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Veteran prosecutor to be new White House homeland security adviser

SHARE Veteran prosecutor to be new White House homeland security adviser

WASHINGTON — President Bush has chosen veteran prosecutor Ken Wainstein to be his new White House-based homeland security adviser, The Associated Press has learned.

A person with knowledge of the decision told AP that Bush is expected to make an announcement about the appointment this week. This person spoke only on condition of anonymity because the White House has not said anything officially about the position.

Wainstein declined to comment when AP asked him about the new job, which was formerly held by Frances Fragos Townsend.

He currently heads the Justice Department's anti-terror efforts. He has also been the top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia, and the top lawyer at the FBI.

"He's uniquely qualified," said David Kelley, once a senior terrorism prosecutor now in private practice in New York, where he and Wainstein worked together years ago.

"He has served the role of counselor — Certainly with the FBI director he served in that role. The nature of the role is not new to him, and the subject matter is not new either," said Kelley.

Wainstein's nomination to his current job at the Justice Department became a political football last year, when Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., for a time held up the confirmation trying to force the department to supply more information from FBI agents who reported witnessing aggressive, at times abusive, interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Defense Department facility.

Associated Press Writer Lara Jakes Jordan contributed to this report.