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Tag: Attorney General

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano Getting High Marks in Administration

Taking over an agency that is still a work in progress isn’t easy. But apparently she’s getting high marks within the Administration.  Her name also pops up as a candidate for the Supreme Court or for Attorney General should Eric Holder ever leave.

Janet Napolitano/bill maher show

Janet Napolitano/bill maher show

By Anne E. Kornblut
The Washington Post

BARCELONA — Janet Napolitano stood near the water’s edge, arms crossed, gazing up at a giant X-ray contraption.

It was a sleepy Saturday in Barcelona, and the city port was deserted. But the secretary of homeland security, who had flown in for a few hours on her way to Nigeria, was confronting this elephantine tangle of metal. This stop was the second on an international tour she launched after an attempted airliner attack on Christmas nearly became the Obama administration’s Sept. 11, 2001.

Surrounded by rows of shipping containers, 42,000 of which are sent to the United States each year, Napolitano quickly summed up the magnitude of her task, which even a machine this large could hardly address.

“Is there only the one scanner for the entire port?” Napolitano asked.

Yes, her guide replied. Napolitano winced.

To read full story click here.

Obama Administration Ready to Name James Cole as New Dep. Atty. General

James Cole/law firm

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration, which still has more vacant positions to fill than a department store chain before Christmas, is apparently getting ready to name a new deputy attorney general.

The investigative news website ProPublica reports that the administration is ready to nominate white collar defense attorney James A. Cole, 57 a partner at Bryan Cave, a D.C. law firm. He would replace David Ogden who stepped down last February. He didn’t appear to be a good fit.

Cole previously served as deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, ProPublica reported. He was special counsel to the House ethics committee in 1997.

Atty. Gen. Holder Vows Admin. Will Use Both Civilian and Military Courts to Fight Terrorism

doj photo

doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning that the administration planned to use both civilian and military commissions to fight terrorism.

In a prepared statement, he said:

“Let me be clear: this Administration will use every tool available to fight terrorism. That includes both civilian courts and military commissions. Indeed, we have already referred six cases for prosecution in commissions. We will no doubt refer other cases, as well. We have deployed the full extent of our intelligence, military and law enforcement resources to defeat terrorists, and we have achieved significant results.

“It would jeopardize those results to prohibit the use of the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists, as some in Congress have proposed, and it would seriously weaken our national security. Instead of pursuing a narrow approach to fighting terrorism, we must be flexible, pragmatic and aggressive. And in every circumstance, we must choose the weapon that will be most effective.

“That said, I know you all have questions about the prosecution of those charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks. No final decision has been made about the forum in which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants will be tried.

“As I’ve said from the outset, this is a close call. It should be clear to everyone by now that there are many legal, national security and practical factors to be considered here. As a consequence, there are many perspectives on what the most appropriate and effective forum is. In making this decision, I can assure you that this Administration has only one paramount goal: to ensure that justice is done in this case. In the pursuit of justice, we will enforce the law and protect the American people.”

“Today, I want you all to know that I continue to value, and will work to uphold, the trust this Committee has placed in me. I also want to reassert my pledge that, so long as I have the privilege of serving as Attorney General, the Department of Justice will be an instrument of our Constitution and a servant of the American people — not of any party or political ideology.

Atty. Gen. Hones Political Ear

Eric Holder is struggling with a typical dilemma in Washington: He’s a nice guy and he’s trying to stay a nice, decent guy while dealing with all the politics. The Obama administration wants to have an independent Justice Department, unlike the one run by Alberto Gonzales. But the administration doesn’t want to put up a nice guy like Holder– at least not on his own —  to do battle  against a pack of hungry political wolves determined to seize on any political weakness.  But we can probably expect him to  speak out more and defend his actions. The New York Times has done a great job profiling Holder.

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

By Jodi Kantor and Charlie Savage
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Last winter, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called the United States a “nation of cowards” for avoiding frank conversations on race, President Obama mildly rebuked him in public.

Out of view, Mr. Obama’s aides did far more. Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina, the White House chief and deputy chief of staff, proposed installing a minder alongside Mr. Holder to prevent further gaffes — someone with better “political antennae,” as one administration official put it.

When he heard of the proposal at a White House meeting, Mr. Holder fumed; soon after, he confronted his deputy, David W. Ogden, who knew of the plan but had not alerted his boss, according to several officials. Mr. Holder fought off the proposal, signaling that his job was about the law, not political messaging.

A year later, he is no longer so certain. His most important plan — to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, in federal court in Manhattan — collapsed before it even began, after support from the public and local officials withered.

Now Mr. Holder has switched from resisting what he had considered encroachment by White House political officials to seeking their guidance. Two weeks ago, he met with advisers there to discuss how to unite against common foes.

For Full story click here.

Ebony and GQ Magazines Give Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Major Shout Outs

Holder in GQ (left) and in Ebony
Holder in GQ (left) and in Ebony

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. is getting serious shout outs this month in some major magazines —  GQ and Ebony. Not bad.

