Jenny Durkan, the no-nonsense litigator who was among President Obama's first wave of political appointees in 2009, is stepping down as U.S. attorney in Seattle, reports the Seattle Times. She helped Attorney General Eric Holder shape the nation's response to cybercrime and terrorism, which her prosecutors put to practice in cases ranging from foiling a plot for a Fort Hood-style terrorist attack at a Seattle military processing center to indicting and extraditing the son of a member of the Russian parliament for allegedly stealing millions of credit-card numbers.
Durkan's efforts in the area of police accountability and civil rights will define her time as U.S. attorney. Her intimate knowledge of problems within the Seattle Police Department, gleaned after serving on two mayor-appointed task forces, led her to call in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) civil-rights division and the FBI in 2011 after widespread community complaints. The DOJ concluded that Seattle police routinely used excessive force, mostly against the mentally or chemically impaired, and often escalated stops into violent confrontations. The DOJ also concluded there was disturbing, if inconclusive, evidence of biased policing. Durkan sued the city and negotiated a hard-fought settlement agreement, monitored by a federal judge, to address the problems. Durkan has chaired the Attorney General's advisory Subcommittee on Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Enforcement since 2009.