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Michael Chertoff

John W.H. Crim

Michael Chertoff (2001-2003)

Early History: Michael Chertoff was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1953.  He received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1975 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978.  From 1978 to 1979, Mr. Chertoff served as a law clerk to Judge Murray Gurfein of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  From 1979 to 1980, he clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. 

After working in private practice, from 1983 Mr. Chertoff served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  From 1990 to 1994, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.  Later, he would be appointed special counsel for the Senate Whitewater Committee.

Tenure: In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Mr. Chertoff to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.  During his time he helped enact the USA Patriot Act and presided over the creation of the Enron Task Force.  In 2003, he was confirmed as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Later Career: In 2005, Mr. Chertoff was confirmed as the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security.  He held that position until 2009. 

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.

Updated July 16, 2018