From the Department of Ironic Reorganization

It seems Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer wants to do a more effective job of hunting down human rights abusers.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer has proposed combining the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section and the Office of Special Investigation. If approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the merger would represent the first major structural change in the division since Breuer took office.

The mandates of the sections have grown closer in recent years. OSI, created in 1979, has reshaped its mission from ferreting out Nazis living on American soil to hunting human rights violators who fled all corners of the world, from Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia.

DSS, established early in the Bush administration, targets human smuggling rings, immigration fraud, certain violent crimes and gun offenses, and international human rights violations. The section also has jurisdiction over crimes committed oversees by “individuals employed by or accompanying” the U.S. military.

The new entity would be called the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. Meshing the resources of DSS and OSI could give the Criminal Division a competitive edge over U.S. Attorneys’ offices and other agencies vying to prosecute major human rights cases.

Rather than rearranging the deck chairs, maybe Breuer should just head to Alexandria and Mclean, VA to pick up Addington and Cheney.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

25 replies
  1. Mary says:

    I had such a similar reaction, except this part, “a competitive edge over U.S. Attorneys’ offices and other agencies vying to prosecute” is where I choked.

    I wonder if they are using the Wainstein Dictionary definition of “vying?”

  2. dakine01 says:

    Ah but picking up Addington and Cheney is a pro-active step. Re-arranging the deck chairs is a highly reactive step.

    So doG forbid that anyone take a step toward restoration of the rule of law.

  3. klynn says:

    The new entity would be called the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. Meshing the resources of DSS and OSI could give the Criminal Division a competitive edge over U.S. Attorneys’ offices and other agencies vying to prosecute major human rights cases.

    So, was there the possibility of more states moving forward with prosecutions regarding human rights violations? Did Law and Order have it so close to “correct” that this move is being pursued?

      • klynn says:

        DSS, established early in the Bush administration, targets human smuggling rings, immigration fraud, certain violent crimes and gun offenses, and international human rights violations. The section also has jurisdiction over crimes committed oversees by “individuals employed by or accompanying” the U.S. military.

        Yep, should have paid more attention to this paragraph, then I would have never asked my question.

        (my bold)

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This isn’t just shuffling deck chairs on the S.S. Obama. Integrating budgets, offices, staff, networks, files, etc., is a marvelous bureaucratic way to throw out the old and hide the new. It’s marvelous not because it increases efficiency and sharpens focus, but because it creates a smokescreen that hides intended changes. Those might include scuttling an investigation or program of investigations, or letting go or reassigning recalcitrant, not-with-the-program rule-of-lawyers, whose dismissal or demotion might cause a political stink.

    Corporate department heads do something similar when they use a RIFF, not as a way to save money when the company is in extremis, but as a way to rid a department of their predecessor’s network, the old, the obstreperous and the outspoken, without having to account for or document the individual reasons for those changes.

    • fatster says:

      And it also buys them some time. Since they’ll be so busy reorganizing, they can’t be interrupted with Congressional hearings, requests for reports, etc., until the reorganization is nearing completion. Used to be popular among MediCal and CA Social Services bureaucracies.

  5. Mary says:

    It’s hard not to like someone who hates “spunk” in anything other than a puppy.

    This seems as good a place as any for this link, but apparently Obamaco got it’s feelings hurt over Canada refusing to take GITMO detainess.

    Apparently members of Obama’s task force said that when Harper came out and made his declarations, they “felt like they had been disappeared from an airport lobby and kidnapped to Jordan, followed by pre-arranged shipment to a Syrian torture site, where they were eventually tortured into signing a confession stating that they had attended al-Qaeda training camps”

    • Petrocelli says:

      Harper’s snub is only politically, had it been Dubya asking, Harputz would have taken them all in and created an 11th Province for them …

      BTW, your sense of humor is terrific !

    • skdadl says:

      Great riff on that article this a.m. from Lindsay Stewart at Canadian Cynic.

      My only reservation would be that Steve is still taking his signals from BushCo, or those of that ilk. When he says nope to taking detainees here, he is endorsing the original abductions/detentions/abuse, pretty much lockstep with the xenophobes who are afeard of having any of them on American soil, even the innocent ones. Even if they’re innocent, they have to be guilty somehow, or our world will fall apart — it’s like that.

  6. bobschacht says:

    “…agencies vying to prosecute major human rights cases….”

    Well, I’m all for more agencies vying to prosecute major human rights cases, and Lord knows there are enough of them at hand to vy about (can I use “vy” as a verb, and not as a gerund?) And I don’t even mind if there’s some re-arranging of deck chairs involved, as long as there really is some vying going on– and as long as they’re not getting in each other’s way.

    BTW, is anyone keeping score? For example,
    # of Bush legacy cases in process, supporting Bush’s legal arguments (such as they are), vs.

    # of cases initiated by Obama DOJ that do not echo BushCo policies

    Bob in AZ

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If he’s Obama’s chief prosecutor hunting human rights abusers, I assume Lanny has the paper and virtual rolodexes off Bush, Cheney and Rove’s desk. It would save him a lot of time getting up to speed.

  8. phred says:

    Oh boy! More window dressing by the Obama administration! Maybe I should do my part to pitch in by sending them some curtains…

    What do you bet that right now, the most important thing they are working on in this reorg is redesigning the letterhead…

  9. WTFOver says:

    Republican Senate Sex Scandals Point Back to Secretive Conservative Christian “Family”

    It was a hot summer full of sex scandals for GOP members of “The Family,” the exclusive conservative Christian group with designs on DC power.

    C Street Scandal, the Media, the Future of the Family: An Interview with Jeff Sharlet

    http://religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/1867/c_street_scandal%2C_the_media%2C_the_future_of_the_family%3A_an_interview_with_jeff_sharlet

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