Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another Saturday Night Massacre

Some tricks of the trade never go out of fashion. Firing investigators who are getting too close to the truth is one of those tricks, one that the current administration has borrowed from an earlier one. It didn't work out so well the last time. One can only hope that history repeats itself. From an editorial in today's NY Times:

Feb. 15 is the last day on the job for United States Attorney Carol Lam of San Diego, the inquiry’s dedicated prosecutor, who is being purged by the Bush administration.

Her investigation led to the imprisonment of former Representative Randy Cunningham, the California Republican who took millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for delivering lucrative government contracts. But just as Ms. Lam was digging into other possible wrongdoing, the White House decided to force her from office without explanation.

The other "possible wrongdoing" involved the number one co-conspirator in the Duke Cunningham case and his cozy connection with another GOP congressman, Rep. Jerry Lewis. Rather than have another 'bad apple' ousted, the administration sought to put an end to all of the investigations by purging the US Attorney's Office of all these crusaders.

The outlook isn’t promising. The administration is defenestrating at least six other U.S. attorneys. Yet Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is refusing to provide Congress with details on these unmerited dismissals. He insists that there’s no attempt to quash fresh Republican scandals and says only the “very best” will be named as replacements.

Betito insists that this is nothing more than a personnel move and therefore outside the purview of the congressional committee looking into the matter. Democratic committee members aren't buying this weak explanation, especially since the "very best" who will be replacing those purged include one attorney whose only claim to fame is that he is nothing more than a Karl Rove operative.

This is getting interesting, real interesting. Pass the popcorn.

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