Minnesota’s new top cop

U.S. attorney inherits Somali terrorism investigation.

Minnesota has a new top federal prosecutor, B. Todd Jones (J.D. âÄô83), who was ceremonially sworn in last week following last monthâÄôs U.S. Senate confirmation. Jones becomes one of 93 U.S. attorneys, a job he previously held during the final two years of the Clinton administration. As the chief federal law enforcement officer in Minnesota, Jones is charged with representing the federal government in all cases brought by or against it. Due to this extensive mandate, each attorney exercises wide discretion in use of resources, focusing on local priorities. Jones inherits an ongoing, high-profile investigation into terrorism recruitment, financing and training of up to 20 Twin CitiesâÄô men of Somali descent. Two men have already pleaded guilty to supporting al-Shabaab, a Somali group labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, and more indictments are expected. Five Minnesotans have been killed in fighting in Somalia, including one former University of Minnesota student, Mohamoud Hassan. Indeed, terrorism is rightfully identified as the officeâÄôs top initiative. As this necessary investigation continues, however, Jones must remain respectful of individual rights, including freedom of association and religion, as well as refrain from unnecessarily violating the Somali communityâÄôs cultural norms. Throughout the probe, other priorities must not be overlooked. JonesâÄô stated commitment to health care and mortgage fraud cases is laudable and should be followed through with the same vigorous action required of terrorism investigations.