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Obama's TSA pick: Hire on 'ethnic diversity'

Gen. Robert Harding

President Obama’s pick to head the Transportation Security Administration long has pushed for “ethnic diversity” as a determining factor in hiring new teams for U.S. military and intelligence agencies, WND has learned.

The president announced today his nominee for TSA chief, retired Gen. Robert Harding.

Harding served in the Army for 33 years until he retired in 2001 and went into business as a private security contractor. He previously served as the Defense Department’s top human intelligence officer and managed a $1 billion intelligence collection program. Between 2003 and 2009, Harding was a government consultant on human intelligence and counterintelligence issues.

He has lobbied for “ethnic diversity” in the U.S. defense establishment.

WND found that in 2003, Harding submitted written testimony to a Senate subcommittee hearing on intelligence issues pushing for more diversity at security agencies, going so far as to call diversity a “requirement.”

The title of Harding’s written testimony was “Building Capabilities: The Intelligence Community’s National Security Requirement for Diversity of Languages, Skills, and Ethnic and Cultural Understanding.”

“Working with larger defense contractors, I find that bringing in multicultural talent remains challenging, especially on classified contracts,” Harding wrote.

Harding noted how he previously testified in Senate hearings while working at the Defense Department. He then applauded the senatorial committee for remaining “steadfastly clear about the need for diversity in the ranks of the CIA.”

He urged the Defense Department to “build systems and incentives to attract, maintain and sustain a diverse group of gifted (human intelligence) operatives.”

Harding maintained the military community “still needs senior folks with language and diversity at the top – folks who feel a responsibility in a particularly focused way.”

He cited as models situations in which women and minority senior Defense officers increased the number of minorities in their departments:

Harding declared “selection must be made at the senior levels!”

He added, “[There are] many ways to do that, but if legislation is needed maybe it should be part of the discussion here.”

Obama’s original pick for the TSA job, Erroll Southers, withdrew from consideration in January over Republican concern Southers would attempt to unionize TSA security agents.

WND was first to report Southers boasted to a major union he looked forward to “joining” with them to add value to TSA security.

Harding, meanwhile, would not be the only Obama administration official with controversial views on diversity.

WND reported President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, last month stated the White House is working to calibrate policies in the fight against terrorism that ensure Americans are “never” profiled.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session for Muslim law students at New York University, Brennan declared himself a “citizen of the world.”

The meeting was facilitated by the Islamic Society of North America, a radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.

With research by Brenda J. Elliott