The top prosecutor in Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein, has been named to lead the Justice Department’s counterterrorism efforts under a reorganization under new provisions of the USA Patriot Act, reports the Washington Post. Wainstein, 44, once the FBI’s general counsel and later its chief of staff, was closely involved with the initial implementation of the Patriot Act, which granted the federal government sweeping new investigative powers after the Sept. 11 , 2001, attacks.
Civil liberties groups, congressional judiciary committees, and the Justice Department objected to a proposal last year by House and Senate intelligence committee members to have the Justice official report in part to the new director of national intelligence and to give the intelligence director a say in the selection of the official. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) prevailed, ensuring that the new assistant attorney general will report directly to the attorney general. The selection of Wainstein is encouraging, said Kate Martin ofthe Center for National Security Studies, a civil liberties group. “We welcome the appointment of a career prosecutor rather than someone from the intelligence community,” she said.