Major Overhaul of Justice Department Seen

The Justice Department’s image under A.G. Alberto Gonzales was seriously damaged. The Obama team will be working to repair it. It may take a while.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — As a transition team for the Obama administration begins work on a Justice Department overhaul, the key question is where to begin.
Political considerations affected every crevice of the department during the Bush years, from the summer intern hiring program to the dispensing of legal advice about detainee interrogations, according to reports by the inspector general and testimony from bipartisan former DOJ officials at congressional hearings.
Although retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey, who took charge of the department last winter, has drawn praise for limiting contacts between White House officials and prosecutors, and for firmly rejecting the role of politics in law enforcement, restoring public confidence in the department’s law enforcement actions will be central, lawmakers and former government officials say.
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