A retired major general with 35 years experience in the intelligence community has been nominated by President Obama to head the Transportation Security Administration. He is Gen. Robert Harding, who retired in 2001 and, in 2003, founded Harding Security Associates, a company of more than 400 professionals providing security solutions to U.S. government agencies.
At his retirement he was the army’s Deputy G-2 (Intelligence) officer. From 1996 to 2000 he was director of operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). There he directed more than $1 billion in intelligence collection programs and supervised and provided security to the department’s defense attaches in more than 200 embassies and offices around the world.
Announcement of his nomination was greeted warmly by the chairman of the Senate committee that must approve him. Sen. John (Jay) Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called the nomination “great news for America’s national security.” He added the general’s experience should prove to be invaluable experience for this crucial post. Rockefeller said he would move the nomination “as expeditiously as possible.”
Errol Southers, Obama’s previous nominee, withdrew his name from consideration in January after some were concerned that his labor union background could cause him to give collective bargaining rights to Department of Homeland Security employees, including TSA employees who are responsible for airport security.