Thursday, July 31, 2008

Justice Questions

Manipulation at Justice (also watch Hamdan secrecy in trial today and blog at Human Rights First later tonight or tomorrow)

The Bush administration has been nailed for more political manipulation of the Justice Department in another report from the agency's inspector general.

Expect more to come. The probe continues into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys allegedly because they did not hew to the Bush administration's political agenda...

Top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke civil-service rules by brazenly using political considerations to make hiring decisions for nonpolitical positions. The officials ruled out first-rate candidates because of their political leanings — in one case, because of a spouse's political activities — or elevated others because they fit a conservative ideology....

Still anticipated are findings related to the firing of the U.S. attorneys, including John McKay, who headed the Western Washington District office. Among the concerns are what might be perjury — remember Gonzales' inartful hemming, hawing and do-not-recalling before Congress — and witness intimidation. One fired prosecutor was warned about cooperating with congressional inquiries or talking to the press.

Especially concerning is the idea that these prosecutors were fired not for failing the duties of their office but for failing the Bush administration's political ends.

For instance, McKay was contacted by an aide to Republican Congressman Doc Hastings, inquiring about his actions related to the controversial 2004 gubernatorial election — in which the Democratic candidate won on the third recount by a mere 133 votes. David Iglesias, a U.S. attorney in New Mexico, fielded calls from a senator and a congresswoman asking whether he would file indictments in a public corruption case before the next election.

Since their congressional testimony, both men have confirmed they were interviewed by House ethics committee investigators....

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

No comments: