WASHINGTON—John Pistole, the Administration’s third nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), testified Thursday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me.

Committee members questioned Pistole on a range of topics, including his priorities for TSA, his plans to spend time working alongside rank and file Transportation Security Officers, and the ongoing risks facing all forms of transportation, including rail, mass transit, and aviation.

“In rising through the FBI ranks, Mr. Pistole has had important management responsibilities, in addition to his work with state and local law enforcement and with international law enforcement and intelligence officials,” Lieberman said. “If he is confirmed as TSA Administrator, he will be taking charge of an agency that has made enormous strides, in my opinion, in the last eight years to strengthen the security of the commercial aviation sector. However, it’s an agency that still faces important challenges, including improving the security of other forms of transportation here in America, particularly mass transit and rail. We know from hard experience that attacking our homeland remains a goal of our Islamist extremist enemies, and Mr. Pistole, along with the whole TSA, will need to ensure we do the best job possible of securing our homeland.”

Collins said: “The attempted bombings on Christmas Day 2009 and just last month in Times Square remind us that terrorists remain committed to attacking our nation. TSA performs a critical role in protecting us from these attacks. Mr. Pistole’s nearly three decades of service with the FBI, including more than five years as Deputy Director, demonstrate significant law enforcement experience and leadership. He also has substantial experience in the management of law enforcement officers. If he is confirmed as the new TSA Administrator, these skills should serve him well in an agency that performs a law enforcement function to keep our airlines secure.”

Pistole currently serves as FBI Deputy Director, a position he has held since 2004; he has been with the FBI since 1983.