Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, who became a federal contractor in 2001 after serving at the highest levels of military intelligence, withdrew his name late Friday at the end of a week in which he had been repeatedly questioned about his contracting activities. His withdrawal also came after The Washington Post raised questions with the White House on Friday about his disabilities status.
In nomination hearings this week, senators on the commerce and homeland security committees questioned Harding about a contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency that was terminated after $6 million worth of work several years ago. That contract was the subject of a federal audit.
Harding Security Associates agreed to return to the government $1.8 million, some of which government auditors found to be duplicate charges. A review after by the Pentagon's inspector general and others found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.
Harding had a stellar rise through the Pentagon and contracting worlds. From late 1996 to 2000, he served as director of operations for the DIA. He then served as assistant deputy chief of staff for Army intelligence until retiring in August 2001.
Upon leaving government, Harding founded Harding Security Associates, a Virginia firm that received close to $200 million in federal contracts. He sold the company last year.