- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2005

The District’s top prosecutor has ordered a reorganization of his department’s criminal division to enhance its national security program and has updated a program to rotate trial lawyers.

“Our criminal division is one of the premier federal prosecutorial components in the country,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein said Thursday in a memo to employees. “It handles the most significant and challenging terrorism, white-collar and violent drug and gang cases.

“Over the past year, we have been evaluating the division’s organizational structure and rotator program. … While we have found the division’s current structure serves the office very well for the most part, we have decided to change the structure in certain respects,” he said.

The two primary objectives behind the changes, he said, are:

• A responsibility to develop and maintain the capacity and expertise to meet threats to the country and to the city — from the D.C. anthrax investigation to the filing of charges last month in the first prosecution of a violent insurgent in Iraq.

The reorganization includes a new section to focus exclusively on national security matters.

It also will bring the department in line with the Bush administration’s plan to consolidate the Justice Department’s intelligence, counterterrorism and counterespionage lawyer staffs into a new National Security Division.

nImproving the federal court rotation system, to provide a more diverse mix of cases and broader exposure for trial lawyers and to ensure that assistant U.S. attorneys who rotate through the system have the support they need to “generate strong cases and produce high-quality written and courtroom work.”

Mr. Wainstein said this would include the creation of a Federal Major Crimes Section and the consolidation of the bulk of the rotator caseload in national security, major crimes, organized crime and narcotics trafficking, fraud and public corruption and asset forfeiture components.

In the post-September 11 world, Mr. Wainstein said, the National Security Section will consist of 12 senior prosecutors, who will be responsible for handling all terrorism, terrorism-hoax, export-enforcement and espionage cases and all investigations into leaks, the mishandling or other disclosure of classified information and national security concerns.

“This new section — and its additional personnel — will enable us better to focus on the national security matters that are a top priority of the Justice Department, the administration and the American people,” he said.

Matthew G. Olsen, a veteran prosecutor who for the past 15 months has served as special counsel to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, will serve as chief of the National Security Section.

He formerly was the deputy chief of the office’s Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, and has been involved in numerous prosecutions of drug dealers, violent criminals and white-collar cases.

Prior to joining the office, Mr. Olsen was a trial lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

William M. Blier has been named as special counsel to the U.S. attorney for national security.

Mr. Blier has overseen the investigation, indictment, extradition and prosecution of dozens of terrorism, export-enforcement and other national security matters.

Jeffrey Ragsdale, a deputy chief in the Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, will head the Federal Major Crimes Section, the memo said.

James H. Dinan will continue to head the Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, and John Roth will continue to head the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, according to the memo.

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