Over the past six months, a number of experienced and outspoken DOJ officials have departed the administration, including Chertoff, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, Office of Legal Policy guru Viet Dinh, and Civil Rights Division head Ralph Boyd Jr.
Attorney General Janet Reno held large staff meetings nearly every morning that came to be known as “get-back” meetings. Often, more than 20 senior department officials and career lawyers would squeeze around Reno’s conference room table to report directly to the AG about ongoing projects and cases. The term “get-back” was short for Reno’s frequent request: “Would you please get back to me and let me know?”
Those who have worked under Ashcroft say that high-priority issues such as terrorism nearly always get his attention, while less urgent matters can be handled by either the deputy AG or the associate attorney general, who directly oversees the department’s major litigating sections.