Colin Powell Among Six Leaving Cabinet

* Colin L. Powell, one of President Bush's closest advisers, has decided to quit his job.

Powell is secretary of state, which means he is responsible for handling the United States' relationships with countries around the world. There are 15 members of the president's Cabinet, or group of advisers, and Powell's job is one of the most important.

Months before the United States invaded Iraq, Powell spoke before the United Nations, saying the group should help get Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of power because he had weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons have not been found, but Powell has said that the Iraq invasion was still necessary.

Powell, 67, is the son of Jamaican parents and grew up in New York City. He fought in the Vietnam War and was awarded medals for his bravery. He worked for the first President Bush in several jobs and was in charge of the U.S. effort in the first Iraq war, in 1991. He retired from the military in 1993 and some people thought he might run for president.

Powell's resignation wasn't a big surprise. He hasn't always gotten along with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, whose department is leading the current war in Iraq. It's not unusual for Cabinet members to leave if a president is reelected. (If the president isn't reelected, Cabinet members quit because the new president gets to pick his own advisers.)

Five other Cabinet officers are quitting: Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans, Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige and Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

Secretary of State Colin Powell helped explain the U.S. case for invading Iraq last year.