Bush coun­tert­er­ror­ism ad­viser set to join staff of top war critic

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Rowan Scar­bor­ough

A coun­tert­er­ror­ism ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Bush is leav­ing the White House to join the staff of a promi­nen­tDemo­crat­ic­se­n­a­torgearingup to in­ves­ti­gate the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s war poli­cies.

A Se­nate source said Todd M. Hin­nen, a di­rec­tor for com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism on the staff of the pres­i­dent’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (NSC), will be­come the chief coun­sel for Sen. Joseph R. Bi­den Jr., Delaware Demo­crat and chair­man of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee.

Mr. Bi­den has an­nounced that he is run­ning for pres­i­dent and is plan­ning a se­ries of com­mit­tee in­quiries. Some Repub­li­cans re­acted to word of Mr. Hin­nen’s move by won­der­ing whether he will go from Bush ad­viser to Bush in­quisi­tor.

“Once again, peo­ple on the Bush White House staff turn on him while our sol­diers and Marines fight to pro­tect the rest of us,” a Repub­li­can staffer said.

A spokes­woman for Mr. Bi­den did not re­turn a phone mes­sage or e-mail. Mr. Hin­nen did not re­turn a phone mes­sage.

Gor­don John­droe, NSC spokesman, said Mr. Hin­nen was a ca­reer pros­e­cu­tor at the Jus­tice De­part­ment who com­pleted an 18- month de­tail to the White House.

“I think this is a ca­reer pros­e­cu­tor who serves the gov­ern­ment well whether in the ex­ec­u­tive or the leg­isla­tive branch and who had done an ex­cel­lent job here at the White House and will con­tinue to serve the Amer­i­can peo­ple the rest of his ca­reer in gov­ern­ment,” Mr. John­droe said.

Some key NSC staffers have left Mr. Bush’s staff and worked for his op­po­nents.

Most no­tably was Richard A. Clarke, a top ad­viser on coun­tert­er­ror­ism. Mr. Clarke left af­ter he failed to win the post of deputy sec­re­tary of home­land se­cu­rity. He joined the 2004 pres­i­den­tial cam- paign of Sen. John Kerry, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat, and wrote a book crit­i­cal of Mr. Bush.

Be­fore that, Rand Beers left the Bush NSC staff and served as Mr. Kerry’s chief cam­paign ad­viser on na­tional se­cu­rity.

Repub­li­cans have con­trasted the way Mr. Bush han­dled his pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion com­pared with his pre­de­ces­sor. The Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion fired all U.S. at­tor­neys and tried to fer­ret out Repub­li­can loy­al­ists, right down to the White House Travel Of­fice. The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, on the other hand, kept on sev­eral se­nior Clin­ton ad­vis­ers.

Mr. Bush re­tained Ge­orge J. Tenet, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s CIA di­rec­tor. Mr. Tenet re­signed in 2004, and has writ­ten a book that is ex­pected to be crit­i­cal of Mr. Bush. The CIA’s Pub­li­ca­tion Re­view Board has been re­view­ing the man­u­script since Oc­to­ber. The CIA sent por­tions to the White House for its re­view. A CIA spokesman said the re­view fo­cuses on the dele­tion of any clas­si­fied ma­te­rial and does not cen­sor crit­i­cism.

Last month, Flynt Lev­erett, a for­mer CIA an­a­lyst who worked on the NSC be­fore leav­ing in 2003, ac­cused the White House and CIA of cen­sor­ing for no good rea­son an opin­ion ar­ti­cle writ­ten for the New York Times.

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