Patterico's Pontifications

1/5/2009

Obama Picks More Clinton Officials for DOJ

Filed under: Law,Obama — DRJ @ 10:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From the LA Times, Barack Obama has named four officials to his legal team:

Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School Dean — Solicitor General.

Dawn Johnsen, Indiana law school professor — Head, Office of Legal Counsel.

David Ogden, Obama transition team head — Deputy Attorney General.

Tom Perrelli, Obama transition team deputy head — Associate Attorney General.

All four are former Clinton Administration officials. Ogden was Chief of Staff for Attorney General Janet Reno, followed by a position in the DOJ Civil Division from 1999 until 2001. Perilli was counsel to Reno from 1997 to 1999 and then served as deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division.

Kagan was Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council (1997-99) and Associate Counsel to the President (1995-96). Prior to accepting a professorship at Harvard Law School, Kagan taught at the University of Chicago Law School, apparently when Obama also taught there. The Office of the Solicitor General is responsible for representing the U.S. in Supreme Court and federal appellate cases. If confirmed, Kagan will be the first female Solicitor General but she reportedly has never argued a case in the Supreme Court.

Johnsen is also a former Clinton Administration member, a legal director for the National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL Pro-Choice America), and Staff Counsel Fellow for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in New York. Johnsen has been especially critical of the Bush Administration, including John Yoo’s memo and Bush’s Supreme Court appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito because of the threat they pose to Roe v Wade.

No doubt the Clintons approve of these picks. The left should be especially happy with Johnsen.

– DRJ

Obama Names Leon Panetta as CIA Director

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 4:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama today named former Congressman and Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta as his CIA Director:

“A former senior CIA official who advises Obama defended the surprise choice of Panetta, who has no direct intelligence experience beyond a two-year stint in the mid-1960s as a U.S. Army lieutenant. The official said Panetta had been a consumer of CIA intelligence when he was at the White House. He said he was selected for his administrative, management and political skills which will allow him both to control and advocate for the agency.

He said Panetta will rely on the expertise of CIA officers to balance his lack of personal intelligence experience.”

Obama is also expected to name retired Adm. Dennis Blair to be director of national intelligence. The AP describes both Panetta and Blair as “short on direct experience in intelligence gathering” and called this a signal Obama intends to make “a clean break from Bush administration policies.”

A clean sweep would be a good idea if American intelligence policies had not worked since 9/11 but they have. Further, the most objectionable tactic, waterboarding, was rarely used and has already been discarded. Can America really afford to sweep out qualified candidates and useful policies simply because, at some point, they were connected to the Bush Administration?

Apparently so.

I hope Joe Biden was wrong when he warned “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy” and “Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.” With novices in charge of U.S. intelligence, it may be much harder for the Obama Administration to respond.

UPDATE: More here on Admiral Blair:

“US officials say that this past April [1999], as militia terror escalated, a top US officer was dispatched to give a message to Jakarta. Adm. Dennis Blair, the US Commander in Chief of the Pacific, leader of all US military forces in the Pacific region, was sent to meet with General Wiranto, the Indonesian armed forces commander, on April 8. Blair’s mission, as one senior US official told me, was to tell Wiranto that the time had come to shut the militia operation down. The gravity of the meeting was heightened by the fact that two days before, the militias had committed a horrific machete massacre at the Catholic church in Liquiça, Timor. YAYASAN HAK, a Timorese human rights group, estimated that many dozens of civilians were murdered. Some of the victims’ flesh was reportedly stuck to the walls of the church and a pastor’s house. But Admiral Blair, fully briefed on Liquiça, quickly made clear at the meeting with Wiranto that he was there to reassure the TNI chief. According to a classified cable on the meeting, circulating at Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, Blair, rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him a series of promises of new US assistance.”

Excerpt from the 1999 The Nation article U.S. Complicity in Timor.

H/T Dana aka The politically incorrect Dana.

– DRJ

Franken to Be Declared Winner

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 am

The AP reports:

The state Canvassing Board was posed to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota’s grueling Senate election in Al Franken’s favor — but that doesn’t mean the race is definitely over.

I think they mean “poised” but it’s bad either way.


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