Ebony, in its December/January issue,  listed Holder as one of the “Ebony Power 150” along with such notables as Michelle Obama, Bill Cosby, Rev. Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah.

“Here’s to you Mr. Holder,” the magazine wrote “for not biting your tongue and  for speaking up for what’s right. Finally, the Justice Department may actually carry out real justice. Holder has already rolled back the Bush administration’s policies on toture, disparities in sentencing and racial-profiling.”

And in the December GQ, in its “Men of the Year Issue”, Holder has been crowned a “Maverick.” It’s a compliment even if vice presidential Sarah Palin tossed that term around during the 2008 campaign like confetti in a parade.

Holder, as in the Ebony list, is in good company with such big names as President  Barack Obama, Alec Baldwin and Clint Eastwood.

“Inside the foyer of the Justice Department, two photographs grace the wall,” the GQ article says of Holder. “One shows the president, the other the attorney general. Over the years, the pictures have changed, but the change has never been more apparent than now: for the first time in history, both portraits are of young black men.

“The election of of Barack Obama last fall marked a shattering of racial barriers. But in many ways, his selection of Eric Holder as attorney general was an even more powerful symbol. No other federal agency has a more complicated history with race that the DoJ. At times a beacon of hope, enforcing civil rights, the department is also tarnished, as all American law enforcement is tarnished by the intractable problems of police brutality and racial profiling. To see a black man appointed as the nation’s top cop has special resonance in communities of color.

“Over the past ten months, Holder has learned to leverage his power — both actual an symbolic. He has reinvigorated the DoJ’s commitment to civil rights, launching long overdue investigations of banking discrimination, and detainee abuse. But he has also reached far beyond the department, attend a rally in Selma to remember Bloody Sunday and speaking out in Chicago after a surge in youth violence.

“I think it gives confidence to people who have suffered discrimination and injustice to know that they have a champion,” says Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers. “Eric has walked in their shoes.”

Now That Wasn’t Very Long: Deputy Atty. Gen. David Ogden Stepping Down

People inside the department complained of low morale and too much politics. Interestingly, it’s not a very long time to stick around. Then again, better to go now if it’s not working out instead of dragging it out and creating more problems.

David Ogden/law firm photo

David Ogden/law firm photo

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — After less than a year as the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, David Ogden is returning to private practice, the department announced Thursday. His resignation will take effect on Feb. 5, allowing the Obama administration time to nominate his successor.

Ogden, 56, co-chaired President Barack Obama’s Justice Department transition team and was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in March. He is expected to return to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where he was co-chair of the government and regulatory litigation practice group.

Rumors had circulated for weeks that Ogden was on his way out amid reports of bad morale at the Justice Department and displeasure with his management style.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Gets Blasted From Both Sides

Mild-mannered Eric Holder is finding that’s it’s not only tough to please all of Washington,  it’s tough to please either side of the isle — Democrat-Republican, liberal-conservative. Lately, the left has been blasting him for trying to smooth over the past events involving the Bush administration. All in a days work in Washington.

Eric Holdler/msnbc

Eric Holdler/msnbc

By Carrie Johnson and Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — July cannot be counted as the warmest of months for Eric H. Holder Jr. The attorney general clashed with Congress over national security policy, fielded complaints from federal judges upset with bungled evidence and, in the most painful indignity, cracked his tooth.

Then came a bombshell three days ago that has sent Washington political circles reeling: Holder’s inclination to appoint a prosecutor to examine whether interrogators tortured terrorism suspects during the Bush years. The disclosure has exposed him to new scrutiny even among colleagues in the Obama administration, where views about unearthing divisive episodes from the past are hardly uniform.

All of that took a back seat yesterday when Holder, 58, arrived in his home town of New York for a rousing speech to the NAACP, where he had served as an intern decades ago. Seated between civil rights icon Julian Bond and the group’s president, Benjamin Todd Jealous, at a luncheon during the organization’s centennial convention, Holder was lauded by the crowd as a symbol of pride and progress in his ascent to becoming the nation’s first black attorney general.

For Full Story

Fed Grand Jury Probing Alabama Atty. Gen.

Atty. Gen. Troy King

Atty. Gen. Troy King

This is one heck of an interesting situation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery has recused itself and the Birmingham office is handling the probe which seems to be focusing on a variety of matters including gambling and selective prosecution. It’s never good when a state Attorney General is the target of a federal probe, whether there’s something there or not.

By Bob Gambacurta
The Montgomery Independent
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A special called federal grand jury in Montgomery, investigating the Alabama Attorney General and the activities of his office, heard from more than a half-dozen witnesses last week. News of the grand jury investigation caught even the target, Attorney General Troy King, by surprise.

“Sure, that would be a surprise,” King told the Montgomery Independent Monday afternoon when contacted about the investigation. Friends and staff of the Republican Attorney General said they were “shocked” to learn of the investigation.

The Independent broke the story Monday at 7:55 p.m. with a posting on this Web site. Multiple, highly-placed sources told the Independent that at least seven former employees of the Attorney General’s office were called to testify Monday through Friday of last week.

For Full Story