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March 29, 2010 10:00 AM, EDT

Latest TSA Nominee Withdraws Over Potential Conflicts

President Obama’s latest nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration withdrew himself as a nominee due to potential conflicts raised from his past work in the defense industry, the Associated Press reported.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding’s withdrawal leaves the agency without a confirmed administrator since the Obama administration took office early last year. Previous nominee Erroll Southers withdrew his nomination in January.

Harding headed Harding Security Associates, a company he founded in 2003 and sold last July.  Its workforce of more than 400 provided security expertise to U.S. government agencies in the intelligence and defense communities.

But the retired military officer’s past work as a defense contractor raised complications for his nomination, AP reported.

TSA’s primary mission is to keep commercial aviation safe from terrorism, but its responsibilities include threats by land and sea as well.