WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama has picked a critic of the Bush warrantless wiretapping program as U.S. assistant attorney general for national security.
Obama, calling for a return to integrity at the Justice Department, nominated David Kris Thursday to head the Justice Department division that oversees national security investigations. Kris, who served at the Justice Department in the Clinton and Bush administrations, has been critical of the legal rationale used for the controversial warrantless wiretapping program.
In nominating Kris, Obama has continued a break with the Bush administration's Justice Department policies. Kris is an author of works on national security law has been recognized for his work at the Justice Department by former Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno. As a former associate deputy attorney general also supervised the government's use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and assisted in oversight of the intelligence community.
Kris was among several key nominations to the Justice Department Thursday. Obama also nominated Tony West as the new assistant attorney general for civil division, Lanny Breuer as assistant attorney general for criminal and Christine Varney as the new assistant attorney general for antitrust.
In a statement Obama called for higher standards at the Justice Department. "I have the greatest confidence that their service will meet the highest standards of this department," Obama said.
"The American people deserve to have faith that their Justice Department will keep them safe and uphold our most basic rights. This group has the depth of experience and integrity necessary to accomplish these goals."