The following is the text of the letter Bernard Kerik sent to President Bush on December 10, 2004:

Dear Mr. President:

It is with deep regret that I inform you that I cannot continue forward in the confirmation process for the position of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. While I will always consider your confidence in me to be the honor of a lifetime, I am convinced that, for personal reasons, moving forward would not be in the best interests of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security or the American people.

Mr. President, as I stated on the day of my nomination, you have been a strong, effective and inspirational leader in the war for freedom and against terror. Under your watch, our nation has taken swift and bold strides against those who threaten our homeland. I remain firm in my belief that I could have made valuable contributions to the Department and its efforts. Under the present circumstances, however, I cannot permit matters personal to me to distract from the focus and progress of the Department of Homeland Security and its crucial endeavors. For these reasons, I must ask you to withdraw my nomination. I personally apologize to you for not having focused on this earlier.

With respect,

Bernard B. Kerik