President Bush to announce his choice for Mr Kerik's replacement

The White House renewed its search for a homeland security chief as the candidate &to=http:// ' target=_blank>President George W Bush thought ideal apologised for an immigration problem involving a family housekeeper that forced him to withdraw.

"I owe the president ... a great apology that this may have caused him and his administration a big distraction," Bernard Kerik said on Saturday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Speaking from his home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, the 49-year-old Kerik said he had discovered a few days ago that he did not pay all required taxes for a family nanny-housekeeper and that the woman may have been in the country illegally, reports News24.

&to=http:// ' target=_blank>US media organisations had been probing the colourful and sometimes-controversial Mr Kerik's past, producing damaging reports that raised concerns about his behaviour.

The most recent example was a Newsweek report at the weekend that an arrest warrant had been issued for him after a civil property dispute six years ago. But Mr Kerik said yesterday the matter had been settled.

Mr Bush quickly accepted Mr Kerik's resignation. The former police chief said he thought he could have toughed out the nomination hearings, but the cost would be too great.

"It would have been messy, ugly and an embarrassment to President Bush, so I withdrew my name," he said, informs The Australian.

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