Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Facebook hires Alberto Gonzales’s former chief of staff

Posted in media by allisonkilkenny on September 30, 2008

From Valleywag

Accused of permitting unwarranted spying on citizens, torture, helping to blow a CIA agent’s cover and firing non-political appointees for political reasons, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez left the White House shrouded in ignominy. Facebook just hired his former right-hand man, Ted Ullyot, as its general counsel. The privacy advocates who plagued Facebook during its Beacon controversy might not be pleased, but Washington insider and top Facebook flack Elliot Schrage is giddy. “He has an extraordinary combination of private legal practice and public sector experience. So many of the legal issues we face touch on both of those arenas,” Schrage told the Los Angeles Times. “Ted’s arrival really demonstrates we’re a little more grown-up.” Ullyot’s impressive resume:

  • Served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • Worked as the top lawyer for AOL Time Warner in Europe.
  • Joined Gonzales at the Department of Justice as a deputy assistant and deputy staff secretary in 2003, earning a promotion to chief of staff. “[Gonzalez’s] leadership style is to listen and engage,” Ullyot told the Washington Post of Gonzales. “Our job on the staff is to make sure that he’s hearing from all the people that he needs to be hearing from.”
  • Along with Raul Yanes, coordinated the White House’s response to the investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. The case ended with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff Scotter Libby’s conviction.
  • As assistant to Gonzalez when he was the White House counsel, helped craft the infamous “torture memo,” which argued for ways the Bush administration could forgo the Geneva Conventions in order to prosecute the War on Terror. “The tragedy of the torture memo is that it didn’t get caught at a much lower level much more quickly,” one former Justice Department official under President Bill Clinton told “Had that memo received a broader look, there is no question that people would have said this is just wrong, as the administration later admitted it was.”
  • Earned Alberto Gonzales’s unwavering praise: “I appreciate the steady leadership, counsel, integrity, and tireless commitment that Ted brought to this job and the cause of justice. I thank Ted for his great service to the President and the Nation in these challenging times. I wish him all the best as he moves on to this next phase of his career, and I look forward to our continued friendship.”

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