Senate approves Ridge for homeland dept.
The Senate Wednesday unanimously approved Tom Ridge as the first secretary of Homeland Security, giving the new agency a Cabinet-level leader. Congress last fall approved the creation of the department in the biggest overhaul of federal Cabinet departments in 50 years. Ridge, 57, had previously served as a congressman and governor of Pennsylvania before joining the White House as the top adviser to President Bush on domestic security and terrorism following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed about 3,000 people. The Homeland Security Department over the next few years will combine the functions of about 22 agencies and 170,000 federal workers into one department. The reorganization represents the largest federal government reshuffling since the Department of Defense was created in 1947. Full Story