A Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

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A Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

Washington Post Staff Writers

In nominating former federal prosecutors to lead the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday selected two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the candidate to lead the Justice Department, served as the law enforcement agency’s second in command during the waning years of the Clinton administration, overseeing pursuits of violent crime, drug cartels and public corruption offenses. Janet Napolitano, who will run the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy, has served since 2003 as governor of Arizona, a border state at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate.

Yet neither nominee boasts much direct experience with the most significant and pressing counterterrorism matters that will cross their desks if they are confirmed by the Senate and take office after the January inauguration.

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