- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein was named yesterday to head the new National Security Division at the Justice Department, where he will oversee efforts to improve the government’s response to better fight terrorism.

Mr. Wainstein’s nomination by President Bush was announced by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales during a press conference. The new anti-terrorism division was created by Congress’ renewal of the USA Patriot Act, signed last week by Mr. Bush.

“Since the attacks of September 11, the federal government has taken a number of steps to reorganize and improve our resources to better fight terrorism. Our enemy is always changing and adapting, and so are we,” Mr. Gonzales said. “The National Security Division will bring under one umbrella the department’s primary national security elements … that will help us better protect the American people.”

Creation of the division was recommended by the September 11 commission, which examined flaws in U.S. intelligence efforts concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Mr. Wainstein, 44, a former federal prosecutor in New York and Washington and a top FBI lawyer who was named to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in the District in May 2004, will assume the new title of assistant attorney general for national security.

Mr. Gonzales also said the department will seek $10 million in reprogramming funds from Congress to move forward in standing up the new division in addition to the $67 million it requested for the office in the fiscal 2007 budget. The reprogramming funds are expected to come from surplus funds in the department’s Asset Forfeiture Program and will provide for initial leadership and administrative functions.

“I am respectfully requesting that Congress move quickly both on Ken’s confirmation and on our reprogram request so we can establish this important new division as soon as possible,” he said.

Under the new division, Mr. Gonzales said, the department will bring together lawyers from its Counterterrorism and Counterespionage sections, as well as those from the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review who specialize in the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act.

The move, he said, will eliminate “the infamous wall between our intelligence and law-enforcement teams.”

“As al Qaeda promises new attacks, we must never tire from our effort to adapt and improve our ability to protect the American people,” Mr. Gonzales said. “The National Security Division will help us continue to make America safer.”

The new division is expected to further improve coordination against terrorism within the Justice Department and among the CIA, the Defense Department and other intelligence community agencies. It initially will encompass about 225 employees.

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