Attorney General Bill Barr removed a career national security official weeks ahead of the election without explanation, sparking concerns among current and former officials, ABC News reports.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brad Wiegmann was told two weeks ago that he would be reassigned and replaced.
Wiegmann, who ran the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Office of Law and Policy, is a 23-year career servant.
He was replaced by Kellen Dwyer, a young cyber-crimes prosecutor with six years of experience at the department.
Dwyer made headlines two years ago when he mistakenly let slip secret charges filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"It's very alarming," Katrina Mulligan, who served in the Office of Law and Policy under Wiegmann, told ABC News.
She added that Dwyer was a “very odd” choice to replace the seasoned official.
The Office of Law and Policy is tasked with ensuring that federal policies are legal and has influence over when “it is and isn’t appropriate” for the department to inform the public about election interference efforts.
"The concern here is that you have someone who by all accounts has been doing a great job in a very sensitive role," said Matt Olsen, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, "[and] now within really just weeks of the election is replaced with somebody who is viewed more as a partisan."
DOJ doesn’t offer explanation:
The DOJ did not say why Wiegmann was replaced.
"Brad doesn't have a political bone in his body" and "has been such an uncontroversial person in that role for such a long time," Mulligan told ABC, adding that he "was trying to advance the policies that this administration wanted to advance."
A DOJ spokesperson told ABC News that Weigmann "continues to serve a vital role in the front office of the National Security Division," and that "political appointees and career staff since its inception."
"It would not have been that unusual early in an administration to place a political [appointee] in that policy role,” a current official countered, “but to do that now is very unusual.”