US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has revealed he twice offered to resign during a crisis last year over prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.
Mr Rumsfeld said he had no regrets about the scandal
In a CNN interview, Mr Rumsfeld said he was ready to take responsibility for the scandal over pictures showing US troops and staff mistreating prisoners.
But he said each time he offered to go, President Bush asked him to stay on.
The BBC's Adam Brookes at the Pentagon says Mr Rumsfeld's position now looks even more secure.
Last year was a bruising year for the combative defence secretary, our correspondent says.
In Iraq, the insurgency inflamed cities across the country and then lurid photographs of American troops abusing Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison were published around the world.
But the Bush administration has been much encouraged by Sunday's elections in Iraq.
Mr Rumsfeld did not specify when he offered to quit.
"I submitted my resignation to President Bush twice during that period and told him that ... I felt that he ought to make the decision as to whether or not I stayed on. And he made that decision and said he did want me to stay on," he told the programme Larry King Live.
But he said his conscience was clear.
"What was going on in the midnight shift in Abu Ghraib prison halfway across the world is something that clearly someone in Washington DC can't manage or deal with. And so I have no regrets," he said.
But Mr Rumsfeld said steps had been taken to prevent a recurrence of such abuses.
"We've made a lot of corrections to make sure that those kinds of things [that] happened either don't happen again or are immediately found out and limited and contained," he said.
In August an investigation found that senior Pentagon and military officials contributed to an atmosphere in which prisoners suffered abuse and failed to properly monitor conduct of detention policies.