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Former New York Police Chief to Head Homeland Security Department


President Bush has nominated the man who headed New York's police department during the 2001 terrorist attack on that city to lead the cabinet department set up in the aftermath of the attacks.

President Bush named former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as the head of the huge Department of Homeland Security that controls U.S. borders and is the key agency responsible for preventing terrorism in the United States.

"In every position, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent, and a record of great success," president Bush said. "I am grateful he has agreed to bring his lifetime of security experience and skill to one of the most important positions in the federal government. Bernie is a dedicated, innovative reformer, who insists on getting results."

Mr. Kerik was the New York Police Commissioner during the September 11 attacks three years ago, and Mr. Bush said Mr. Kerik's experience following those assaults will help him lead the Homeland Security Department.

"Bernie Kerik understands the duties that came to America on September the 11th," Mr. Bush added. "The resolve he felt that morning will guide him every day on his job, and every first responder defending our homeland will have a faithful ally in Bernie Kerik."

After leading the New York police department, Mr. Kerik helped train the new police force in Iraq.

He said during a ceremony at the White House that the memory of those who died on September 11 will remain etched in his mind.

"There is not a day that has passed since the morning of September 11th, [that] I haven't thought of the sacrifices of those heroes, and the losses we all suffered," Mr. Kerik said. "I promise you, Mr. President, that both the memory of those courageous souls and the horrors I saw inflicted upon our proud nation will serve as permanent reminders of the awesome responsibility you place in my charge."

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Kerik, 49, will lead a department that supervises 22 federal agencies, with more than 180,000 employees

Mr. Kerik is a staunch supporter of President Bush, and campaigned for him during his recent re-election campaign.

The current secretary, Tom Ridge, resigned earlier this week, saying he wanted to have more time for his family and other personal matters.