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Chertoff Is Just As Incompetent As Gonzales

Amanda Terkel: Chertoff's tenure at Homeland Security has led to frequent calls for his resignation, yet he appears to be the frontrunner to replace Gonzales as attorney general.
This post, written by Amanda Terkel, originally appeared on Think Progress

One of the most repeated criticisms of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's tenure was that he continued to serve as Bush's lawyer, rather than the nation's lawyer. "He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove," said Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) in a statment today.

The media are reporting that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is the frontrunner to replace Gonzales. Yet it's not clear that Chertoff will be any more independent or competent.

Most recently, Chertoff was criticized for claiming that he had a "gut feeling" the nation faced a heightened chance of a terrorist attack this summer. As head of the agency overseeing FEMA, he managed the administration's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina. He also faced bipartisan criticism for his agency's misallocation of terrorism funding.

This morning, CNN's legal analyst Jeff Toobin speculated that there are already "very good sign[s]" for Chertoff's nomination. But in the past, Chertoff's incompetence as DHS head has prompted bipartisan calls for his resignation:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called for the resignation of Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday, one day after the government dropped Las Vegas from a list of cities considered potential high-risk targets eligible for special anti-terrorism grants. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/5/06]
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY): Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, warned that if the funding isn't fixed, "Chertoff should consider resigning." [New York Daily News, 6/2/06]
Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.
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