June 5th, 2009
04:57 PM ET
14 years ago

Mudd withdraws from consideration amid interrogation questions

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Philip Mudd has withdrawn from consideration as undersecretary of intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, a decision that follows new questions over his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

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Ted

    Just wait until the next Republican administration, whether in 4 years or 40, and they try all the "Socialists" and throw them in jail. You can't go back and prosecute a difference of opinion on how to treat the three of the worst people in the world.

    June 5, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Voter

    Obama is a hopeless phony.

    Here he is choosing another Bush Admin. graduate, only to be turned down by REAL Democrats. And the business of allowing families in bankruptcies to save their own home instead only being able to save their vacation home? The Big O Administration never got behind it after promising to help people who are struggling to keep their modest homes instead of helping the rich with their second homes. "Change we can believe in?" Hardly.

    Is he charming? Yes. Engaging? Yes. A good speech-giver? Yes.
    A man who keeps his promises? No.

    June 5, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Justjean

    Weird how some folks bring Nancy Pelosi's comments into everything. She said what she said. Has nothing to do with other news stories.

    The truth of her comments will eventually come out, or... it won't. No one has confirmed either way. If everything was marked top secret, it may take awhile to find out "what's what," especially if "classified" was a cover. We shall see. I am sure folks are working on it.

    June 5, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Buckeye

    What about Charles Freeman? When are you going tell his story and reveal how treacherous and treasonous the Israeli lobby is?

    June 5, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. tee

    Jon Jay
    He didn't want to speak about the torture the Bush administration carried out..........Get a clue..........buy a vowel.

    June 5, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. ule

    He did not drop out. He was fired because of his involvement in waterboarding.

    June 5, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Phil

    He should never have been nominated in the first place! We are supposed to get the change we VOTED for. Remember, elections are supposed to have consequences and the criminals that have perverted and pervaded our country and constitution for the last eight years should never have access to the change in government that we DEMANDED - and again, voted for!

    June 5, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Independent_me

    Serves him right!
    The problem is that the Bush administration had succeeded in cowing just about every one. Nobody dared stand up to them, or question them. Even the news media feared the administration and let them get away with their fear tactics.

    June 5, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. 40acres

    "June 5th, 2009 5:34 pm ET

    Just wait until the next Republican administration, whether in 4 years or 40, and they try all the "Socialists" and throw them in jail. You can't go back and prosecute a difference of opinion on how to treat the three of the worst people in the world."

    That depends on whether one of the "opinions" is illegal doesn't it Ted?

    June 5, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Curtis

    I've never represented my country as a politician or in the security forces. But I know and I think most of us on here have an idea what diddicult decisions these folks have to make. Even though he may have known about the torture, in my opinion I don't think that means he won't do a good job now. (1) Hind sight is 20 / 20 vision, (2) Sometimes under difficult circumstances we may vote no at the table,and register our disapproval, but allow the majority to go ahead with the plan.

    June 5, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. S Callahan

    Wouldn't it make sense to nominate someone from the ranks of the CIA...why go through training someone new...get someone who has first hand knowledge, has good judgement, is slow to anger, and very patient.

    June 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Had It

    Something smells funny - if they think they can avoid prosecution by laying low, they'd better think again.

    It's coming out slowly but surely -- it will ALL come out.

    Change is on the way – it may not be the change the crooks want, and that's your tuff luck.

    June 5, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Amanda

    Just so it is repeated again and again: Torture is un-American. It is in violation of the Geneva Convention (which the US helped draft). It is unworthy of a great country like ours. Period. Those who want to practice it should move to Burma or other countries.

    June 5, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Stormer


    Republicans complain that Obama isn't "reaching across the aisle" and is excluding them. Then, when the President offers a place in his cabinet, or other high-ranking positions to Republicans, they turn them down. THEN they complain to any media outlet that will listen Obama is being partisan and excluding their viewpoint.

    I can't decide; are the Republicans insane, or just plain stupid? Maybe both.

    June 5, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Bob of Lompoc

    Pardon the pun, but his name is MUDD.

    June 5, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Mike TX

    It's good this guy pulled his name out of the hat. He'd be a voice of reason and common sense in an administration that is WAY more concerned with saying the right things than doing the right things.

    Why doesn't Pelosi step down, considering we all know she knew what was going on and chose to look the other way?

    June 5, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. LacrosseMom

    @ Randy....... God willing we will see Bush & Co., brought up on war crime charges. They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and abide by the laws of the United States, waterboarding has been illegal in our Nation....... since the 1800's.

    June 5, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. annie for Palin

    How about pelosi was she aware and is lying or is the CIA lying – the white house should get their house in order.

    June 5, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Simmy

    He did the right thing......Leave Speaker Pelosi the h to the e to the double l alone.....

    June 5, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  20. Tatianna

    Rendition is back, you pro-torturing, posturing, hypocritical leftist fools Team Obama determined that the rendition program was one component of Team Bush on terrorism that it could not afford to discard. Obama preserves, under EXECUTIVE ORDER, that the CIA STILL HAS AUTHORITY to carry out secret abductions and transfer prisoners to countries that cooperate with America. Lefties howled when Bush did this and called it an unlawful detainee designations. And here we have Obama flying detainees to secret prisons off the map from Human Rights groups and Red Cross. Obama sure did ban torture in America but he wants other countries to do the torturing for him. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA ARE NOW OFFICIALLY PRO-TORTURE!

    June 5, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. Tom

    No one anywhere should ever tolerate bringing any bush officials back into office. Not under any circumstances. Certainly not any high-ranking CIA from his administration. They are lucky they are not all in jail. The illegal torture that was conducted in disregard of international law and alll geneva conventions, the illegal wiretapping on US citizens here at home...you would think that it was pretty innocuous but in fact it was anything but, the enron economics are all hallmarks of bush failed policy. He took the best economy in Americas history, with record surpluses and broke the bank and left in financial turmoil and not mentioning record deficits. Most americans believe bush should be in jail,... so, why isn't he?

    June 5, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. Tatianna

    If Team Obama fails to keep us safe and our citizens are attacked at home or abroad, shall we then prosecute those who dismantled our safeguards and gutted our intelligence effort? The left has nothing against torture, they just want to choose its victims. As countless leftists learned in the course of the 20th century, todays witness for the prosecution is tomorrows enemy of the people. By lefties indulging desire to criminalize policy advise, Team Obama has unleashed furier that will haunt his presidency.

    June 5, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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