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Top terrorism lawyer leaving State Department

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Staff writer

Newsdesk@greatlakesvoice.com

The State Department’s top lawyer is leaving his post, a department official confirmed Wednesday.

Harold Koh — responsible for helping craft the Obama administration’s policies on terrorism — will step down as the State Department’s chief legal counsel and return to his teaching post at Yale University.

“Harold Koh was thrilled to serve Secretary Clinton and President Obama as State Department Legal Advisor over the last four years.  But his life is teaching, and he is ready to start the next chapter,” a State Department official told press.

Koh was an outspoken critic of George W. Bush’s war on terror policies — but he has generally taken a hawkish tone during his time in the Obama administration.

In March of 2010, he launched into a public defense of the administration’s rarely discussed targeted killing programs in a keynote address before the American Society of International Law. The administration’s efforts, including the drone programs, “comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war,” Koh said.

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