Victoria Toensing

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Victoria Toensing is a U.S attorney and founding partner, with her spouse, Joseph diGenova, of the Washington law firm diGenova & Toensing.[1] She has both legislative and executive branch with national security matters. While identified as a Republican, she has also represented employees of the Central Intelligence Agency against internal accusations. She does research with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Criminal justice

While at the Justice Department position, Toensing supervised the Defense Procurement Fraud Unit, savings and loan industry fraud, cases dealing with nuclear industry regulation, securities fraud, and fraud and bribery in the banking industry.

Intelligence

She was Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1981-1984, under Chairman Barry Goldwater. Toensing was instrumental in winning passage of two important bills:

She represented "Jane Doe Thompson" in a successful lawsuit against the CIA. Ms. "Thompson," the first woman Chief of Station in Latin America, reported her male deputy for wife beating and disciplined other subordinates for misconduct ranging from public drunkenness to threatening to kill security guards. Thompson sued when she became the subject of an Inspector General investigation fabricated on these subordinates' false claims. The CIA initially required her actual identity to be kept secret. Toensing wrote about the CIA's abuse of its confidentiality rules. [2]

Janine Brookner, her pseudonymous client, eventually went into law practice herself, specializing in representation before intelligence agencies. Brookner, as opposed to Toensing, does not list her telephone number. [3]

Clinton administration

In 1998, diGenova and Toensing defended independent counsel Kenneth Starr in his investigation of Bill Clinton, and directly questioned the President's truthfulness. [4]

In 1997, the firm was named special counsel by the U.S. House of Representatives to probe the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The ranking Democratic member of the committee, William Clay (D-Missouri) conducting the investigation complained, during the Clinton investigation, "'They've become a public spectacle, which means they can't be impartial' in the Teamsters probe, says the committee's ranking Democrat. "It's a payoff from Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party to both Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova. . . . They have been on television over 200 times and not once have they been talking about an issue we're paying them $25,000 a month to handle for the Congress. It's a hell of a part-time job.'"[4]

Terrorism

Between 1984 and 1988, during the Reagan administration, as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, she set up the Department's Terrorism Unit and developed the first criteria for interrogating terrorists. She managed the Federal government's efforts to bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, the bombing of Pan Am 830 and the takeover of the cruise ship Achille Lauro.

An eventual arrest was of a lower-level terrorist. Some of the problems, at the time, of a law enforcement approach came from L. Paul Bremer, who had recently left the U.S. Department of State as senior counterterrorism official: "'If you want to know what a terrorist is doing, you have to put an agent in their camp,' said L. Paul Bremer, who recently resigned as the State Department's senior counter-terrorist official. When the Central Intelligence Agency manages to find an insider, the agency is not necessarily receptive to prosecution."[5]

She led the pursuit of terrorist Mohammed Rashid, who was associated with up to 15 bombings. Rashid had been linked with Iraqi intelligence, and the U.S. "tilt" to Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war led, according to the New York Times, for Oliver North and other Administration officials to with the prosecution. [6]

In a May 2009 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, she criticized potential prosecution of CIA interrogators. [7]

Education and early career

As Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit from 1976-1981, she developed the argument used before the Supreme Court to support profile searches at airports of suspected drug couriers.

  • University of Detroit (J.D., cum laude, 1975)

She taught high school English before law school.

  • Indiana University (B.S.Ed., 1962)

References

  1. Victoria Toensing, diGenova & Toensing
  2. Victoria Toensing, How the CIA Abuses Its Code of Silence
  3. Peter Carlson (March 10, 2004), "Counter Intelligence: Looking to Sue the CIA? First Find Janine Brookner", Washington Post
  4. 4.0 4.1 Howard Kurtz (27 February 1998), "The Power Couple at Scandal's Vortex", Washington Post
  5. Stephen Engelberg (March 5, 1989), "THE WORLD; Washington's War on Terrorism Captures Few Soldiers", New York Times
  6. Anthony Lewis (22 April 1991), "ABROAD AT HOME; Gangsters in Charge", New York Times
  7. Victoria Toensing (16 May 2009), "Critics Still Haven't Read the 'Torture' Memos", Wall Street Journal