Report: Justice Department mulled firing 25% of US Attorneys
The Department of Justice considered firing at least a quarter of its federal prosecutors between February 2005 and December 2006, the Washington Post reports today.
Department officials mulled dismissing at least 26 of the nation's 93 prosecutors -- nearly three times the nine prosecutors actually dismissed in the same period, the Post reports, based on "sources familiar with documents withheld from the public."
The Post reports that D. Kyle Sampson, who then served as Gonzales's chief of staff, compiled lists of more than two dozen U.S. Attorneys, but it is unclear how many were aware how close they came to getting axed.
EXCERPTS FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:
The number of names on the lists demonstrates the breadth of the search for prosecutors to dismiss. The names also hint at a casual process in which the people who were most consistently considered for replacement were not always those ultimately told to leave.
When shown the lists of firing candidates late yesterday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), perhaps the most outspoken critic of the way Gonzales handled the prosecutor dismissals, said they "show how amok this process was."
"When you start firing people for invalid reasons, just about anyone can end up on a list," he said. "It looks like the process was out of control, and if it hadn't been discovered, more would have been fired."
Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department would not confirm which U.S. attorneys were included on the lists. He said they "reflect Kyle Sampson's thoughts for discussion during the consultation process" and were often compiled long before the bulk of the firings were carried out.
"Whether they are on any list or not, U.S. attorneys currently serving enjoy the full confidence and support of the attorney general and Department of Justice," Roehrkasse said.
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