President Barack Obama's pick for intelligence chief at the Homeland Security Department withdrew from consideration today amid questions about his role in the CIA's interrogations of suspected terrorists. Philip Mudd was scheduled to appear next week before senators, but notified the White House today that he was withdrawing his name because he did not want to be a distraction.
At issue was the extent of Mudd's involvement in the interrogation program as a senior CIA official in the Bush administration. As deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA, Mudd had direct knowledge of the agency's harsh interrogation program, said a congressional aide. "If I continue to move forward I will become a distraction to the president and his vital agenda," Mudd said in a statement.