TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Attorney General-elect Kris Kobach says he is nominating a former longtime federal prosecutor who also was among his Republican primary rivals to be the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s next director.

Kobach announced Tuesday that he has picked Tony Mattivi for the key state law enforcement post. Mattivi was a federal prosecutor for more than 20 years and coordinator of anti-terrorism and homeland security efforts in Kansas when he retired as a prosecutor in November 2020.

Mattivi’s appointment would have to be confirmed by the GOP-controlled Kansas Senate after lawmakers open their next annual session Jan. 9.

Kobach narrowly won the attorney general’s race last month after prevailing in the GOP primary against Mattivi and state Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Kellie Warren.

Mattivi would replace Kirk Thompson, who plans to retire in January after a 46-year career in law enforcement, most of it with the KBI. Thompson has been KBI director since July 2011.

Kobach cited Mattivi’s experience as a federal prosecutor. For five years, Mattivi led the team prosecuting Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000 that killed 17 sailors. That case has yet to go to trial before a military commission.

Mattivi also has worked for the attorney general’s office and Shawnee County District attorney’s office.

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