Lieberman Statement on Chertoff Nomination Warns of Difficult Job Ahead

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., issued the following statement Tuesday on the nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Michael Chertoff to succeed Governor Tom Ridge as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security:

“I welcome the President’s nomination of Michael Chertoff to fill the important post of Homeland Security Secretary. Judge Chertoff is a respected lawyer and law enforcer, and I look forward to reviewing his record in detail as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee carries out its obligations. “Outgoing Secretary Tom Ridge oversaw the very difficult consolidation of two dozen programs and agencies into a single department. Judge Chertoff, if confirmed, will face significant challenges to improve the Department’s operations and set clear security policies to safeguard the American public from future terrorist attack. “The Department is still struggling to integrate its many component parts into a well-organized machine. It has not yet articulated a clear homeland security strategy. And it is behind in its work to catalog and assess threats to the nation’s core energy, telecommunications, water, transportation, and financial networks. High turnover and scarce resources are partially to blame. But, ultimately, the Department will succeed only with muscular leadership from the top. “I look forward to the Committee’s confirmation hearings and to working with the confirmed nominee to keep America safe.”