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The Homeland Security Department on Friday selected one of its lawyers, Hugo Teufel III, as its new chief privacy officer. Privacy advocates outside government questioned his experience. Teufel, who worked previously as a lawyer at the Interior Department, has been associate general counsel at the Homeland Security Department. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff called Teufel an outstanding professional and said he relied on Teufel’s judgment and advice. Privacy advocates expressed concerns about what they described as Teufel’s apparent lack of experience. He worked under Gale Norton in Colorado and in Washington after Norton became head of the Interior Department. “This is not an appropriate appointment,” said Marc Rotenberg, head of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, a leading privacy group that has been critical of DHS policies. “He lacks the relevant experience.” The head of the ACLU’s Washington office, Caroline Fredrickson, agreed. “He doesn’t have much of a background to be a privacy officer,” she said. “He seems to have no experience in privacy matters.” Chertoff said in a statement that Teufel was “highly regarded throughout the department and the legal community for his expertise on privacy, employee relations and civil rights issues.” Teufel was the Interior Department lawyer who advised officials there in the 2004 dismissal of Teresa Chambers as chief of the U.S. Park Police. She was fired after she complained publicly that she needed more officers and funding, and she subsequently lost her legal fight to grant her whistleblower protections. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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