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Tag: Office of Legal Counsel

Influential Justice Department Official Steps Down Quietly After Less Than 3 Years on Job

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Virginia Seitz, the leader of an influential Justice Department office that handles surveillance and security, quietly resigned from her job after less than three years on the job, NPR reports.

Seitz received Senate confirmation in 2011, taking over the unit responsible for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Sources told NPR that Seitz was well-liked but the job was demanding, and she’s grieving from the loss of a close friend last year.

“Ms. Seitz served for 2 1/2 years in one of the most demanding jobs at the department and was deeply admired throughout the building. Her reasons for leaving were entirely personal, and we respected that,” said Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon.

A Snapshot of Justice Dept. Nominee Dawn Johnsen: Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

By AllGov
Dawn E. Johnsen is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s use of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)-a key part of the Department of Justice that she once led on an interim basis during the Clinton presidency and has been asked to lead again.

During her previous tenure at OLC, she advocated for increased executive power. In 2006, she joined with several other Clinton Justice Department officials in support of retaining the right of the president to use “signing statements” that allow him to bypass laws, claiming that the practice should be retained even if President Bush abused it.

Johnsen does not support the prosecution of CIA operatives and contract employees who committed torture. She does support investigating how it came to pass that the “OLC misinterpreted the law in a way that led to torture.”

Born August 14, 1961, and raised on Long Island, Johnsen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College in 1983, with a BA in economics and political science. She was accepted into Yale Law School, where she served as the article and book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. She received her JD in 1986, and proceeded to clerk for Judge Richard D. Cudahy on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. It was here that Johnsen met her future husband, fellow clerk John Hamilton.
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Controversial Office of Legal Counsel Will Undergo Heavy Scrutiny Under Obama Regime

By Mary Jacoby
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The famously leak-proof Barack Obama operation hasn’t said much about its plans for the Justice Department. But one thing’s clear: the controversial Office of Legal Counsel notorious for issuing what critics dubbed the “Torture Opinion” —  the sanctioning of extreme interrogation techniques  — is going to come under some heavy scrutiny in the new administration.
Several members of Obama’s DOJ transition review team have been vocal critics of what they’ve called the Bush administration refusal to abide by the rule of law in national security cases.
They include Dawn Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University who serves as a DOJ transition team “leader,” and Martin Lederman and Christopher Schroeder, also law professors and members of the DOJ review team.
Moreover, Obama’s pick for the influential post of White House staff secretary is Lisa Brown, former executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, a liberal-leaning advocacy group that was active in the debate against torture.

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