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Bush Nominates Federal Appeals Judge as Homeland Security Secretary

11-January-2005 1501

President Bush has named federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff as his nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.At a ceremony at the White House Tuesday, President Bush said Mr. Chertoff will be a "strong and able" leader.Mr. Bush said Mr. Chertoff has a distinguished career as a prosecutor and assistant U.S. Attorney General.  The president also said Mr. Chertoff helped trace the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to al-Qaida.Mr. Chertoff led the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division from 2001 to 2003, where he helped craft the Bush administration's legal strategy in the war on terror.Mr. Chertoff said if confirmed by the Senate, he would be "honored" to lead the Homeland Security Department.

He also said it would be a privilege to succeed current Secretary Tom Ridge. Mr. Ridge has led the 180-thousand employee department since its creation in January, 2003.