Walter Reed scandalKiley's retirement was requested by acting Army Secretary Pete Geren. In a statement released by the Army, Kiley says, "I submitted my retirement because I think it is in the best interest of the Army." Kiley says he wants to allow Army officials to "focus completely on the way ahead." Last week, Kiley said, "We have failed to meet our own standards at Walter Reed. For that, I'm both personally and professionally sorry."
US Attorney firingsThe examination is conducted by Daily Kos blogger "litigatormom."
US Attorney firingsSchumer and his colleague, Dianne Feinstein, hold a lengthy press conference about the firings and the recent "document dump" by the Justice Department. "Make no mistake about it: This has become as serious as it gets,"
US Attorney firingsMcKay says he doesn't know if such complaints cost him his job as the US attorney for western Washington state. However, he says, "[h]Had anyone at the Justice Department or the White House ordered me to pursue any matter criminally in the 2004 [Washington] governor's election, I would have resigned. There was no evidence, and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury." Washington state Republicans wanted McKay to pursue baseless charges of voter fraud surrounding the 2004 election of Democrat Christine Gregoire to the governor's office. "I am disappointed with the president," he says. "I am disappointed with the attorney general. ...I asked for the reasons that I was being asked to resign and I was given no reasons." When Gonzales said McKay was fired for performance reasons, he was livid. "I knew that was false and I felt obligated to speak up," McKay says
US Attorney firingsLeahy says he intends to get to the bottom of it one way or the other. He says to NPR's Michele Norris, "I was outraged. I remember walking out on the dock to pick up the paper about a quarter to 5 this morning; I walk into the kitchen; I looked at that, and I just -- I just blew my stack. It was outrageous, because we had given the administration, the Department of Justice, every chance to come forward and tell us everything that happened. They assured us that they had told us everything that happened, and yet they left out some very, very key points. I saw the attorney general this morning in a meeting at the Supreme Court, and I told him that I was very, very unhappy with this -- actually quite angry about it. ...He said that he would be happy to come up and brief us some more. I said, 'No, I've had enough of these briefings where ostensibly we're told everything; it turns out we weren't. The next time you come up will be before the full committee; it will be an open session; and you will be under oath."
US Attorney firingsCREW's Melanie Sloan says, "Given the murky nature of this situation and the unresolved questions of what top level Justice officials knew, when they knew it and whether they deliberately withheld information from Congress, Attorney General [Alberto] Gonzales should immediately appoint a special prosecutor. Both Congress and the American people deserve a full accounting of the truth behind the firings of the US attorneys. If the attorney general doesn't want to see the truth come out, perhaps the Inspector General will." A letter from CREW to Gonzales reads in part, "The firing of the US attorneys now appears to have implicated wrongdoing in the Executive Branch. Three members of Congress have already become enmeshed in the scandal for improperly contacting sitting U.S. Attorneys about pending cases. CREW has already sought ethics investigations of Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Representative Doc Hasting (R-WA) in this same matter." (CREW)
US Attorney firings"The only thing really at risk here is a repeal of the AG's appointment authority. We intend to have DOJ leg affairs people on notice to work hard to preserve this (House members won't care about this; all we really need, is for one Senator to object to language being added to legislative vehicles that are moving through). There is some risk that we'll lose the authority, but if we don't ever exercise it then what's the point of having it? (I'm not 100 percent sure that Tim was the guy on which to test drive this authority but know that getting him appointed...was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.)"
US Attorney firingsRyan is not considered a "problem" firing, because, according to Justice Department officials and other, less problematic sources, Ryan's performance was indeed an issue -- the only one of the eight whose performance is actually questionable. But, as Daily Kos researcher "sfluke" demonstrates, there may be far more to Ryan's ouster than poor managerial skills.
Prewar intelligence on IraqCurveball's tales about Iraq's "mobile biological weapons labs" -- labs that did not exist -- helped the Bush administration justify its push to go to war with Iraq. Curveball is still being protected by German intelligence. ABC, who publishes the first known photo of Curveball on its Web site, has found that Curveball has been resettled in a small town near the Munich headquarters of German intelligence. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell used Curveball's false claims in his fabulously erroneous presentation to the UN in February 2003 even though the CIA considered Curveball "unstable, immature and unreliable." Powell says he is "angry and disappointed" that he was never told the CIA had doubts about the reliability of the source. "I spent four days at CIA headquarters, and they told me they had this nailed," Powell recalls.
