Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has abruptly withdrawn his name from consideration to be U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, prompting the search for a new candidate.

In a letter to the White House, Mr. Kerik says he has uncovered information which has caused him to question the immigration status of a nanny he had employed. He said that it had also come to his attention that he had not paid the required taxes for her employment with his family.

Mr. Kerik informed the president of his decision late Friday. The White House said President Bush accepted Mr. Kerik's decision.

Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Kerik last week to succeed Tom Ridge as head of the 180,000 employee department.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.