TSA chief resigns from agency

Just six months after taking the helm at the Transportation Security Administration, John Magaw is leaving the fledgling agency.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta accepted Magaw's resignation July 18 as undersecretary of transportation for security.

James Loy will take over the position. Upon his retirement as commandant of the Coast Guard in May, Loy was named deputy undersecretary and chief operating officer at TSA.

"John Magaw is a dedicated public servant with a lifetime of achievements in the law enforcement field, and we all owe him a debt for his role in the start-up phase of TSA," Mineta said in a news release announcing the personnel change. "I also appreciate the difficulty of the task. Creating a nationwide system customized to 429 very busy commercial airports is a huge challenge."

President Bush established TSA in November when he signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. With its actions largely driven by deadlines of the legislation, particularly the costly mandate to screen all checked bags with explosives-detection machines by Dec. 31, the agency has been running ever since.

In April, Magaw, a Bush appointee, underwent angioplasty, a procedure to restore blood flow reduced by plaque deposits.

About a month later, Loy began reporting to Magaw, the former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and of the Secret Service.

"As a senior member of our DOT team for many years, Jim Loy already knows the players, the policies and the issues involved in transportation security," Mineta said.

The departure comes a week before TSA is slated to award a billion-dollar contract for its information technology infrastructure.

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