Interior Secretary's Departure Surprises Observers Interior Secretary Gale Norton announces she is resigning her post and will leave at the end of March. Norton says she wants to pursue opportunities in the private sector, but the suddenness of her departure surprises many observers.

Interior Secretary's Departure Surprises Observers

Interior Secretary's Departure Surprises Observers

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U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton speaks to media in Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 26, 2005. Norton announced on March 10, 2006 that she will resign her post. Reuters hide caption

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Reuters

Interior Secretary Gale Norton announces she is resigning her post and will leave at the end of March. Norton says she wants to pursue opportunities in the private sector, but the suddenness of her departure surprises many observers.

Norton says that her departure has nothing to do with a Senate Indian Affairs committee investigation. That investigation is looking into e-mails that appear to show a close connection between Norton's former deputy, Steven Griles, and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Norton said she was sure the Interior Department would stand up to scrutiny.