« Why Did Comey Fire Thomas DeBiagio? | Main | CDC's Interim Guidance For The Use Of Facemasks And Respirators In A Pandemic »

May 03, 2007



What a time to be gone! Your email to the right doesn't work... otherwise I'd have sent this juicy bit under wraps:

"A legal secretary at one of Washington's most prominent law firms, Akin Gump, has been suspended after telling her bosses she secretly worked at night for the escort service run by the so-called D.C. Madam, Jeane Palfrey,"


In addition, an email from the woman sent to Palfrey suggested that they restart Pamela Martin and Associates from the Akin Gump offices.


The woman, who worked directly for one of the firm's many prominent lawyers, has been placed on administrative leave.


OK, so which prominent lawyer is missing his paralegal? Was it anybody advising Monica Goodling, for example, or another of our DoJ buddies?

Who else at Akin Gump was a prostitute by night? Did they mix business with pleasure by gathering information from their clients? How did this particular woman think she could run a brothel from a prestigious law office? Is this how they added to their client list and database?

I feel like we are dealing with a many-headed hydra in the swamplands, and that everything is connected under the mire.

Wow, great work, ew. I wish regular folk were 1% as in tune to this as you are. It's too hard for them, though. What needs to happen is that the various complexities of this and all the other scandals need to be distilled into an easy-to-comprehend narrative. You and others are getting there, but it's an f-ing tall order.

We know from the other Waas story that the Gonzales order to allow Goodling and Sampson to run Justice was done in a way that deliberately kept McNulty out of the loop. Abu "bypassed" him on the order--I guess he didn't want McNulty to have "transparency" on who was in charge. At first I was wondering if Elston had been the source for both articles but in the article about Abu's secret order, the description of the source doesn't fit Elston.

I absolutely believe that it is a strong possibility that Elston got his directions from Rove but I can't get there from the McKay statement. Why couldn't Elston be referencing DOJ's OPA?

Jane S.:

DOJ's OPA wouldn't have any authority on its own to decide whether or not the USAs should testify. They'd have to get their authorization from someone higher up. So if the Deputy AG's office was saying that OPA was giving the orders, it would have to be Rove's shop.

notjonathon: Thanks. That makes sense. Why does everyone lie to protect Rove?

I think you're jumping too fast over McNulty. First of all, I don't think Elston is saying McNulty told him to tell the USAs not to talk to the press. On the contrary, Elston says McNulty directed him to call the USAs but not to tell them not to talk to the press.

Seriously, think Cheney and Libby here.

But I don't see any reason to imagine that just because Elston may be covering up McNulty's role in directing him on what to say to the USAs, that the directive originated with McNulty.

Also, I don't think McNulty's conduct with Lam is inconsistent with him having directed Elston on what to say.


While it's possible that McNulty told Elston what to say at the direction of others, that is largely inconsistent with the pattern of communication that you see in hte dump, in which there is strong lateral, and almost constant communication bt Sampson, Goodling, and Elston, and occasional communication with McNulty--to serve a particular role. If the dumps are AT ALL realistic (and they may not be), then McNulty's role is limited to a functional instruction oF USAs. And McNulty is largely isolated from the instructions from WH. So while it's possible that WH instructed Sampson who in turn instructed McNulty, the general pattern exhibited in the commuincation is WH to Sampson or Goodling or (sometimes) Hertling, and from them laterally to people below McNulty and Gonzales.

The trick is that Gonzales, at least, is generally getting verbal, face to face instructions, so it's possible McNulty is too (and then the emails are deceptive). But McNulty is on enough emails to suggest that if he is getting face-to-face, with the exception of teh one discussion where they took him off the distrib list, he was genereally accessible by email, too.

Hmmm. McNulty. Where have I heard that name before?

I'm very much with Jeff's take on McNulty's "directions" to Elston or lack thereof. I want to repeat a point I tried to make before about McNulty, and perhaps the tone of Comey's appearance before the HJC today allows for it to be brought home better.