Conservative hate speech and intolerance"Nothing's going to happen. This is old and profitable hat for the shameless buffoon...." he writes. "We all know that Coulter will emerge from this episode selling even more books, appearing on even more right-wing talk shows and being even more fanatically worshipped by her legions of fans. A few newspapers have dropped her column, and some GOP presidential candidates condemned her statement -- who cares? As should be amply clear by now, there is virtually nothing that Ann Coulter can do that will cause her to be cast out of the bosom of the American right. And even if she was to lose her head and cross a line that even she can't cross -- calling Obama a 'n*gger' is about the only thing that would do the trick -- a thousand hissing Coulters would spring up to take her place." However, Kamiya observes, the Ann Coulters of the right are the harbingers of doom for that political and social movement.
"Mr. President, you're leading us off a cliff. Stop!" -- Senator Joseph Biden, March 14
US Attorney firingsGonzales admits that "mistakes were made" in the attorney firings, and says he is the one ultimately to blame, but stands by the firings. He promises not to do it again. However, he continues to insist that he wasn't aware of the details of the scheme to fire the attorneys, saying, "Like every CEO of a major organization, I am responsible for what happens at the Department of Justice. I acknowledge that mistakes were made here. I accept that responsibility. And my pledge to the American people is to find out what went wrong here. As we can all imagine, in an organization of 110,000 people, I am not aware of every bit of information that passes through the halls of justice, nor am I aware of all decisions."
US Attorney firingsDan Bartlett, the White House communications director, says that by October, a number of Republicans, including Senator Pete Domenici, Representative Heather Wilson, state Republican Party Chairman Allan Weh, lobbyist Mickey Barnett, and Albuquerque lawyer Pat Rogers all had lodged complaints about Iglesias with White House or Justice Department officials.
US Attorney firings"I think the president should replace him," Sununu tells the press. "I think the attorney general should be fired." Bush has tried to spin the controversy over Gonzales and the firing of eight US attorneys as miscommunication between Gonzales and Congress, saying, "Mistakes were made. And I'm frankly not happy about them. ...What Al did and what the Justice Department did was appropriate. What was mishandled was the explanation of the cases to the Congress. And Al's got work to do up there."
US Attorney firings"In my heart of hearts I do, no matter what they say," she says. "The fact is there are additional investigations that have come from that. The fact is that the day before she left office she filed two additional indictments," she says, referring to charges Lam filed last month against an ex-CIA official and a defense contractor tied to Cunningham. (See item below for more about Lam's investigations.) "Now they weren't of members of Congress," she adds. "But whether this has had a chilling effect over that investigation I don't know. But I'm concerned about it." Lam says she has never been told the reason behind her firing. Lam's office began investigating Cunningham and his associates on bribery allegations in July 2005. Cunningham pleaded guilty and was sentenced in March 2006 to more than eight years in federal prison for taking more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. White House adviser Karl Rove has said Lam was removed for failing to file immigration cases. William Moschella, an associate deputy attorney general, has said she was let go because her prosecution of gun crimes and immigration violations "just didn't stack up." Feinstein wrote to Gonzales last June questioning border prosecution guidelines in Lam's district, but received a reply from Moschella in which he described Lam's immigration smuggling caseload as rising "favorably" in 2006. (AP/KGTV-TV)
US Attorney firingsHe writes, "In 2005, when the White House launched a plan to oust US attorneys who showed insufficient political loyalty, George W. Bush was hoping to solidify one-party Republican control of American political life, in part, through aggressive prosecution of Democrats for alleged 'voter fraud.'" Partisan GOP prosecutors were assigned to go after Democrats trying to get more voters to go to the polls with bogus charges of "voter fraud." The second part was to deflect and thwart Democrats' real charges of voter suppression aimed at frightening minority citizens away from the polls. The failure of the strategy put Democrats in charge of Congress, and is resulting in the kind of oversight that Bush and his political strategists, most prominently Karl Rove, do not want to face. Parry writes, "Ultimately, the refusal of US attorneys in New Mexico and elsewhere to fast-track the pre-election indictments of Democrats denied the Republicans a last-minute boost that might have kept one or both congressional chambers in GOP hands." As a result, some of the recalcitrant attorneys have now been canned, at the behest of the White House.
