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Head of new transportation agency ousted

Lawmakers complained about pace of improvements

John Magaw
John Magaw  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- John Magaw, head of the Transportation Security Administration, was forced out Thursday at the new federal agency charged with overseeing security at the nation's commercial airports, government sources said.

The sources said Magaw was ousted amid complaints from airport executives and lawmakers as the TSA scrambled to meet a year-end deadline to screen all bags at airports. The agency was created by Congress in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A statement from the Transportation Department confirmed Magaw had resigned, but did not go into the details of his departure.

"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," Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said in the written statement.

"I also appreciate the difficulty of the task. Creating a nationwide system customized to 429 very busy commercial airports is a huge challenge."

Magaw, who previously worked at the Secret Service, had a mild heart attack earlier in the year soon after taking the reins of the TSA.

In recent months, there was a growing dissatisfaction, especially on Capitol Hill, over how he ran the agency, which is to eventually employee 60,000 workers.

Magaw's deputy, James M. Loy, previously commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, will take over as the head of the TSA. Mineta described him as "the right man for this job, at the right time."

"We are extremely fortunate that Jim Loy has agreed to serve as our new head of the TSA. Admiral Loy has amply demonstrated his ability to motivate and manage a large federal agency when he was commandant of the Coast Guard," Mineta said.




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