updated 12/11/2004 7:18:36 AM ET 2004-12-11T12:18:36

Text of Bernard Kerik’s letter to President Bush asking to withdraw as nominee for secretary of the Homeland Security Department, as released by the White House.

Dear Mr. President:

It is with deep regret that I inform you that I cannot continue forward in the confirmation process for the position of secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

While I will always consider your confidence in me to be the honor of a lifetime, I am convinced that, for personal reasons, moving forward would not be in the best interests of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security, or the American people.

Mr. President, as I stated on the day of my nomination, you have been a strong, effective and inspirational leader in the war for freedom and against terror. Under your watch, our nation has taken swift and bold strides against those who threaten our homeland. I remain firm in my belief that I could have made valuable contributions to the department and its efforts. Under the present circumstances, however, I cannot permit matters personal to me to distract from the focus and progress of the Department of Homeland Security and its crucial endeavors.

For these reasons, I must ask you to withdraw my nomination. I personally apologize to you for not having focused on this earlier.

With respect.

Bernard B. Kerik.

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