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Phil Mudd Indeed Out at Department of Homeland Security

Here’s a statement the White House released from Phil Mudd, a highly respected former CIA analyst, FBI national-security chief and most recently the administration’s nominee for undersecretary of Homeland Security for intelligence:

“Today I am announcing that I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration to be the Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis. I know that this position will require the full cooperation with Congress and I believe that if I continue to move forward I will become a distraction to the President and his vital agenda. I would like to thank the President for the honor of being considered and I extend my good wishes to the exceptional men and women of the Intel and Analysis office; these professionals work hard every day to analyze and share information with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies critical to the security of the United States.”

The statement doesn’t contain an explicit reference to the allegation that Mudd had some (unspecified) knowledge about the former CIA enhanced interrogation program, but The Associated Press reported yesterday that’s the basis for the congressional antipathy to his nomination. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro adds:

“The President believes that Phil Mudd would have been an excellent Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis but understands his personal decision and the choice he has made. It is with sadness and regret that the President accepted Phil’s withdrawal from consideration as Phil once again demonstrated his duty to country above all things.”

Note the “personal decision” construction. And this is from Sean Smith, assistant DHS secretary for public affairs:

“Phil Mudd would have been an outstanding Undersecretary and we are disappointed by his decision but accept it. On an interim basis, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis continues to be led by Bart Johnson, an exceptional leader who is already making the critical changes that will transform this crucial office.”

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