Michael Chertoff, the new head of the US homeland security department, played a key role in drafting US anti-terror laws in the wake of 9/11.
Chertoff was central in shaping the Bush anti-terror strategy
Now an Appeals Court judge, he was head of the US justice department's criminal division when the 2001 suicide hijackings took place.
In the 1990s, he was a senior counsel on the Whitewater inquiry into Bill and Hillary Clinton's financial dealings.
A native of New Jersey, the 51-year-old still lives in the state.
Presented by President George W Bush, he said that he would be proud to "stand again with the men and women who form our front line against terror".
Mr Bush said Mr Chertoff's track record had shown his integrity as someone who had taken on organised crime in New Jersey, and corporate fraud.
He headed the prosecution against accounting firm Arthur Andersen for destroying documents related to its audits of Enron Corp, the failed energy-trading giant.
He also stood against racial profiling and had worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People legal defence fund to represent poor inmates on death row, Mr Bush said.
"In all of his roles, Mike has shown a deep commitment to the cause of justice and an unwavering determination to protect the American people. Mike has also been a key leader in the war on terror," the president said.
Michael Chertoff was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1953.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Mr Chertoff went into private practice before becoming an assistant US attorney general, where he was appointed to the Whitewater investigation in the mid-nineties.
Mrs Clinton, now a senator for New York, did not always have good relations with the inquiry.
The ex-president's wife will be on the committee that has to confirm Mr Chertoff in his new post.