Washington: US Attorney General Eric Holder took office pledging a sharp shift away from the last administration`s policies, but an apparent change of heart in the White House could see the top lawyer leave his job.
Holder, 59, is the first African-American to hold the top legal post, and was generally regarded with bipartisan respect when he took office.
But a series of gaffes, fights with both Republicans and Democrats, and apparent disagreements between him and the White House have left Holder looking increasingly embattled.
He came under renewed fire when he told lawmakers on Tuesday that Osama bin Laden would not be captured alive, and that US officials would read legal rights to the al Qaeda leader`s corpse.
But the ridicule and attacks that followed are only the latest blows Holder has faced in the 14 months since he took office pledging to reverse the worst "war on terror" legal abuses sanctioned by former president George W Bush`s administration.
Ultra-conservative activists have questioned his ethics and even his patriotism over his decision to hire lawyers who defended terror suspects to Justice Department posts.
He has also raised the ire of Republicans by seeking to investigate CIA practices during the "war on terror”, even over White House opposition.