Bush wants judge to head Homeland Security Department

| 1/11/2005

Michael Chertoff, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, was nominated Tuesday, Jan. 11, to be the next secretary of homeland security.

President George W. Bush announced the nomination at the White House with Chertoff at his side.

The Homeland Security Department includes the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees a number of security related issues in the trucking industry.

“Mike is a talented and experienced public servant,” Bush said during his introduction. “Mike has shown a deep commitment to the cause of justice.”

Bush noted that the judge has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney general, a U.S. attorney in New Jersey, a federal prosecutor in New York City and was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Bush pointed out that he has been “confirmed by the Senate three times,” adding that Chertoff “has also been a key leader in the war on terror.”

“In the days after September the 11th, Mike helped trace the terrorist attacks to the al-Qaida network,” Bush said. “He understood immediately that the strategy of the war on terror is to prevent attacks before they occur.”

If confirmed, Chertoff will replace Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who was the first secretary of the department. In that post, he saw what many observers describe as the largest reorganization in the federal government since the creation of the Department of Defense after World War II.

– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor