U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who has headed
President Bush’s efforts to build up domestic security following the September
11 attacks, resigned Tuesday, Nov. 30.
who has warned that the country may face increased terror risks through the holidays
and during the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, said he would remain on the
job through Feb. 1. He submitted his resignation to President Bush on Tuesday
morning after attending a daily threat briefing with CIA and FBI officials.
“After more than 22 consecutive years of public service, it
is time to give personal and family matters a higher priority,” Ridge said in a
letter. “With your concurrence, it is my desire to continue to serve as
Secretary until February 1, 2005, or until the Senate confirms my successor.”
those mentioned as possible candidates for Ridge’s replacement are:
- Bernard Kerik,
interim Minister of the Interior for Iraq and former New York City police
- Former Federal
Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh;
Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt; and
- White House
homeland security adviser Fran Townsend.
also thought to be interested in the job include Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary
for border and transportation security in the Homeland Security Department, and
former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Ridge is the seventh
member of Bush’s Cabinet to resign since the president won re-election Nov. 2,
including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft.