President Obama will announce Friday that he is nominating former Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson to be the next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a senior administration official confirmed to CBS News. He will be the fourth Homeland Security Secretary and the first African-American to hold the post if he's confirmed by the Senate.
If confirmed, Johnson will succeed Janet Napolitano, whoafter being named the next president of the University of California system.
"The President is selecting Johnson because he is one the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the world. During his tenure at the Department of Defense, he was known for his sound judgment and counsel. He was responsible for the prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the President and Secretary of Defense," the official said.
He has become an important member of Mr. Obama's counterterrorism team who is credited with helping to conduct a review and author a report that paved the way for thein 2010. Johnson served two secretaries of defense in addition to the president and been in a senior leadership role at the Defense Department during two administrations.
Johnson, 56, has worked as both a government attorney and in private practice. He a former federal prosecutor who also served as general counsel of the Department of the Air Force during the Clinton administration and as a partner of the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He was an early supporter of Mr. Obama who went door to door in the early stages of his campaign, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the news. l