Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Eye Opener: Vote on TSA nominee delayed

By

Eye Opener

Updated 10:31 a.m. ET
Happy Thursday! The Obama administration's pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration will have to wait after the Senate's Easter Recess for an up or down vote on his nomination amid concerns from a leading Republican about inspector general reports and several lawsuits related to his work as an Army officer and government contractor.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday for his second day of Senate confirmation hearings, and assured lawmakers that none of the interrogators who worked for his contracting firm engaged in harsh interrogation techniques when they were working in Iraqi prisons earlier this decade.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the panel's ranking member, told reporters afterward that she wants to do "one final scrub" of the information submitted by Harding. She should have plenty of time, since the Senate Commerce Committee -- which also heard testimony from Harding -- has to vote on his nomination before the Homeland Security panel. At this point, votes aren't expected until after the Easter Recess.

Harding's records raised Eyebrows when he revealed that his company repaid the government $1.8 million for billing irregularities. A billing dispute with the Defense Intelligence Agency arose because he tried to pay 40 of his interrogators after the agency terminated the contract, he told lawmakers. He later settled the dispute and sold the company last July. The billing irregularities were first reported by CongressDaily.

Collins also revealed on Wednesday that some of Harding's employees worked at a prison where detainee abuse occurred in 2003, contradicting earlier White House statements that Harding's staffers were assigned to another location.

And Harding also told lawmakers that he was the subject of several inspector general investigations and lawsuits over the course of his military career. A white military officer accused him of discrimination in 1994; a federal judge threw out a similar complaint against him in 1997; the Pentagon inspector general cleared him of wrongdoing after an investigation that lasted from 1996 and 2000; and in 1992 he was cleared of an allegation that he had a relationship with a female subordinate officer.

Will the next few weeks before a vote reveal anything else about Harding? Stay tuned.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: There's been a lot of talk -- and action -- lately regarding health insurance reform for the nation. If you're a federal worker, are you satisfied with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? What changes, if any, would you propose? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. Your answers might be used in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: Former Chicago city schools chief and Education Secretary Arne Duncan had a VIP list of requests at Chicago schools. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hopes China takes action on the devalued Yuan currency. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon may move forward with a multiyear F-18 purchase. An Old Grey Lady profile of Elizabeth Warren. Checking in with Gen. Ray Odierno in Iraq.

CENSUS BUREAU:
Improving census process for 2020 is already prompting action by lawmakers: Lawmakers will introduce Wednesday a package of reforms designed to give the agency more political and budgetary independence ahead of the 2020 count.

CIA:
U.S. investigators winding down inquiry of destroyed CIA tapes: It would end a long inquiry in which authorities encountered a series of roadblocks in building a case.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Pentagon prepares to relax enforcement of 'don't ask, don't tell': It's expected that the military will no longer investigate the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases.

Guantanamo becomes a gilded cage: Two detainees had little in common, but their paths would intersect only later, when they both made the same choice: to cooperate with the United States.

FBI:
Crime-fighting Web site focuses on bank robbers: BanditTracker NorthEast, features images of robbers in New Jersey and New York culled from security cameras over the past few years.

FCC:
Telecom giant challenges FCC role in broadband: Verizon Communications said that the agency's power over high-speed Internet services is "at best murky" and offered recommendations to Congress that could take away much of the its power.

FDA:
Genzyme says FDA will oversee its factory: The announcement indicates that federal regulators have, in effect, lost confidence in the company’s ability to run its factories without supervision.

IRS:
IRS plans open houses to help those with tax issues: The tax code is complicated enough, but some people who tried to learn more about a recent initiative to help those in economic distress discovered anew why Americans get so frustrated with the agency.

U.S. MINT:
National Parks will star in latest quarter redesign: The Mint's America the Beautiful Quarters Program will continue through 2021 and eventually release 56 coins, one for each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
Visa denial was reversed for terrorism suspect in 2004: A U.S. consular official originally denied terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab a visa to enter the United States in 2004 after finding false information on his application, but that official was overruled by a supervisor, according to senior government sources.

United States and Russia reach nuclear-arms deal: The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) would replace a 1991 pact that expired in December. Experts called the new agreement the most significant arms-control accord since the 1993 signing of START II, which the Russians never ratified.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By  | March 25, 2010; 6:20 AM ET
Categories:  Confirmation Hearings, Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Google to help track 2010 Census response rates
Next: Census Bureau may get a headstart on 2020

Comments

Please note many home insurance does not include enough flood coverage, contact me for a free home and flood insurance coverage quote http://bit.ly/ajc5p7

Posted by: ZonaChiyo | March 25, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

TSA appointment will have to wait until the Easter break.

The question is how many recess appointments will the President make?

Posted by: samf911 | March 25, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The average American gets zero days off for "Easter break."

How many does Congress get?

Posted by: corrections | March 25, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

How many skeletons must be found in Harding's closet before his name will be removed from nomination?

Posted by: djnumerouno | March 26, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

How can the white house vetting team miss so many obvious issues with the critical nomination, especially after the first candiate withdrew. You expect them to more careful.

Posted by: jchalla | March 27, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company