Kerik Named to Lead Homeland Security

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

President Bush has chosen former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who helped oversee the city's response to the Sept. 11 attacks, to run the Department of Homeland Security, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Bush also announced his choice of Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns to be agriculture secretary, choosing a dairy farmer's son who has traveled widely to promote American farm sales abroad.

And, in a third development, U.N. Ambassador John Danforth submitted his resignation, an official said. Danforth had taken the post last June.

The flurry of announcements came as Bush reshaped his team for his second term in office.

Kerik's path to the top anti-terror position, replacing Tom Ridge, has been anything but conventional.

A military policeman in South Korea in the 1970s, Kerik's first anti-terrorism work was as a paid private security worker in Saudi Arabia. He joined the New York Police Department in 1986, first walking a beat in Times Square when it was still a haven for small-time hustlers.

He eventually was tapped to lead the city's corrections department, and was appointed commissioner in 2000.

It was in that position that he became known to the rest of the country, supervising the NYPD's response to the 2001 terror attacks, often at the side of then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In 2003, he took on a temporary assignment in Iraq to help rebuild the country's police force.

After the 9/11 attack, Kerik helped rally a department that lost 23 members. Most recently, he has been a consultant for Giuliani Partners, working to rebuild Baghdad's police force.

Danforth had been mentioned as a successor to Secretary of State Colin Powell, but Bush picked Condoleezza Rice. Danforth plans to retire.

Danforth, 68, a Republican former Missouri senator, has been tapped by presidents of both parties as a troubleshooter. He led a Clinton-era investigation of the Waco Branch Davidian affair, and Bush named him special envoy for peace in Sudan. Danforth took over at the United Nations when Bush's first ambassador, John Negroponte, resigned this year.


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