In anticipation of James Comey's testimony tomorrow, I thought I'd point out some issues of timing.

You see, the entire timeline of the USA purge is characterized by fits and starts–and I suspect that James Comey was one of those fits. And honest, I wasn't going to do this, but sometimes you just gotta start with a timeline.

November 19, 2002: Frederick Black removed as USA for Guam and Marianas Islands, thereby stopping an investigation inconvenient to Abramoff

July 9, 2003: Dan Collins proposes the idea of having the AG appoint USAs (this is the first known discussion of the AG appointment idea)

Comey Proves to be Less Pliant than Bush Might Want

December 11, 2003: Comey appointed Deputy AG

December 30, 2003: Comey appoints Patrick Fitzgerald Special Counsel on the Plame Affair 

February 6, 2004: Comey reiterates Fitzgerald's authority to investigate things–like perjury–that would become relevant in the Plame investigation

March 2004: Comey refuses to reauthorize the NSA domestic spying program 

Early 2004:  David Ayres (Ashcroft's Chief of Staff) asks Comey for a list of weak USAs. Kevin Ryan is the only now-fired USA on the list.

December 4, 2004: DOJ releases resignation guidance … just in case someone wants to resign after the elections 

February 17, 2005: Sampson recommends firing just some, not all, of the USAs

March 2, 2005: Sampson sends Harriet Miers a list grading all USAs. Patrick Fitzgerald is graded mediocre. Sampson revises this list after an AG Advisory Committee meeting; he adds two to the firing list, and adds one to the loyal Bushies list.

2005, unknown date: Comey provides Sampson his list of weak USAs. Kevin Ryan remains on his list, but none of the other fired USAs are. 

August 8, 2005: Boston Globe reports on Black firing, in conjunction with Abramoff scandal 

August 15, 2005: Comey's Farewell Address (If you haven't read this, do so now. Really. Otherwise Looseheadprop will be cross with you.) (more…)



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.