The Senate a few minutes ago unanimously confirmed David Kris as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, giving its strong backing to a widely regarded authority on anti-terrorism investigations.
Kris (above) won confirmation on a 97-0 vote with no debate on the Senate floor, a sign of the overwhelming bipartisan support for his nomination. President Barack Obama nominated Kris on Jan. 22.
Kris, 42, is senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Time Warner, where he has worked since 2003. For the last year, he has also taught at Georgetown University and been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He spent most of his career in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and he was associate deputy attorney general from 2000 to 2003, when his duties included supervising the department’s activities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
He assumes the leadership of a Justice Department division that is still relatively new but has an essential role in preventing terrorist attacks and other threats to national security. A book he co-authored, National Security Investigations and Prosecutions, is considered a leading text on the subject.
“Mr. Kris was an early advocate for the creation of the National Security Division he has now been confirmed to lead, leaving a lucrative practice as an in-house counsel for a major corporation to return to government service,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement.
Kris faced few questions from senators at his hearing before the Judiciary Committee, but he did defend the authority of the federal government to detain enemy combatants “for the duration of the conflict” in conflicts related to terrorism. “I think we are at war. I think the law of armed conflict applies,” he said at the Feb. 25 hearing.
“I think you’re not only capable. I think you’re extremely honest,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) replied at the time.
Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.