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Feinstein Seeks Investigation Into Reports of “Burrowing” by Bush Appointees at Pentagon

-In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Senator Feinstein asks for a review of any last-minute conversions in the Office of Detainee Affairs -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review allegations that political appointees at the Department of Defense were improperly converted to career positions by the outgoing Bush Administration.

These transfers, which allegedly took place in the Defense Department’s Office of Detainee Affairs, were brought to Senator Feinstein’s attention earlier this week. In a letter to Secretary Gates dated February 4, Senator Feinstein requested an immediate review of any improper hires at the Defense Department.

“Allegations of improper ‘burrowing’ of political appointees to career positions are very troubling to me,” reads the letter. “This is especially disconcerting within the Office of Detainee Affairs due to the nature of the policy recommendations that office provides regarding Guantanamo.”

“President Obama has decisively set a new course on detainee policy by issuing an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”   

“Burrowing” is a term used to describe the process in which political appointees are transferred into key permanent career positions within a federal agency in the waning days of an outgoing administration.

“I ask that you immediately review the circumstances behind the conversion of these positions and the hiring of any former Bush Administration appointees as career or temporary appointments in that office,” wrote Senator Feinstein in her letter to Secretary Gates.