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Hey! Look Over There!


(Photo of the Columbus statue in Barcelona by YTaP.)

Oh, Alberto.  Smarmy, weasel answers are so last year when the Republicans controlled Congress.  So, might I suggest that you do not say this: (PDF)

I know that I did not, and would not, ask for a resignation of any individual in order to interfere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain.

I also have no basis to believe that anyone involved in this process sought the removal of a U.S. Attorney for an improper reason.

No basis to believe? Wow, that's really…wishy washy. And this:  (PDF)

Based upon the record as I know it, it is unfair and unfounded for anyone to conclude that any U.S. Attorney was removed for an improper reason….

I made mistakes in not ensuring that these U.S. attorneys received more dignified treatment.  Others within the Department of Justice also made mistakes. As far as I know, these were honest mistakes of perception and judgment and not intentional acts of misconduct.

The record as you know it?  What about the record that you don't know?  Sad. And weak. And it leaves you a hole the size of a Mack truck to drive through in terms of getting it wrong. It's not even plausible deniability. And this? This is just flat out pathetic: (PDF)

Near the end of the process, as I have said many times, Kyle Sampson presented me with the final recommendations, which I approved. I did so because I understood that the recommendations represented the consensus of senior Justice Department officials most knowledgeable about the performance of all 93 U.S. Attorneys. I also remember that, at some point in time, Mr. Sampson explained to me the plan to inform the U.S. Attorneys of my decision.

So, let me get this straight, Alberto: you didn't know how the 93 U.S. Attorneys working for you were doing, you were talked into firing a few attorneys after you didn't think you could get away with firing all of them, you let other people make the decision who to fire, and you let your assistant tell you how you were going to tell them they were fired. Is that about right? Because, if so, that is the most pathetic excuse for leadership and administrative buck passing that I have ever heard. Pa. The. Tic. (PDF)

In hindsight, I should have handled this differently. As a manager, I am aware that decisions involving personnel are some of the most difficult and challenging decisions one can make. United States Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, but looking back, it is clear to me that I should have done more personally to ensure that the review process was more rigorous, and that each U.S. Attorney was informed of this decision in a more personal and respectful way.

Gee, ya think? Dude, you weren't firing the afternoon french fry basket guy at Der Wienerschnitzel for failing to change out the fryer oil on time. 

You are a political appointee, running a department that has the responsibility to fairly and evenly apply the law to the evidence in every single case it handles, and to ensure that justice is served by your actions and the actions of those who work under you.  It might have been a good idea to take a step back and say to yourself, "Hey, why is this being pushed so much by the political appointees at the DoJ?  What do the career folks at Justice think?  Why is the White House political shop pushing these firings so much?" 

But then, you'd have to not want to be used, wouldn't you?  You'd have to be willing to put the honorable thing ahead of keeping your spot at the power table.  You'd have to be serving the American public, the Constitution, and the rule of law…and not the rule of Karl.   Or maybe you approved of all of it, and you are just trying to pass the political buck so that you don't have to face any consequences for your own actions.  No amount of attempted deflection of responsibility negates this incontrovertable fact:  Mr. Gonzales, with all due respect, you failed at your job.

Alberto Gonzales is scheduled to testify beginning at 10 am ET on April 17th before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com