President Obama has just filled four assistant attorney general slots:
- David Kris is assistant AG for national security.
- Tony WestÂ is assistant AG for the Justice Department’s civil division.
- Lanny Breuer is assistant AG for Justice’s criminal division.
- Christine Varney is assistant AG for the antitrust division.
Kris was associate deputy attorney general from 2000 to 2003, where he supervised the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. But Kris had serious reservations about the Bush administration’s legal justifications for warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and residents, and went public with his concerns three years after leaving Justice.
West is a former federal prosecutor and was special assistant attorney general for California.
Breuer is a partner at the Washington law firm Covington and Burling, where attorney general-nominee Eric Holder also served as partner. He was special counsel to President Clinton and defended Clinton during his impeachment. New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens also hired Breuer last year to represent him during Congress’ investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball.
Varney has served on the Federal Trade Commission and now heads the Internet practice group for the Washington law firm Hogan and Hartson.