Three months into the Bush administration, only one top official of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has been nominated and confirmed: HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. The problem is similar in other federal agencies. But HUD officials say the holdup is neither in the Bush administration nor the Senate. They say the slowdown is at the FBI, which is said to be conducting much more extensive background probes of nominees than in the past.

HUD officials say 121 high-level posts became vacant there when Bush became President. So far 80 people have been selected, but none has been officially nominated, Secretary Kemp says, because their FBI checks are incomplete.

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