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Rep. Garrett Praises President's Nomination of Chertoff as DHS Chief

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Garrett Praises President's Nomination of Chertoff as DHS Chief

January 11, 2005, WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) praised President Bush's nomination of federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Chertoff, also a former federal prosecutor, helped craft the early War on Terror strategy.

"I praise President Bush's decision to nominate Chertoff as head of the Department of Homeland Security," said Garrett. "He has a vast knowledge of the workings of the FBI as well as in prosecuting terrorism cases. He will serve as an asset in the Department's overall goal to protect the American people."

Chertoff was a U.S. attorney in New Jersey before he became special counsel for the Whitewater Committee in the U.S. Senate. He was then a partner with the firm, Latham and Watkins, then joined the Justice Department as an assistant attorney general within the criminal division.

As the administration's top anti-terrorism prosecutor during that time, he played a central role in the nation's legal response to the September 11 attacks. He dealt with how to handle illegal immigrations involved in possible terrorism cases, and was involved in prosecuting such high-profile cases as that of Zacarias Moussaoui.

He served as head of the Justice Department's criminal division from 2001 to 2003 until he was made an appeals court judge in 2003. Chertoff has also worked on combating cyber-crime and was a member of former Attorney General Janet Reno's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.

"As head of the Justice Department criminal division, Chertoff served a key role in the Administration's strategy in combating the War on Terror." Garrett said. "He knows and understands the challenges of homeland security for this country, and remains resolute in his commitment to the security of the American people."

Garrett concluded, "I look forward to working with Chertoff to promote the security needs of our nation. I am confident that he will continue upon the accomplishments of Secretary Ridge and bring his skills in effective leadership to the Administration as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security."

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