US Attorney firingsLam was digging into the huge, multilayered scandal that has already resulted in one Republican congressman, Randy Cunningham, earning eight years in jail. She brought indictments against former CIA senior official Kyle Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes. But, according to research compiled by Democratic Underground posters, the corruption investigation threatened to engulf Cunningham's Republican House cohort Jerry Lewis, former CIA director Porter Goss, and many Republican members of the House Defense Appropriations Committee. Research shows that perhaps 15 to 20 Republican congressmen may have been tagged by the investigation and perhaps indicted, along with Cunningham, Lewis, and a myriad of lobbyists and defense contractors for taking part in the criminal "earmarks" of millions of taxpayer dollars. However, the investigation was stalled, and perhaps ended, by Lam's sudden firing.
US Attorney firingsIn the spring of 2001, Fitzgerald recalls, Rove told him to limit his choice of a new US attorney to the state of Illinois; Fitzgerald wanted to bring in someone from out of state. Fitzgerald says he believes Rove was trying to influence the selection in reaction to pressure from Dennis Hastert, then Speaker of the House, and allies of then-Governor George Ryan, who knew Fitzgerald was seeking someone from outside Illinois to attack political corruption. Fitzgerald refused to cave in to the pressure and named Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), a New York prosecutor, to the post on May 13, 2001. A year later, Fitzgerald says that Rove "said to me that [the Patrick] Fitzgerald appointment got great headlines for you, but it ticked off the base." The former senator says he believes the "base" was Illinois Republican insiders upset at the prosecutor's assault on corruption. Both aides to Hastert and the White House say that no one tried to influence Fitzgerald's decision. (Chicago Tribune)
Congressional DemocratsBiden, letting his anger and frustration at the Bush policies for the Middle East spill over, excoriates Bush for his failure to lead and the GOP for enabling him.
"Vast right-wing conspiracy"For proof, the Democratic senator and leading presidential candidate says, just look around you. She calls past Republican political malfeasance in New Hampshire as evidence of just such a conspiracy, reviving the term she coined for the partisan plotting during her husband's presidential tenure. She says that one key piece of proof is the Election Day 2002 case of phone jamming in New Hampshire, a case in which two Republican operatives pleaded guilty to criminal charges, and a third was convicted. "To the New Hampshire Democratic Party's credit, they sued and the trail led all the way to the Republican National Committee," she tells a Democratic audience in the state. "So if anybody tells you there is no vast, right-wing conspiracy, tell them that New Hampshire has proven it in court." Former RNC operative James Tobin was convicted of telephone harassment and appealed his conviction. The investigation arose after Democratic organizers' phones were overwhelmed by annoying hang-up calls hindering their get-out-the-vote efforts.
Alberto GonzalesThe New York Times led the charge on March 12, and is followed in the next two days by editorials from coast to coast. "We haven't seen a renegade US Justice Department like this since John Mitchell ran it for President Nixon," says the Sacramento Bee. "With a new Congress beginning to exercise serious oversight, the problems at the Justice Department and with its leader, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, are becoming clearer by the day. And what is becoming most clear is that Gonzales must go." The Washington Post expresses similar sentiments, as does the Los Angeles Times, which goes farther by placing much of the blame directly on Bush. The Philadephia Inquirer demands, "US Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should resign. If he ever does, the nation could take it as a clear sign that President Bush finally grasps the need to preserve core civil liberties while guarding against terrorism." The Buffalo News says bluntly, "He should go. The country needs an attorney general who wants to uphold the law, not subvert it." And Melbourne's Florida Today adds, "He should be removed and replaced with someone willing to protect the Constitution. Chances are Bush won't do that."
Bush administration's contempt for democracyMost presidents pay lip service to the concept of independence, even in private discussions. The Bush administration didn't bother. Having covered Bush for years, I know where that dismissive attitude comes from: his family, Texas, his inner circle and his own experience -- or lack of it." Fineman writes that Bush loyalists "see themselves as men of action and profit. As a rule, they tend to loathe or dismiss people who monitor and measure thought and behavior: reporters, shrinks, accountants and lawyers. Bushes go into business (sometimes with MBAs), never law." In Texas, the law is little more than "a money-powered blood sport. Judges are elected in Texas. Karl Rove made his fortune not by running George W. Bush for office, but by training, building and running slates of conservative Republican judges. If the judges are purely political, what does that make the lawyers who practice in front of them? Surely not just 'officers of the court.' The Austin Gang -- Bush, Rove, Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers -- saw the legal world as something to control, if for no other reason than if they did not, the Trial Lawyers -- the backbone of the modern Texas Democratic Party -- would."