WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who worked on issues such as closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and fighting financial crime, said on Thursday he will step down in February after spending less than a year on the job.
Ogden also led the transition process at the Justice Department when Barack Obama was elected president and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the No. 2 position at the department in March.
"Through our work in each of these areas, the goals I hoped to achieve when I accepted this position either have been or soon will be fulfilled," Ogden said in a statement. "The department is in good hands and I feel I can now return to the private practice I have missed these 13 months."
The Justice Department has been under scrutiny as the January 22 deadline for closing the Guantanamo military prison -- opened in 2002 to hold terrorism suspects -- will not likely be met because of legal, political and diplomatic issues.
The department also has been facing added pressure to prosecute any wrongdoing related to the financial crisis. Last month prosecutors failed to win convictions of two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers accused of fraud in the early days of the crisis, drawing criticism.
There was no immediate word on Ogden's likely successor, who will be nominated by Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
Prior to working with the Obama administration, Ogden was a partner at Wilmer Hale, a large Washington, D.C., law firm that handles a range of cases. He also held various senior Justice Department posts during Bill Clinton's presidency.
The announcement of Ogden's departure also followed the recent resignation of another top Obama administration lawyer -- White House counsel Gregory Craig who had been leading the administration's effort to close the Guantanamo prison before the January deadline.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini; Editing by Vicki Allen and Bill Trott)