Monday, March 19, 2007

Breaking: Document Dump in US Attorneys Case

Via ABC News:

March 19, 2007— New e-mails released this evening by the Justice Department reveal the depth of White House involvement in the discussions to fire eight U.S. attorneys last year. The thousands of pages of e-mails suggest the White House was involved in the plan from the beginning.

The e-mails detail conversations about attorneys targeted for dismissal. There are no e-mails from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who reportedly does not use e-mail, though the Justice Department says messages show some indication that Gonzales' former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, kept the attorney general apprised.
Though the Justice Department has released e-mails and said it would allow those involved in the plan to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the White House has yet to provide e-mails, documents and witnesses to Congress in its investigation into the controversial firings.

It's obviously going to take some time for those in receipt of these documents to get a notion of the larger picture and who was involved when, but I'd say this looks like this is one scandal these Republicans won't be able to run from - especially the smirking asshole from hell, Alberto Gonzales.

More from US News & World Report:

U.S. News's Chitra Ragavan has learned that one day after Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified on Capitol Hill about the reasons eight U.S. attorneys were summarily fired, a Justice Department spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse--who was traveling abroad with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in Argentina -- sent an E-mail to McNulty saying Gonzales was unhappy with McNulty's testimony regarding why U.S. attorney Bud Cummins of Arkansas had been let go. That E-mail is what is causing the most concern at the Justice Department among the 2000 pages of documents about to be released on Capitol Hill in the next hour.

On February 6, McNulty acknowledged during contentious testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Cummins had been fired because the administration wanted to name Timothy Griffin, a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, who had also worked for the Republican National Committee. But McNulty said the firings of the other prosecutors were related to their poor performance.

more...(testimony transcript from tha hearing)

Among the 2,000 pages, there were a handful of other documents that are causing concern at the Justice Department, sources said, because they "may not put things in a great light" and could be seen as Justice officials' "potentially misleading" Congress, sources said, which is the key concern among members of Congress.

Update: Via The Daily Background:

Exclusive: Cunningham complained about Lam to Attorney General before he plead guilty

The release of more than 3,000 pages by the Department of Justice tonight is sure to cause shock-waves across Washington.

Among the documents buried in the enormous document dump, The Daily Background has discovered, is an letter from 19 members of Congress to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales concerning then-US Attorney Carol Lam. Lam was at the time involved in a high-profile corruption investigation Republican Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

The 19 members of Congress wrote Gonzales in October of 2005 complaining that they felt Lam was too lax on illegal immigration. One of the members of Congress who signed the letter complaining about Lam was Congressman Cunningham, who is now serving an eight year prison term after Lam successfully prosecuted him.

Barely a month after the 19 Congressmen (Cunningham included) requested to meet with Gonzales specifically to complain about Lam’s prosecution policy on immigration-related matters, Cunningham plead guilty to two felony counts of criminal conspiracy and tax evasion.

At the time Cunningham and the other 18 Congressmen complained about Lam, Cunningham was still claiming innocence in the corruption probe that had intensified just as the complaint to Attorney General Gonzales was made.


There's a vastly growing web here stretching from sea to sea obviously involving some underhanded political attempts by some very desperate Republicans to control what these fired attorneys were investigating and to bring them down when they got too close.

The Washington Post reported Monday evening that Patrick Fitzgerald's name was on a 2005 Justice department chart that ranked prosecutors. His listing was among those who had "not distinguished themselves". Fitz, of course, was involved in the CIA leak investigation at the time and has an impeccable background, as the article states.

The newly-released Justice department documents, along with those the White House is trying to hide, could be the ones that begin to bring down the Bushco house of cards - finally.

The House Judiciary Committee will continue to post the released documents on their site throughout the nite, according to the NYT.

Also note this agenda item on the House committee site: Tuesday 03/20/2007 - 9:30 AM - Hearing on: The Inspector General's Independent Report on the F.B.I.'s Use of National Security Letters. Yet another brewing scandal for Gonzales.

The Justice Department's problem child, the FBI, has done it again. This time, it's the bureau's failure to comply with the legal requirements in issuing so-called National Security Letters (NSLs)–highly powerful and intrusive tools to get personal and financial information on virtually anyone, including U.S. citizens – that has landed the bureau in hot water. Today, the Justice Department's inspector general will describe to congress how the FBI repeatedly and deliberately "circumvented" the law in its use of NSLs, a tool that FBI Director Robert Mueller obtained with the solemn promise that civil liberties would be protected.

There are multiple oversight hearings scheduled this week regarding these crises: a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on the FBI's use of NSLs; a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the same topic Wednesday; a hearing on FBI oversight for Thursday by the House Select Intelligence Committee.

It's going to be quite the week!

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