The agency that guards airline security inside the United States is likely to remain without a Senate-confirmed leader for months to come after President Obama’s nominee for the position abruptly withdrew late Friday night amid questions from Congress about his work as a defense contractor.
The nominee, Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, a retired Army intelligence officer, pulled out of contention for director of the agency, the Transportation Security Administration, just two and a half weeks after Mr. Obama submitted his nomination. Mr. Obama’s first pick for the position also withdrew under fire this year, and the administration has not announced a third choice.
The agency is facing a range of policy questions about potential changes, including the deployment of full-body scanners at security checkpoints and whether to allow its work force to unionize. Paul Rosenzweig, a former policy adviser to the Homeland Security Department in the Bush administration, said the lack of stable leadership at the top would make it harder to achieve goals.