WASHINGTON (CNN) – Philip Mudd has withdrawn from consideration as undersecretary of intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, a decision that follows new questions over his knowledge of the CIA's controversial interrogation programs during the Bush administration.
"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," said White House spokesman Nick Shapiro in a Friday afternoon statement. "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."
Mudd was deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA during the Bush administration. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said earlier this week that her staff was following up on news reports that suggested Mudd was aware of the agency's use of aggressive interrogation techniques during the Bush era.
"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," said Mudd, in a statement released by the White House.
"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."
White House Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, who was originally President Obama's pick to be CIA director, withdrew from consideration for that post before confirmation hearings several months ago amid similar questions about his own knowledge of detention and interrogation policies during the Bush administration.
DHS assistant secretary of public affairs Sean Smith said Friday that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis would continue to be guided on an interim basis by Bart Johnson. No permanent replacement has been named.
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Adam Levine contributed this report