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James Baker, the chief of the Justice Department’s 133-person Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, is looking for a new job. The OIPR is the branch of Justice responsible for processing secret wiretapping and search warrant requests from the FBI under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That process, of course, is the one the White House chose to circumvent in establishing the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. But that’s not the only hit Baker’s office has taken. Under the DOJ’s previous structure, Baker reported directly to the office of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, the DOJ’s No. 2 official. But earlier this month the OIPR was moved into the department’s new National Security Division, under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein. That’s meant a demotion in stature for the position of OIPR chief, who now must report to one of Wainstein’s deputies, who in turn reports to Wainstein, who himself reports to McNulty. Wainstein says he asked Baker to stay on, but Baker says that after a decade at the OIPR, including five years as its chief, it’s time to move on. Baker wouldn’t comment on what role the NSA program, of which he was reportedly critical, played in the decision, saying only that it was “a lot of different factors.”
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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