panel Jan. 17 unanimously approved Tom Ridge’s nomination to head
the new Homeland Security Department. Full Senate confirmation
was expected to come quickly so Ridge would be in place when the
department is officially established next week.
of the “enormity of our task” of bringing together 22 federal
agencies with 170,000 employees to lead the security campaign.
The new department, he told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee,
“will not in and of itself be able to stop all attempts by those
who wish to do us harm,” The Associated Press reported.
lawmakers said the fight to stem terrorism should not come at
the expense of civil rights or the free flow of commerce.
a former congressman and former governor of Pennsylvania who since
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been President Bush's chief adviser
on homeland security.
The new agency,
to be created over this year, will combine the Secret Service,
Coast Guard, Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service,
Transportation Security Administration, Federal Emergency Management
Agency and other offices with security-related functions. It will
mark the biggest government reorganization since the Defense Department
was formed in 1947.