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Archive for January 25th, 2009

Bush Policies Are Complicating Things For Obama and Justice

The new administration faces some tough decisions whether to go after people in the Bush administration who may have violated the law while essentially carrying out policy.  Just how much more  this issue will impact the confirmation of Atty. Gen. designate Eric H. Holder Jr. is unclear.

By Carrie Johnson and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Even as Senate Republicans seek assurances that new leaders at the Justice Department will not prosecute former government officials over national security abuses, one of the highest-profile investigations of the Bush era is grinding to a close.
A little more than a year ago, then-Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey handpicked a prosecutor to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes depicting harsh interrogation tactics used against two al-Qaeda suspects. The disclosure that the tapes, believed to portray the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, were destroyed in 2005 touched off an outcry from defense lawyers and civil liberties advocates who said the government should have produced the materials in lawsuits pending at the time.
Since then, the federal inquiry has proceeded mostly in the shadows. But prosecutor John H. Durham recently told a federal judge that he would wrap up interviews by the end of February — a timetable complicated by the highly sensitive subject, the reluctance of current and former agency employees to cooperate and Durham’s painstaking approach, according to court documents and three lawyers following the case.

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Obama Names Lanny Breuer to Head Justice Criminal Division

Lanny Breuer/law firm photo

Lanny Breuer/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Lanny Breuer, who represented N.Y. Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens in a Congressional probe last year, has been named the chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division by President Obama, FederalTimes.com reported.
Breuer, a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington is from the same firm as Atty. Gen. nominee Eric H. Holder Jr.
According to the firm website, Breuer, former special counsel to President Clinton from 1997 to 1999, who is “co-chair of Covington’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group, specializes in white collar criminal and complex civil litigation, internal corporate investigations, congressional investigations, antitrust cartel proceedings, and other matters involving high-profile legal, political, and public relations risks.”
Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s name was bandied about in the halls of the Justice Department as a possible candidate for the post, but nothing obviously materialized. Fitzgerald, who is regarded as a star among prosecutors around the country, could remain in Chicago. Some speculated that the native New Yorker could also get the coveted U.S. Atty. job in New York.
The FederalTimes.com also reported other presidential appointments to Justice: David Kris as Assistant A.G. for national security; Tony West as Assistant A.G. for the civil division, which experienced many problems under the Bush regime; and Christine Varney as Assistant A.G. for the antitrust division.

Mexico Arrests a Dozen Top Ranking Officials With Links to Drug Cartel

Pres. Felipe Calderon

Pres. Felipe Calderon

The menacing drug trade in Mexico not only spells trouble for that nation, but the U.S. as well. Here’s the latest in what seems to be a never ending battle.

By Mark Stevenson
Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon
‘s war on drug trafficking has led to his own doorstep, with the arrest of a dozen high-ranking officials with alleged ties to Mexico’s most powerful drug gang, the Sinaloa Cartel.
The U.S. praises Calderon for rooting out corruption at the top. But critics say the arrests reveal nothing more than a timeworn government tactic of protecting one cartel and cracking down on others.
Operation Clean House comes just as the U.S. is giving Mexico its first installment of $400 million in equipment and technology to fight drugs. Most will go to a beefed-up federal police agency run by the same people whose top aides have been arrested as alleged Sinaloa spies.
“If there is anything worse than a corrupt and ill-equipped cop, it is a corrupt and well-equipped cop,” said criminal justice expert Jorge Chabat, who studies the drug trade.
For Full Story