President Obama's next pick for chairman of the Transportations Security Administration is widely reported to be retired Maj. Gen. Robert Harding, a lifelong intelligence specialist whose bio (PDF) reads like a character in a Robert Ludlum novel. Various sources are reporting Harding, the former second in command of U.S. Army Intelligence and director of operations for the Defense Intelligence Agency before that, will be nominated Monday. He retired from the Army in 2001 and owned his own security consultant firm specializing in homeland security assignments. Since much of his work, if he's approved by Congress, will center on aviation, AVweb searched the FAA Airmen Registry to see if he's a pilot and what ratings he might have. We found a Robert A. Harding and a Robert Harding, but that's all we found.
Whoever these two Robert Hardings might be have had their personal information blocked on the registry, to the point where the section listing their certificates says "none," which kind of begs the question why they would be on the registry in the first place. At any rate, Harding's appointment hasn't been officially announced yet and, presumably, there will be the opportunity to ask him personally if he's a pilot. The TSA has been without an administrator for more than a year. Last year Obama nominated former FBI agent Errol Southers for the job but he faced stiff opposition in Congress over his appointment, largely because of revelations that he used FBI databases to look into the background of he ex-wife's then-boyfriend. Southers resigned from the Los Angeles Police Department earlier this week.