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Chertoff Has ‘Few Days Left,’ Sources Say

In the aftermath of the public revelation of the presidential "teleconference" and mounting criticism of the performance of Michael Chertoff, Administration sources told HUMAN EVENTS today that the secretary of Homeland Security has "only a few days left" in the Bush Cabinet.

As one source acquainted with the former federal prosecutor and U.S. appellate judge said under promise of anonymity, "They will give [Chertoff] a little time so it won’t hurt his reputation too much, but he’s probably got only a few days left."

For weeks, Chertoff has been under fire from Capitol Hill and the media for his performance during the disaster last year. In addition, more criticism has been fueled by his clash with former FEMA Director Michael Brown in the so-called post-Katrina "blame game." (See HUMAN EVENTS’ exclusive report, "Brown: White House Made Me Scapegoat," in which he says, "They’ve got to keep me out there as a scapegoat. If they get rid of Chertoff, they have no new scapegoat. Then it goes to the White House.")

Last month, however, when I asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan if the President had confidence in the embattled Chertoff, he replied without hesitation "Absolutely." Even Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), a very public critic of the Administration’s handling of Katrina, stopped short of calling on Chertoff to leave.

But with the release of the teleconference two days ago and resultant media discussion of the President’s apparent silence as Brown informs him of pending disaster ("Is Brown Owed An Apology?" was the theme of a debate on Fox News last night), criticism of Chertoff and calls for his resignation have been enhanced.

Now, at least one source close to him says the end of his tenure as the nation’s second secretary of Homeland Security is near.

UPDATE — 8:08 p.m.: A senior administration official is refuting my source’s comments that Chertoff’s days are numbered.

“The President offered strong words of support for Secretary Chertoff on Tuesday in an interview with Elizabeth Vargas. Secretary Chertoff is serving in one of the most difficult positions in government and he is doing an excellent job.”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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