"It was an uncomfortable -- and perhaps unprecedented -- airing of private personnel matters. Granted, U.S. Attorneys are "at-will" employees who serve at the pleasure of the president and can be fired without cause, yet even some of the administration's staunchest supporters were embarrassed at the breach of decorum.DiGenova and Corallo? lol
"They have the right to fire them; they do not have the right to smear them," says Joseph DiGenova, a conservative commentator who was U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia during the Reagan administration. "Everybody involved in it at the Justice Department and White House should be taken to the woodshed. This is really a pathetic way of running government."
Other former U.S. Attorneys, all Republicans, said they were "stunned" or "flummoxed" or found the way the firings were handled "insulting."
"It is unfortunate that the department felt the need to attack the performance of these people," says Thomas Heffelfinger, who served as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota from 2001 until last year. "It wasn't necessary and it wasn't warranted."
Of course, the U.S. Attorney's job is inherently political; in the past, however, departures were handled with considerably more tact.
"It was handled discreetly, it was handled professionally, and people were given every opportunity to have a soft landing," says Mark Corallo, who was Justice Department spokesman under then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. "These are people who worked hard in the pursuit of justice. To go out and trash their reputations -- it's galling.""
* DK at TPM:
" So here's my question: if an administration can avoid the congressional oversight mechanism put in place after the CIA abuses of the 1970s (iran contra) by shifting the covert activity to the Pentagon, cutting out the CIA, and running the operations out of the Office of the Vice President, is serious legislation pending to close this loophole?* atrios:
I don't mean to concede the argument that in fact the intelligence oversight mechanism cannot legally be circumvented so easily. But set that aside. If there's a purported loophole that top level Bush Administration officials believe is big enough to run a black-bag squad through, is Congress taking steps to close that loophole?
"The conservative coalition is an odd one, but what seems to be new is that "serious" conservative candidates need to buy into the whole agenda in order to please movement conservatives. This is odd, as I think plenty of movement conservatives don't really agree with the whole package. Aside from their anti-tax fetish, which seems to be universal, there are conservatives who don't have Tancredo's views on immigration, don't buy into the "hate the gay" or general social conservatism agenda fully, at least now recognize that the Iraq war was perhaps a bad idea, think there might be something to this global warming stuff, etc... Still, they seem to want their candidates to support the whole package, even the parts they don't necessarily care anything about. It's about demonstrating their fealty to the movement, and proving they're sincere in their desire to fuck with liberals. It's kinda weird."
"Defense lawyers say brig logs indicate that there were 72 hours of Padilla interviews that either were not taped or for which tapes may be missing. Natale said it seems unlikely that any interrogation session with Padilla was not videotaped "when he was videoed taking showers.""
* glenn adds:
"Of course, even if administration's patently unbelievable claim were true -- namely, that it did "lose" the video of its interrogation of this Extremely Dangerous International Terrorist -- that would, by itself, evidence a reckless ineptitude with American national security so grave that it ought to be a scandal by itself. But the likelihood that the key interrogation video with regard to Padilla's torture claims was simply "lost" is virtually non-existent. Destruction of relevant evidence in any litigation is grounds for dismissal of the case (or defense) of the party engaged in that behavior.
But where, as here, the issues extend far beyond the singular proceeding itself -- we are talking about claims by a U.S. citizen that he was tortured by his own government -- destruction of evidence of this sort would be obstruction of justice of the most serious magnitude. This merits much, much more attention."