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Between dodging barbs over the treatment of terror detainees and revealing that the president personally shut down a Justice Department probe into the White House’s warrantless domestic surveillance program before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales managed to lobby the senators for the long-stalled nomination of Alice Fisher to head the DOJ’s Criminal Division. Fisher, who received a recess appointment from the president last summer, will lose her job after the fall congressional elections unless she receives formal confirmation. That’s been blocked by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) over questions about what she knew about FBI complaints of abusive treatment of detainees at Guant�namo Bay Naval Base during her stint as a deputy in the division. In a 2004 e-mail obtained by Newsweek last year, an FBI agent reported that Fisher had attended meetings at which the FBI voiced concern over treatment of detainees by the Pentagon. Fisher has said she doesn’t recall the complaints, but Levin has sought to interview the unnamed FBI agent in person — a request the Justice Department has blocked. But last week, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) indicated that a compromise could be at hand and that Democrats would be satisfied if the FBI agent could be interviewed with a member of the Justice Department inspector general’s staff present (rather than a DOJ political appointee, as Justice had offered). Gonzales indicated he was willing to accept the offer so long as the questioning is limited solely to Fisher’s role. “We’re eager, as you are, to get her as the head of the Criminal Division,” Kennedy told Gonzales.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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