U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has made three new appointments to a special committee that effectively reports directly to him, and U.S. Attorney Jim Letten is on the list. Letten will join another dozen U.S. attorneys from around the country on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC), which is more than just a resume builder — it's also a direct line to one of the most powerful men in the country.
The committee was created in 1973 to give U.S. attorneys a voice on the national level. The AGAC reports to the attorney general through the deputy attorney general and offers advice on everything from policy to management. A Tulane Law School grad, Letten has served as the local U.S. attorney since 2001, when he was appointed by then-President George W. Bush. He cut his political teeth under former Orleans Parish DA Harry Connick Sr. before joining the feds' Organized Crime Strike Force.
In a press release, Holder welcomed all of the new members. "I will rely heavily on them as we work to further the department's efforts to reduce violent crime and gang violence, promote civil rights, ensure fairness in the marketplace and above all, preserve our national security," Holder said. More important locally, Letten's seat on the committee is a concrete sign from the Obama Administration that Letten will, as promised by Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, remain the top federal prosecutor hereabouts. — Jeremy Alford