Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Eric Holder staffs up, ending Justice Department hiring freeze

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Jobs,Eric Holder,Budgets and Deficits,Justice Department,Civil Rights

Attorney General Eric Holder is staffing up, announcing the end of a hiring freeze that the Justice Department made possible by the recent congressional budget deal that "even adds funding" for certain sectors of the department.

"As a result of this budget agreement, effective immediately, the department will lift the hiring freeze that's been in place for just over three years," Holder said in a video message released Monday. "After years of doing more with less, we will begin to fill critical vacancies. And we will resume the normal hiring process for federal agents, prosecutors, analysts and the other staff we need to fulfill our mission. These added resources will help us carry out our critical law enforcement responsibilities and improve public safety."

Holder mentioned Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., as one of the lawmakers who had been helpful in securing increased funding for the department. Wolf recently touted the cybersecurity provisions of the budget deal as especially important.

“There are two kinds of people in America today: those who have experienced a foreign cyberattack and know it, and those who have experienced a foreign cyberattack and don't know it,” Wolf said in a press release highlighting what the feds can do with the new funding.

"[T]he bill provides increased funding to the FBI for investigative, intelligence and technology improvements to combat malicious cyber intrusions," Wolf's Feb. 3 announcement explained. "It also directs the FBI to continue to produce an annual national cyber threat assessment -- both classified and unclassified -- that identifies and ranks the foreign governments posing the greatest threats to the U.S."

Holder's announcement came on the same day that the New Yorker published a feature explaining that Holder intends to stake his legacy on voting rights cases. The magazine reported that Holder's comments indicated that he will resign later this year, telling Jeffrey Toobin that he will stay in office "well into" 2014.

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