Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is promoting a “softer” image for the Justice Department, says the New York Times. The Times say that Gonzales wants to improve the department’s often strained relations with Congress. The Senate voted 60 to 36 to confirm him. Gonzales said he was a “bit stung” by criticism during his confirmation hearing involving memos on the definition of torture and the Geneva Conventions.
Gonzales has ordered a top-to-bottom review of the Justice Department’s abilities to investigate terrorism cases; he is considering a major reorganization of the department that would create a superdivision responsible for national security. He has directed a review of staffing levels at all 93 U.S. attorney’s offices as a first step toward a possible redeployment. “There appears to be a different tone from the attorney general and a willingness to engage his critics, which was very much absent under Mr. Ashcroft’s watch,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who met with Gonzales last month to talk about concerns over USA Patriot Act. “But whether that translates into any real change in substance, it’s too soon to tell.”