President Obama plans to appoint a former Army officer with a career in intelligence to lead the Transportation Security Administration, and he'll announce his choice, retired Gen. Robert Harding, today, an administration official tells the AP. The TSA administrator is the most important unfilled post in the Obama administration; the president's original pick, Erroll Southers, pulled out in the face of a tough GOP resistance in the Senate.
The decision to appoint someone with an extensive intelligence background reflects the fallout from the attempted Christmas airliner attack, when the government's intelligence programs came under scrutiny. Harding served in the Army for 33 years and retired in 2001, at one point serving as the Defense Department's top human intelligence officer. He went on to serve as a government consultant on human intelligence and counterintelligence issues, until selling that business last year.