In the ongoing evaluation, three main issues are being examined: ability to obtain legal counsel; government's timing for issuing charges; and general conditions of detention, including any abuse, restrictions, medical care, etc. A public report of the inspector general's findings will be issued by October of this year.
Another FBI Departure
On Tuesday, in an e-mail to all FBI employees, FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed that yet another longtime senior official was moving on.
"I regret to announce," he wrote, "that General Counsel Larry Parkinson is leaving the FBI to assume the newly-created position of deputy assistant secretary for Law Enforcement and Security at the Department of the Interior."
Mueller declared that, "in almost seven years with the Bureau Larry has made extraordinary contributions to the Office of General Counsel and to the entire FBI. Since my arrival in September of last year, I have found his advice and guidance to be invaluable. His shoes will be tough to fill."
However, he immediately announced a replacement: Kenneth Wainstein, who is currently head of Justice's executive office of U.S. attorneys, but more important served as deputy chief when Mueller was chief of the homicide section of the Washington, D.C. U.S. attorney's office — and even more importantly, as one longtime Justice attorney pointed out, as a hard-charging, dynamic personality, is much more cast in the director's image. And we do know by now that Mueller wants his own people.
Parkinson had been in that extremely demanding job for a long time; as more than one observer noted, he'd probably "had enough." Parkinson told me that he'd started thinking about going, but hadn't actually started looking, when he was flying out to San Diego for a speech this past April.
The pilot of the plane started performing like a tour guide, pointing out the sites, even dipping low over the Grand Canyon, and Parkinson got to thinking. He's from South Dakota and has had "a lifelong interest in parks." When he got back to D.C., he checked the Web site for the Office of Personnel Management. Coincidentally, they had just posted this newly-created job. Before he knew it, he was sitting down with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.
Parkinson had been brought to the FBI by former Director Louis Freeh from the D.C. U.S. attorney's office, where he had overseen the prosecution of formerly powerful Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill. Now he'll be overseeing the third largest contingent of law enforcement agents in the U.S. government, including the Park Police, Park Rangers, Fish & Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management.
And because of Sept. 11 there's a lot more concern about security at the various dams, National Parks and monuments that come under the Interior Department.
Wainstein is highly regarded. He held various positions in the U.S. attorney's office before coming to Main Justice. In his internal e-mail, Mueller noted that Office of General Counsel ensures the smooth functioning of every other bureau office.
He wrote, "I am grateful to Larry for helping us get this far and confident that Ken will keep us on the right track."
Beverley Lumpkin has covered the Justice Department for 16 years for ABCNEWS. Halls of Justice appears every Saturday.