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Senate approves Chertoff nomination

[JURIST] The US Senate late Tuesday afternoon approved the nomination of federal appeals judge Michael Chertoff as the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The vote, originally scheduled for last week, had been delayed while Senate Democrats unsuccessfully sought further information on an FBI internal memo written in 2004, after Chertoff had left the Justice Department, that in originally-released form had edited-out names of DOJ lawyers present at a meeting on US military interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay whom Democrats said they wanted to question. The final vote on the nomination was 98-0 [Senate roll call]. One Republican and one Democrat missed the vote. Senator Susan Collins, the Republican chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, offered these remarks on Chertoff in presenting his nomination to the full Senate Monday [Senate Republicans audio clip, MP3]. Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, supported Chertoff's nomination [Leahy press statement], in the process expressing "astonishment" at President Bush's previous nomination of former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik [JURIST report], who withdrew his name [JURIST report] in early January. Bloomberg has more.

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