Following my March 29 blog, “Sunk by Snoring: The Robert Harding Withdrawal Debacle,” about the major general’s withdrawal from nomination for TSA Administrator, TIME Magazine called me for additional comment. Here are some excerpts from the article.
More than a year into President Obama’s Administration — and three months after the Nigerian underwear bomber failed in his attempt to blow a U.S. airliner out of the sky over Detroit — the nation still doesn’t have a top cop at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Why is the Administration having such a tough time filling this vital slot?
Robert Harding, the most recent nominee, withdrew from consideration last Friday after concerns were raised about government contracts he had received following his retirement from the Army. In withdrawing his nomination, Harding said the “distractions caused by my work as a defense contractor would not be good for this Administration, nor for the Department of Homeland Security.”
it’s clear that, despite the Obama Administration’s reputation for scrubbing its candidates before nominating them, there appears to have been poor vetting in both these cases. “In this politically toxic environment, it only takes one thing to derail a nomination,” says Richard Cooper, a former Department of Homeland Security official. “But there were a lot of outstanding questions about Harding’s contracts.”