The Corner

Out of Carl Levin’s Grip

In her recent NRODT piece “Strangle Holds,” Kate O’Beirne wrote:

The legal front in the War on Terror has also sustained casualties at the hands of individual senators. The top job in the Justice Department’s criminal division has been vacant for three months. Alice Fisher, who served as deputy to Michael Chertoff when he headed the office, was nominated to the post in early April. Fisher easily cleared the Judiciary Committee, but a hold was placed on her nomination by none other than Carl Levin. “Void at Justice,” a Newsweek headline blared. Justice Department officials talked about the “serious vacuum at the upper levels of the department” during probes of the London and Egypt bombings.

In Fisher’s case, Levin refuses to be satisfied that she knew nothing about FBI criticisms of alleged interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay. Yet Fisher had in fact left the Justice Department almost a year before an agent raised concerns in a May 2004 e-mail. (Levin is demanding an interview with the e-mail’s author.) In a show of bipartisanship, Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, also had a hold on the Fisher nomination while he tormented the FBI over issues completely unconnected to her.

The White House has now announced Alice Fisher will be recess appointed to the post.

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