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Several White House appointees have run into trouble in the Senate as Democrats use the confirmation process to pressure the Bush administration on its prisoner interrogation policy. The latest nominee to hit a roadblock on Capitol Hill: Kenneth Wainstein, the president’s choice to head the new national security division at the U.S. Department of Justice. The division would unite the counterterrorism and counterintelligence sections at Justice with the independent Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Earlier this year, Congress provided statutory authorization for the new division, but its creation has been blocked by Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who has placed a hold on Wainstein’s nomination. Levin’s obstruction does not appear to be based on any question about Wainstein’s credentials, but instead stems from a long-running quarrel with the U.S. Department of Defense. The senator has asked the Pentagon for access to Federal Bureau of Investigation documents about abusive interrogation techniques used on prisoners at the military prison in Guant�namo Bay, Cuba. A spokesman for Levin says that a request for seven documents relevant to Wainstein’s nomination has been “outstanding for over a month.” The Justice Department is running out of patience. Senator Levin “is single-handedly preventing the national security division from being implemented,” says Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos. Wainstein is currently U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. If he wins Senate confirmation for the Justice post, one of his first tasks will be to tackle the lengthy backlog for processing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act wiretap warrants. � Jason McLure

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