Obama to Nominate New TSA Chief

Posted March 8, 2010 at 11:51am

President Barack Obama on Monday announced he would nominate retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding to lead the Transportation Security Administration.

“I am confident that Bob’s talent and expertise will make him a tremendous asset in our ongoing efforts to bolster security and screening measures at our airports,” Obama said in a statement. “I can think of no one more qualified than Bob to take on this important job, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”

Harding served actively in the military for more than three decades and retired in 2001. He founded Harding Security Associates in 2003 and sold the private company in 2009.

Harding is Obama’s second pick to lead the TSA, an agency housed within the Department of Homeland Security. Former FBI special agent Erroll Southers, Obama’s first pick, withdrew his nomination after receiving considerable criticism from Senate Republicans. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) held up the nomination out of concerns that his support for allowing TSA workers to unionize would prevent the agency from being able to respond quickly to an attack.