Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 26, 2010

Breaking News: Harding withdraws at TSA…

Filed under: Aviation Security — by Jessica Herrera-Flanigan on March 26, 2010

Despite what seemed like a rather smooth nomination hearing process this week, Retired Army Major General Robert Harding has withdrawn from consideration as the nominee for Administrator at the Transportation Security Administration.  Gen. Harding becomes the second nominee to withdraw his name from consideration.  Erroll Southers, formerly with the Los Angeles World Airport Police Department, withdrew his name in January 2010 amidst opposition from Republican lawmakers in Congress.

And the search for one of the nation’s most critical security jobs begins again…

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 27, 2010 @ 12:17 am

Its not just Harding but something odd about WH personnel ops. Both parties seem to think getting appointees that are qualified into office is easy. Harding withdrawal should indicate that is not the case. Again, why not have a list of appointees prevetted for top jobs say the top ten released and let the public inquiring begin long in advance.

Hate to think of the President and time consumed if he faces three SCOTUS appointments relatively soon.

Also many of the INTEL types have never faced true combat or the hand to hand combat they face in getting confirmed by Congress. Harding probably a brave man but sometimes that is not enough to withstand the fire of confirmation process. Having vetted for ethics over 100 Senate confirmed people for an agency I know that it is a peculiar and difficult task.

It could be easily reformed. The first step is to decriminalize the ethics laws for several reasons. There is a distinct lack of coordination between OGE, the agency and department ethics officials, the review process by Senate Committees, the relationship of all to the government integrit section at DOJ and how they all mesh. Also the Criminal Code provisions combined with the Procurement Integrity Act are a mess and just don’t work.

This may sound completely scandalous and unreasonable but meshing an administrative sanction system with the US criminal code is a tricky and difficult task and still providing due process and fairness for all including making sure the Public gets honest and competent officialdom. Since its all about money, the Ethics rules and regs and laws are NOT intuitive and not really based on religion or morality but instead a bastardized version of the Code of Professional Conduct of the legal profession, it really should get first class study and brain power applied.

Oh well, then should HOMELAND SECURITY. Instead it gets the best thinking of the contract community on how to make a buck and evade rules not how to provide the best product.

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