Obama picks attorney Jeh Johnson for Homeland Security chief
WASHINGTON – Reuters
Jeh Johnson speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, in this Nov. 30, 2010, file photo. U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen former Pentagon lawyer Johnson as the new secretary of the Homeland Security Department. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama will nominate attorney Jeh Johnson on Oct. 18 to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a White House official said.
Johnson, who served as general counsel in the Department of Defense during Obama's first term, would succeed Janet Napolitano, who stepped down earlier this year.
"He is one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the world," the official said of Johnson on Oct. 17.
"By advising the president and two secretaries of defense, he was at the center of the development of some of the most sensitive and important national security policies and strategies during the first term."
Johnson is now a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP.
He authored a report that helped lead to the 2010 repeal of the "Don't' Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.
The nomination is the latest by Obama since he chose Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen last week to be the new head of the U.S. central bank. It comes as the federal government gets back into gear after a 16-day shutdown.