Second TSA Administrator-Nominee Withdraws

President Barack Obama's second pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his nomination this weekend amid concerns over his role as a former defense contractor.

Retired U.S. Army Major General Robert Harding last week began his confirmation process in the Senate, but by the weekend cited "distractions caused by my work as a defense contractor" as his chief reason for stepping down from the post.

Scrutiny over the tenure of Obama's previous nominee, Erroll Southers, at the Federal Bureau of Investigation two decades ago undid his confirmation (BTNonline, March 8).

Following nearly 35 years of working in a number of U.S. Army intelligence posts, Harding most recently headed Harding Security Associates, which he founded in 2003 and sold last summer.

The White House has yet to put forth another name to lead the TSA. "By nominating Gen. Harding, the president tapped an individual with more than 35 years of military and intelligence experience who is dedicated to improving the security of our nation," several news outlets quoted White House spokesman Nick Shapiro as saying in a statement. "The president is disappointed in this outcome but remains confident in the solid team of professionals at TSA."

—Northstar Travel Media