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Who is Beth Wilkinson? A look at the woman the FTC hired to investigate Google

The Federal Trade Commission has hired outside litigator Beth Wilkinson to lead a probe into Google.

The investigation into Google examines whether the company is giving preference to its own products in its search engine, The Washington Post reported.

The Associated Press reported that Wilkinson’s hiring should not be interpreted as a signal that the agency will sue Google.

“We are delighted to have someone of her caliber helping us on such an important matter for the Commission,” said Rich Feinstein, Director of the Bureau of Competition in a statement to the Post.

Wilkinson is a well-known litigator, most prominently for being the lead prosecutor on the Oklahoma City Bombing case, U.S. v. McVeigh & Nichols. Wilkinson has also acted as lead counsel for companies such as Pfizer and Phililp Morris USA, according to her biography page on the Web site for the D.C.-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Her bio also says that she was the co-chair of the white-collar crime practice group and served several positions at Fannie Mae. She began her career in the U.S. Army, where she attained the rank of captain.

Wilkinson has been recognized twice as a recipient of the Department of Justice’s Exceptional Service award. She is the first person to have received the award — the DOJ’s highest public service award — more than once.

The FTC announced it had hired Wilkinson in chairman Jon Leibowitz’s remarks to reporters on the West Coast.

“It’s sometimes a good idea to bring someone in from outside and we found out Beth was interested in coming aboard,” Leibowitz said, according to Mashable. “The commission talked about it and we thought it would be great for the consumers we represent.”

Related stories:

Apple subpoenaed in FTC’s Google case, report says

Google facing expanded antitrust probe over social search service

Post Tech: FTC sued over planned Google privacy changes

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