Johnson has been in the
At the same time, Obama said, Johnson knows about "upholding the values" and the civil liberties that make the country great.
In naming Johnson, the former general counsel for the Department of Defense, Obama is promoting a lawyer who helped to establish the legal framework for lethal drone strikes.
His nomination could step up the pressure on the Obama administration to pull back the curtains on those secret operations. During the
In the Rose Garden on Friday, Obama spoke of his faith in Johnson as an "outstanding public servant" and "pretty good lawyer" who knows about "adapting to threats."
Standing next to the president, Johnson recalled his memories as a New Yorker in the city on the day of the
"I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered, 'What can I do?'" Johnson said. "Since then I have tried to devote myself to answering that question."
If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would take on the task of managing 240,000 employees in an agency cobbled together in the wake of those attacks.
He told Obama he would do his best to keep Americans safe even though he "was not looking for this opportunity" when it came along.
"I love this country," he said. "I care about the safety of our people."