(Remember this image from the BBC video of Monica Goodling and Tim Griffin working on GOP oppo research together?) 

The WaPo had a story yesterday I had wondered if we'd see–an account of Alberto Gonzales getting an earful from the US Attorneys at their meeting last week in San Antonio. (DAG Paul McNulty resigned at the same San Antonio meeting earlier in the week.)

More than a dozen U.S. attorneys spoke during the morning session, most of them expressing concern to Gonzales about the scandal's impact on their own offices and the overall image of the department, several participants said.

"People were very plainspoken," said one U.S. attorney, who along with others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was private. "The overwhelming majority of the comments were about the controversy and how people are still not happy in the way things were going."

Go here for my account of how this meeting fits into Gonzales' truly abysmal week. For now, though, I'd like to point to two paragraphs that appear later in the story:

Several prosecutors noted a difference in attitude between the veteran Bush administration U.S. attorneys — many of whom knew the fired prosecutors — and more recent arrivals who generally focused on moving past the scandal.

"There is no secret that a lot of us are still pretty upset by this, and at the impact it's having on an institution we love," one U.S. attorney said. "At the same time, there is a desire to get on with our work."

Perhaps I'm over-reading this, but it's a sentiment I was also wondering if we'd see. A split between those US Attorneys chosen in the early days of the Bush Administration, before Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales arrived at DOJ, and those appointed since.

I can imagine those USAs who believe they must pursue justice with no regard for political affiliation are still troubled by the fate of David Iglesias and Carol Lam.

But I can also imagine that Tim Griffin would like us all to forget he was appointed in a way no other USA has been, because he could not be confirmed. And I can imagine that Troy Eid would like us to stop looking into his ties to Team Abramoff. And I suspect Rachel Paulose would like us to forget that–within months of her appointment–she exhibited poorer management than almost any of the USAs who were fired.

So I guess I can understand why the new USAs are impatient for all this scrutiny to end.

The rumor mill suggests that Gonzales may finally take the hint and leave at any moment; alternatively, a no confidence vote tomorrow might force the issue. But we need to remember that Goodling did quite a bit of work before we copped on to what she was doing. I mean, given the jobs Griffin has done for BushCo in the past, I'd like to make sure we don't get complacent and let him "get on with his work" with no scrutiny. Because, unlike the USAs appointed at the beginning of Bush's first term, I suspect Griffin doesn't regard his job to be the non-partisan pursuit of justice.



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