec. 20. The Senate did not confirm him before adjourning, leading to the recess appointment. Bush had nominated Magaw Dec. 13.

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