msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/8/2005 12:32:29 PM ET 2005-04-08T16:32:29

The head of the government agency charged with airport security plans to step down, his spokesman said Friday.

Transportation Security Administration chief David Stone will leave the job in June, said spokesman Mark Hatfield. No replacement was announced.

Stone, a retired Coast Guard admiral, is the third TSA chief since the agency was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He was preceded by James Loy, former commandant of the Coast Guard, and John Magaw, former head of the Secret Service. Stone’s 16-month tenure as TSA chief was the longest.

Stone's departure appeared to confirm a Washington Post report in Friday's editions that the TSA, once the flagship agency in the nation's $20 billion effort to protect air travelers, is slated for dismantling.

The Post said Stone had been asked by the Bush administration to step down in June, according to aviation and government sources.

According to the Post, "The TSA has been plagued by operational missteps, public relations blunders and criticism of its performance from both the public and legislators. Its 'No Fly' list has mistakenly snared senators. Its security screeners have been arrested for stealing from luggage, and its passenger pat-downs have set off an outcry from women."

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