Congress clearly didn’t take much notice of an obscure provision the Bush administration slipped into the USA Patriot Act last year. But now it seems clear that the measure is being used to conduct a political purge of U.S. attorneys’ offices.

So far, at least eight are known to have been forced out by the Justice Department, and there may be others. The departures were facilitated by a provision that allows the president to appoint interim U.S. attorneys for an indefinite period without the usual Senate confirmation.

The ouster that raised the biggest stink was that of Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney for San Diego, who nailed Randy “Duke” Cunningham, then a senior House Republican, for accepting over $2 million in bribes. The suspicion was that the White House acted because her investigation was still ongoing and widening.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told a Senate committee that the firings were all for “performance-related” reasons, although he conceded that the highly respected U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., was forced out so the job could be given to a protege and former aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove.

The “performance-related” defense began to crumble when the department’s internal evaluations started to leak out and it turned out that most of the ousted attorneys had been capable, competent and well regarded.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are threatening to summon the dismissed prosecutors to testify and to subpoena their performance evaluations. It would be an opportunity for the eight to rebut a gratuitous slap at their reputations.

Better yet would be to repeal the offending provision. A bill to do that has bipartisan support in the Senate, but is being held up in a procedural wrangle. Let’s hope the lawmakers unsnarl the obstacle quickly, because this provision has the potential to give us a badly flawed criminal-justice system.


  1. I am not a genius, but I sensed no good coming from he primaries between GWB and Kerry. The idiot could not even put a sensible sentence together. He won by cheating. And that goes for Gore’s election. Bush is a liar and cheat along with Rove, Cheney, Rice, et al. I know these are strong accusations, but they will eventually be verfied.

  2. I had to laugh at the Australian’s call for impeaching Bush. How long has the John Howard dictatorship been collaborating with US ambitions?

  3. What you see happening to this country was planned long ago. We just happen to be here at the Grand Finally. Bush is just a piece of the puzzle, like Cheney, Rumspy, Rice,Rove,Clintons,Council on Foriegn Relations, Bilderberger, Trilateral Commission,Plan for the New American Century. Our Country has been highjacked by this evil Cabal and the sheeples just keep on supporting thier own demise into enslavement and poverty. The Masses are mind controlled and hooked on television, the best control device ever invented. We are told how we should live, look, feel,eat,drink,say,act,love,reason,hate,and what we should believe. Then the media screens all information, spins it the way they want you to read it, and the lawmakers and executive branch LIE about everything. This current bunch of Imperialists Rs and Ds have done nothing BUT destroy this nation. 911 was the new pearl harbor event that pnac states right in thier doctrine, was the only thing that would shock the people and scare em to the point of allowing the plan to go forth, and it worked, just like hitler did when he suckered the german people and took them down. History repeats. The goal is world domination, the new world order. The UN is the base force that all nationalities will soldier for and it will be more mercinary type roles. All under one flag, one ruler, and I don’t know under what God the new order plans.

    Thats the plan and they are stickin to it.

  4. The Bush administration has politicized federal agencies making them less effective. Start with politicizing intelligence which they did when they cherry picked and hyped the intel that served their purpose to invade Iraq. They have pressured scientists in the EPA to downplay golbal warming and other environmental issues. They have pressured the FDA to not allow some contraceptions on the market that they did not like. Someone could and should write a book about the cronyism, abuse of power, and intimidation of federal workers that this administration has conducted.

  5. Kate (above) you certainly ask the right questions. How could this happen. These people are criminals and yet congress does basically nothing. It makes one wonder just how many (including congress) are apart of this criminial gang.

  6. For God’s sake America WAKE UP! We over in Australia, are watching your once great nation being systematically destroyed by the Bush-Cheney Gang. The mainstream media is useless, so use the internet and tell everyone you can to get on line and get the TRUTH about the Neo Cons, 9/11, rigged elections, The Illuminati, Skull & Bones etc etc. Dick Cheney is a living breathing devil and he must be stopped!!! WAKE UP and use the power of numbers. There’s 300 million of you and one of him! It’s time.

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