Obama to Nominate Retired Army Major General as TSA Administrator

President Barack Obama yesterday said he plans to nominate Major General Robert Harding as his pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration.

A retired major general in the U.S. Army, Harding "has spent over 35 years working in the intelligence community, as a leader in both the military and the private sectors," the White House said in a statement. Most recently, Harding headed Harding Security Associates, which he founded in 2003 and sold last summer. Prior to that, Harding spent 33 years in various positions in the U.S. Army, including many leadership posts in intelligence.

After formalizing the nomination, Harding must undergo Senate confirmation, which eluded Erroll Southers, Obama's previous nominee. Southers withdrew his nomination in January amid scrutiny over his tenure at the Federal Bureau of Investigation two decades ago and renewed vows to block his confirmation.

"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."

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano applauded the nomination. "Effective transportation security involves protecting our citizens from constantly evolving threats while facilitating legal travel and trade around the country and throughout the world," said Napolitano. "Bob's national security expertise and extensive experience in the intelligence community and U.S. Army will be a great asset to the Department in our efforts to ensure the safety of the nation's transportation systems."

—Northstar Travel Media