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Lawyer pegged for key role in Homeland Security revamp

Ex-NSA bod get DHS policy czar nomination

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George W. Bush has picked a technology lawyer to serve as assistant secretary of Homeland Security (DHS). Stewart A. Baker, of Virginia, currently a partner with Washington legal firm Steptoe & Johnson, has been nominated to take charge of policy formulation at the department.

Baker's career spans periods as general counsel (chief lawyer) for the National Security Agency during the period in the early 1990s when issues such as the export of strong\encryption technology and building snooping backdoors for law enforcement into communication networks (AKA key escrow) were hot political issues. More recently he served as the general counsel for the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the US Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The president also intends to nominate Tracy A. Henke, of Missouri, to oversee state and local government response to emergencies at the Department of Homeland Security. Henke currently serves as deputy associate attorney general at the DoJ.

The nominations, both of which need to be ratified by the US Senate, are part of a widespread reorganisation of the department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday. The plans propose that information analysis and infrastructure protection functions be handled by separate teams within the department along with a six point action plan designed to increase the department's state of preparedness in combating terrorist threats. ®

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