Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Key Bush Gitmo advisers burrowing in at the Pentagon
By Ali Frick
Feb 6th, 2009

The AP reports that three senior officials “tapped by the Bush administration to oversee detainee policy at Guantanamo Bay” remain in their jobs, weeks after Bush left office and despite President Obama’s efforts to dramatically change the U.S.’s detention policies. Two of them “have been shunted into civil service jobs,” meaning Obama can’t simply fire them. On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing concern about former Bush appointees that “have been improperly converted to career positions within the Department of Defense” and asked Gates to investigate:

I ask that you immediately review the circumstances behind the conversion of these positions and the hiring of any former Bush administration appointees as career or temporary officials within the Office of Detainee Affairs. … This is especially disconcerting within the Office of Detainee Affairs due to the nature of the policy recommendations that office provides regarding Guantanamo.

Back up a couple of months:

Burrowing watch: Bush appointed 18 administation officials last Tuesday alone.
By Ali Frick
Dec 7th, 2008

With only 44 days left in office, President Bush continues to “burrow” people into government positions that will continue long after President-elect Obama is sworn in. “All told, Mr. Bush has made roughly 30 personnel moves since the November election, some in nominations that will require Senate approval, and others in direct appointments that will last well into President-elect Barack Obama’s term and beyond.” The New York Times reports that on Tuesday of last week alone, Bush hired 18 people for administration jobs.

Top scientist says Bush’s ‘burrowing’ of political appointees will ‘leave wreckage behind.’
By Matt Corley
Nov 22nd, 2008

Yesterday, the president of the nation’s largest general science organization railed against efforts by the Bush administration to give political appointees “permanent federal jobs with responsibility for making or administering scientific policies, saying the result would be ‘to leave wreckage behind.’” James McCarthy, who heads the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called the “burrowing” of people without scientific backgrounds into science-related jobs “ludicrous“:

“It’s ludicrous to have people who do not have a scientific background, who are not trained and skilled in the ways of science, make decisions that involve resources, that involve facilities in the scientific infrastructure,” said James McCarthy, a Harvard University oceanographer who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “You’d just like to think people have more respect for the institution of government than to leave wreckage behind with these appointments.”

McCarthy particularly questioned the qualifications of Todd Harding and Jeffrey T. Salmon, who received civil service positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Energy Department’s Office of Science, respectively.


Perino: Obama ‘Should Want’ Bush’s Political Appointees In His Administration
By Satyam Khanna
Nov 18th, 2008

The Washington Post reported this morning that between March and November, the Bush administration has “burrowed” at least 20 political appointees into career civil service posts, initially depriving President-elect Obama of the chance to install his own appointees in key jobs.

In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino defended the “burrowing,” saying that Obama’s administration should want experienced Bush political appointees in his administration:

PERINO: But there are people in the federal government who — and you should want people who have worked in the administration who think that they might want to make their careers in government. We have a lot of smart people all across the government with a lot of expertise — in the financial sector, in the energy sector, in the environmental sector, the Labor Department, etc.