Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

As We Suspected …

Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales’ chief of staff, says in remarks prepared for delivery to Congress tomorrow that eight federal prosecutors were fired last year because they did not sufficiently support President Bush’s priorities.

“The distinction between ‘political’ and ‘performance-related’ reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial,” Sampson said. “A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective … is unsuccessful.”

Separately, the Justice Department admitted Wednesday it gave senators inaccurate information about the firings and presidential political adviser Karl Rove’s role in trying to secure a U.S. attorney’s post for one of his former aides, Tim Griffin. [story].

I hope that Kyle Sampson has a few bodyguards.



  1. #1 JPS
    March 28, 2007

    This is case of the bigger scandal being the attempted cover up. Letting the attorney’s go was sleazy, but not really illegal.

    Now the real issue is that the Bush administration lied to congress. Now even the republicans are mad about this one.

  2. #2 The Ridger
    March 29, 2007

    As Josh over at TPM says:

    But this is the classic case of mistaking the symptom for the disease. As McNulty could see, refusing to give any explanation for an unprecedented firing of multiple US Attorneys with active investigations or prosecutions of prominent Republicans simply wasn’t tenable. Vague lies about performance problems was the least worst option available.

    Frankly, simply reviewing the multiple instances in which Bush Justice Department officials threatened the firees with attacking their reputations if they didn’t go quietly, I have real doubts whether any of the performance related line started with McNulty. But it hardly matters. The fuse was lit when the White House ordered the DOJ to fire the list of US Attorneys for hurting Republicans and not damaging Democrats. A really good cover story might have kept the thing hidden but a blanket refusal to discuss the matter — in a department the Congress oversees — was never going to cut it.

    There’s this old line the wise folks in Washington have that ‘it’s not the crime, but the cover-up.’

    But only fools believe that. It’s always about the crime. The whole point of the cover-up is that a full revelation of the underlying crime is not survivable. Let me repeat that, the whole point of the cover-up is a recognition that a full revelation of the underlying bad act is not survivable. Indeed, the cover-ups are usually successful. And that’s why they’re tried so often. Just look at this administration. They’re the ultimate example of this truth….

    This is about finding out what really happened. All the effort that has gone into preventing that tells you the tale.

  3. #3 The Ridger
    March 29, 2007

    Sorry, I should have used Preview. The whole of my post other than the attribution was a quote from Josh, though the “quote” didn’t hold past the first paragraph break.

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