PRESS RELEASE from
the U.S. Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Fact Sheet: Justice Department Transition Activities
"Now that the elections are behind us, we begin a time of
transition. During this time, it is important that all of us continue
giving our best efforts to the American people and bringing the
dedication and commitment to our jobs that we have brought to them from
day one. It is also important that all of us do whatever we can to
ensure a smooth transition to the next Administration." – Attorney
General Michael B. Mukasey, Memo to Component Heads and U.S. Attorneys,
Nov. 5, 2008
The Department of Justice’s transition activities fully support the
Executive Order on Presidential Transition signed by President Bush on
October 9, 2008. The Executive Order creates a Presidential Transition
Coordinating Council, of which the Attorney General is a member.
Attorney General Mukasey designated Brian Benczkowski, Chief of Staff,
and Lee Lofthus, Assistant Attorney General for Administration, to lead
the Department’s transition activities. The Department’s transition
activities began in May.
Unprecedented Security, Background Checks and Clearances
- Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of
2004 (IRTPA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice
Management Division’s Security and Emergency Planning staff established
a process to provide pre-election security clearances for key
transition staff in both campaigns. This unprecedented action will
ensure key transition staff can assume their new roles as soon as
- In addition to providing pre-election clearances, the Department
is ready to work with the Office of the President-elect in providing
security clearances for appointees and staff of the incoming
- The Department’s Security and Emergency Planning staff helps
provide 24-hour protection to the Presidential Transition Team
Continuity of Operations Plan
- The Department’s continuity of operations plan (COOP) encompasses
both political and career appointees to provide a seamless transition.
The Department will continue to ensure that essential positions remain
filled throughout the transition, including designations for the
Department’s key COOP positions.
Ensuring for a
Smooth National Security Transition
- Department national security and FBI personnel are working with
the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, CIA and other
intelligence agencies to provide daily national security briefings to
select transition personnel.
Officials to Lead Department
- The Department has identified career officials to lead the
Department of Justice components after Inauguration Day until the
incoming Administration political appointees arrive.
Valuable Resource Materials
- The Department has developed transition briefing materials for
incoming political appointees about the Department’s organizational
structure, the financial and budget structure, a human resources
overview, and critical topics that the incoming administration will
face in its first weeks.
- The Department has prepared briefings on the special hiring and
appointment authorities for excepted service attorney personnel. The
Department is prepared to brief incoming political appointees from the
new Administration as soon as practicable after appointment to ensure
the continuity of operations and line of succession.
Personnel Apprised of Transition Activities
- Senior Justice Management Division officials have been meeting
monthly with all Department components to ensure each component is
informed of the Department’s transition activities.
Space for Transition Team
- The Department has allocated offices, equipment and conference
room space for the transition team.
Providing Incoming Administration
- The Department will provide briefings to new political appointees
on a variety of issues, including benefits, classified information
handling, records management, ethics, government travel rules and
Political Appointee Support
- The Department’s transition efforts also include providing
support for outgoing appointees. Briefings are held for appointees to
inform them on a variety of information, including post-employment
restrictions, ethics, records management and benefits. And, for the
first time, the Department has created a Web site for outgoing
political appointees providing them with online access to this