HOMELAND SECURITY

Obama's Spy Pick Withdraws

Hoping to nip his own interrogation in the bud, Phillip Mudd, Obama's pick for Homeland Security intelligence chief, withdrew his nomination on Friday amid questions about his connection to questionable CIA tactics. Set to meet with senators about the appointment next week, Mudd—who served as a senior CIA official in the Bush administration—said he didn't want to become a "distraction to the president and his vital agenda." Up for debate was the extent of Mudd's involvement in the previous administration's controversial interrogation, detention and rendition programs involving suspected terrorists, criticized by Obama and other Democrats. The White House accepted Mudd's withdrawal "with sadness and regret," saying he still had the president's full support. Some Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, are considering the price former Bushies are paying for their role in protecting the country: "A chill wind is blowing through the intelligence community as operatives and analysts are now being forced to consider shifting political sands along with the national security decisions they make," said Michigan's Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.