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  • Greg Cannon
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6812230/ Bush picks judge to head homeland security Chertoff is 2nd pick after Kerik withdrew nomination BREAKING NEWS By NBC s Pete
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2005
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      Bush picks judge to head homeland security

      Chertoff is 2nd pick after Kerik withdrew nomination
      By NBC's Pete Williams and news agencies
      Updated: 10:00 a.m. ET Jan. 11, 2005
      WASHINGTON - President Bush will nominate federal
      appeals court judge Michael Chertoff, a former federal
      prosecutor who helped craft the early war on terror
      strategy, to be the new secretary of Homeland
      Security, officials told NBC on Tuesday.

      The official announcement is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

      Chertoff is on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the
      Third Circuit. He was nominated to the seat in March
      2003 by the president.

      A Harvard law graduate, Chertoff previously headed the
      Justice Department�s criminal division, where he
      played a central role in the nation�s legal response
      to the September eleventh attacks.

      Before that he was in private practice and in 1994-96
      served as the Senate Republicans� chief counsel for
      the Clinton-era Whitewater investigation.

      Chertoff, who still needs to be confirmed by the
      Senate, was actually the president�s second pick for
      the job. Former New York City police chief Bernard
      Kerik withdrew as nominee last month, citing
      immigration problems with a family housekeeper.

      After failing to disclose the nanny problem during an
      initial screening, Kerik acknowledged it during a
      subsequent vetting phase as he filled out a clearance

      Moussaoui connection
      Chertoff was one of the administration�s key figures
      in the war on terror.

      He took the lead in 2003 in successfully arguing the
      government�s case in a potentially precedent-setting
      appeal involving terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui,
      the lone man charged as a conspirator in the Sept. 11
      attacks and playing a significant role in development
      of the U.S. Patriot Act to combat terrorist attacks.

      As a federal prosecutor in New Jersey from 1990 to
      1994, Chertoff oversaw high-profile prosecutions of
      Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann, New York chief judge
      Sol Wachtler and the kidnappers and killers of Exxon
      executive Sidney Reso.

      He also worked in Trenton as special counsel to the
      state Senate Judiciary Committee that investigated
      racial profiling in New Jersey.

      Cabinet changes
      The choice of a new homeland security chief completes
      a substantial makeover of the Bush team as the
      president awaits his swearing-in Jan. 20 for a new

      Donald Rumsfeld, John Snow and Norman Mineta have
      remained as secretaries of defense, treasury and
      transportation, but Bush has changed most other key
      agency positions.

      He turned to close associates Margaret Spellings and
      Alberto Gonzales for the positions of secretary of
      education and attorney general and chose his
      first-term national security adviser, Condoleezza
      Rice, to be secretary of state.

      Congress has started the process of confirmation
      hearings, and Gonzales appeared last week before the
      Senate Judiciary Committee, where Democrats quizzed
      him aggressively about his role in the writing of an
      administrations policy paper interpreting what kinds
      of interrogations of enemy combatants could be
      permitted under a 1994 law banning torture.

      Rice has her initial confirmation hearing on Jan. 18,
      two days before Bush�s inauguration.

      Homeland's history
      Ridge leaves behind a department that is still in
      transition. Culled from 22 often-disparate federal
      agencies, the 180,000-employee organization still
      faces criticism over aspects of its massive government
      merger, including matters from the coordination of
      finances to computer systems.

      In October 2001, Ridge became the nation�s first White
      House homeland security adviser, leading a massive
      undertaking to rethink all aspects of security within
      the U.S. borders in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

      Congress later passed legislation establishing the
      Homeland Security Department, with Ridge taking over
      as the first secretary in January 2003.
      NBC's Pete Williams is based in Washington. The
      Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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