Callahan quits DHS

Laura Callahan, the Homeland Security Department's deputy chief information officer who has been on paid administrative leave since last June after her academic credentials were questioned, resigned today.

"Ms. Callahan has resigned effective March 26, 2004," confirmed DHS spokeswoman Valerie Smith. "And it is DHS policy not to comment on individual personnel matters. We want to ensure individual privacy."

Smith said she didn't know who was acting in her place since June and said different people have held different responsibilities.

Callahan, who was deputy CIO at the Labor Department before DHS officials tapped her for the department's post, had apparently procured her academic degrees from a diploma mill, an unaccredited institution that dispenses degrees for little or no work.

She was put on leave after congressional lawmakers had demanded how the department conducted background checks and if she was qualified for the job. Congress has held several hearings since.

Earlier this year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Education Secretary Rod Paige held a meeting to discuss ways for Congress, federal agencies and states to eliminate the use of fake diplomas and fraudulent institutions to obtain jobs and promotions.

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