4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Susan Collins, Chairwoman, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, (Republican-Maine):
"Since when have we become so cynical about good people who are willing to step forward, sacrifice and serve our country. How could our colleagues from Michigan and Massachusetts come to this floor, praise Judge Chertoff, pledge to vote to confirm him, and then condemn the nomination process when we have concluded that the judge gave us truthful straightforward answers and we have no reason to doubt the answers that he gave us."
5. Senate floor
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader, (Democrat-Nevada):
"Chertoff has testified before the Homeland Security Government Affairs Committee that he was not directly involved in the administration's decision to gut the Geneva Conventions and set out on a new and dangerous path with regard to interrogations. We have to take Judge Chertoff at his word, because a documentary proof has either been denied the senators, otherwise so heavily redacted, that it raises questions about the role of criminal division overseen by Judge Chertoff. The debate over this nomination as my colleague Senator Levin has brought to the attention of the American people as he discussed yesterday here on the floor, is a debate over the right of the United States' Senate and the American people have information about the way our government does business."
The US Senate confirmed federal judge Michael Chertoff as the nation's second Homeland Security secretary on Tuesday, placing the tough-on-terrorism former prosecutor in charge of a bureaucracy prone to infighting and turf wars.
Chertoff, 51, has promised to balance protecting the country with preserving civil liberties as head of the sprawling agency that was created as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The 98-0 vote came nearly two weeks after Chertoff faced pointed questioning from Democrats about his role in developing the US investigation immediately after the attacks.
Chertoff headed the Justice Department's criminal division when hundreds of foreigners were swept up on relatively minor charges and held for an average of 80 days.
Some detainees were denied their right to see an attorney, were not told of the charges against them, or were physically abused.
At the February 2 hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Chertoff defended the investigation strategy but conceded it was not always executed "perfectly".
Few expected Chertoff to face widespread opposition in the Senate.
But his confirmation was delayed by Senator Carl Levin, (Democrat-Michigan) to protest being denied Justice Department information about the treatment of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
Levin unsuccessfully sought an unedited copy of a May 2004 secret Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) memo that discussed interrogation techniques to see if it mentioned or involved Chertoff.
The department denied Levin's request but said the memo did not refer to Chertoff "by name or otherwise".
Chertoff, now a federal appeals court judge, headed the Justice Department's criminal division during the government investigation immediately following the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Monday's debate was led by Senator Levin, who said he plans to support Chertoff despite the Senate's refusal to supply some relevant information.
Chertoff told lawmakers earlier this month he had no knowledge of the contents of the FBI memo, or who sent it.
Chertoff also denied approving any harsh interrogation techniques that violate anti-torture laws.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairwoman Susan Collins said the memo is irrelevant to Chertoff's nomination and urged lawmakers to take his assurances at face value.
Known as a fiery, wiry workhorse, Chertoff had previously been confirmed three times - as a 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals judge, Justice Department assistant attorney general and US attorney in New Jersey.
He takes over the 180-thousand employee Homeland Security Department in the wake of new regulations replacing salaries based on workers' seniority with a merit pay system.
The regulations are being challenged in federal court by four labour unions who represent the agency's employees.
Chertoff replaces Tom Ridge, who stepped down February 1.