Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking clarification on the Justice Department’s policies regarding federal prosecutors carrying firearms on the job.
Cornyn’s inquiry comes after an Assistant U.S. Attorney, who was working on a 2012 indictment of 34 suspected members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, asked to be reassigned from the case earlier this week citing unspecified security concerns.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman was working with the Kaufman, Texas District Attorney who was slain in his home earlier this week, sparking fears of an organized assassination campaign against law enforcement officers.
Mike McLelland, the district attorney, and his wife were found shot to death just three months after McLelland’s assistant prosecutor, Mark Hasse, was also fatally shot.
David Karpel, an attorney in the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, will replace Hileman on the case.
In his letter, also addressed to Judge Thomas Hogan, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Cornyn expressed dismay that “federal prosecutors are barred from carrying personal self-defense firearms to their offices (and parking facilities) even if they hold a state-issued concealed carry license,” and contends that “prosecutor safety should start with enabling them to defend themselves from violent attack.”
Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the former attorney general in Texas, said he is drafting legislation improve the security of federal judicial officers.
The Justice Department is reviewing the senator’s letter and declined to comment on specific security measures that may be in place.
“We take the safety of Justice Department personnel extremely seriously, and take appropriate steps when warranted,” spokeswoman Allison Price told Main Justice.