Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Thank God. Action at last…

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Eric Lichtblau and Sharon Otterman report in the NY Times about the firing of the US Attorneys, Monica Goodling’s defining hour.

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed a special prosecutor on Monday to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and other officials in connection with the firings of nine of United States attorneys in 2006.

The move came as the Justice Department released a report by its inspector general severely criticizing the process that led to the firings.

The inspector general has been trying since last year to determine who in the Bush administration ordered the firings, whether the dismissals were intended to thwart investigations, and whether anyone had broken the law in carrying out the firings or in testifying about them. Critics have said the firings were politically motivated.

The 392-page report released on Monday was blistering in its assessment .

“The report makes plain that, at a minimum, the process by which nine U.S. attorneys were removed in 2006 was haphazard, arbitrary and unprofessional, and the way in which the Justice Department handled those removals and the resulting public controversy was profoundly lacking,” Mr. Mukasey said in a statement. The report called for further investigation to determine whether prosecutable offenses were committed either in the firings or in subsequent testimony about them.

Nora Dannehy, acting United States Attorney in Connecticut, will lead the investigation, Mr. Mukasey said.

Mr. Gonzales, who resigned last year after coming under criticism because of the firings, has been the main focus of interest, in part because several members of Congress charged that he may have perjured himself in his testimony through his memory lapses and misstatements about the firings.

The report found that primary blame for the “serious failures” in the firing process lay with Attorney General Gonzalez and his deputy, Paul McNulty, “who abdicated their responsibility to adequately oversee the process and ensure that the reasons for removal of each U.S. Attorney were supportable and not improper.”

It also singled out for blame Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who supervised the firings. The report said he did not review formal evaluations of the attorneys’ performance, nor did he consult department officials who were most knowledgeable about their performance.

Mr. Sampson, the report states, “also bears significant responsibility for the flawed and arbitrary removal process.” …

Continue reading. There’s more of significance.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2008 at 10:16 am

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