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Obama nominates top intelligence officials

[JURIST] US President-elect Barack Obama [transition website] on Friday announced his nominations for the top posts [press release] in the US intelligence community, designating Admiral Dennis Blair to be Director of National Intelligence and Leon Panetta [profile] to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website]. Obama also announced that John Brennan will serve as Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counter-terrorism as an Assistant to the President. Blair has served as Commander of US forces in the Pacific and as Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support. Panetta has served as a Congressman, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) [official website] Director, and White House Chief of Staff. Panetta will replace current CIA director Michael Hayden [JURIST news archive], who has agreed to stay on [press release] and cooperate fully until the transition is complete. Brennan is a CIA veteran and former leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center. It is anticipated that all three officials will play some role in addressing concerns about harsh interrogation measures and other terrorism-related practices that become legally and ethically controversial during the Bush administration.

On Wednesday, it was reported [JURIST report] that Obama would appoint Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein [profile] as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs [official website]. On Monday, Obama named four former Clinton-era attorneys to high-level posts [press release; JURIST report] within the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], including Dean of Harvard Law School Elena Kagan [professional profile; HLS press release] as Solicitor General. Last month, Obama officially announced that he was nominating former DOJ official Eric Holder [professional profile; JURIST report] as the next US attorney general. If confirmed by the Senate, Holder will be the first African American to lead the DOJ. Holder's confirmation hearings [JURIST report] are scheduled to begin next week.

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