Ridge resigns Homeland Security post

| 11/30/2004

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.

Ridge, 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.”

Among 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 commissioner;
  • Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh;
  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt; and
  • White House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend.

Others 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.