Obama picks former Army intel officer to lead TSA

WASHINGTON — An Obama administration official says the president plans to nominate a former top Army intelligence official to lead the Transportation Security Administration.

The administration official says President Barack Obama has chosen retired General Robert Harding to lead the federal agency charged with keeping terrorists and bombs off airplanes.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet public.

Harding's intelligence background is significant because the administration has stepped up its counterterrorism efforts since the attempted airplane bombing on Christmas Day.

Obama's original pick for the TSA job withdrew his name from consideration when it became clear he would face a tough confirmation battle in the Senate.

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