Ms. E. Wheel's live-blog characterized Comey's tone as way low key. I agree with that, and its born out by reading the content as well. Humor, proportion, regret, prudence - Comey exhibited all the attributes of a professional manager, and was particularly strong on what we'd want most in someone managing ten thousand or so prosecutors and civil counsel - receptiveness, true interest, curiousity even, support for independence so long as well thought out and rational, patience, praise, and forebearance from pointless criticism [It's certainly pointless when the USa has already left.]

Plus, he seemed to go out of his way to make two points in particular [I'm sure there were others.]: [1] equating the driving underground and silencing of internal criticism as denoting tyrannical leadership [though done in a very tasteful, principled and totally non-personalized way] and [2] that he missed the DoJ "terribly".

Should we expect any different performance from someone who was [and may still be] a registered Republican who is hoping a Dem president gets in [Guess which one? My guess is given away at the end of this post.] and appoints as AG someone with the peculiar gifts required to put the political genie back in the bottle - someone like say, Sen Sheldon Whitehouse? Hard to see how Comey would have difficulties working with him, given his ability to get even Ashcroft to heed and follow his counsel.

[Though it probably didn't hurt that Comey had five more things going for him with Ashcroft - [1] Republican [2] major cred as USa for NY [3] a just-as-deeply-felt but much more wide ranging interest in faith & Christianity [Lots of those types in prosecution - and I never had any trouble working with or for them.][4] an extremely deep commitment to principle and [5] a gift for resorting to gentle self-deprecating humor to deflect tension, and [6] at 6'8", the physical presence to prevent being ignored.

Occasionally in working with those of disparate political orientations a bit of diplomacy is recommended, but mostly the common goals of the office and an agreement to enforce a ceasefire around the watercooler are enough to allow respect and those values in common also vital to the job to carry the day. I'm getting the impression that Comey didn't leave his DoJ - his DoJ left him.

Comey & McNulty worked together a lot, first in Virginia & later of course in DoJ HQ. It would be hard to accept that they didn't have much in commmon.

Besides personality [Comey has one, McNulty not so much]maybe the key differences are these -

[1] Comey is a far more career-DoJ type and a fan of the office per se,

whereas McNulty pretty much returns to the fold whenever a Bush is president and takes up the fashionable Bush or Shrub cause du jour, and

[2] Comey spent somewhere over two years on the front lines of having to duck all that friendly fire with anyone who hangs around AlG for very long, and bailed before the expiry of his best-before date;

I mean, even the King lets those remaining alive among the babysitter troops in Iraq back home every 15 months or so;

whereas McNulty may be just about to pass his best-before date, if he didn't do so sometime in 2006;


[3] Comey didn't mind others drinking the KoolAid, but he himself abstained, whereas

[4] McNulty sipped enough of it at social get togethers in Texas that he's like a constant tippler - he's a little tipsy but it looks so normal you can't tell.

As things stand now, McNulty's life as a DoJ'er is done [Mind you, I would have said the same of Sec of Defense Gates in the late 1980s.]. But he's got still got a lot of ambition and a fair amount of pride and not a little personal courage

- all qualities which AlG permanently checked at the entrance to Bush World, and

- all qualities which are utterly missing in Sampson, Elston or [spare me] Buzz Saw Goodling.

I still like McNulty for a little dose of ostrich instruction.

Okay now, anybody here familiar with the theories of religion and morals theorist & philosopher Reinhold Neibuhr?

Comey is; he even wrote a college thesis which feature him [and Jerry Falwell - man, talk about covering the bases].

Another big fan of Neibuhr's writings was Martin Luther King.

Are we getting warmer?

Here's a link to the online fanzine:



So what's the logic of the testimony here? Elston says McNulty told him to call the USAs after McNulty learned that the USAs might testify. But Elston testifies that mcNulty told Elston to take no position on their prospective testimony. But three of the USAs said that Elston sought to get them not to testify. Presumably McNulty's story is the same. But so you think McNulty did or did not direct Elston to call the USAs?

Plus, Sampson wrote the email (when was that, again? and who was it addressed to again?), and Elston says McNulty concurred with the judgment that the USAs shouldn't testify. Will McNulty confirm that account, or deny it?

I guess the basic question is, by the logic of your response, wouldn't you expect that McNulty wasn't directing Elston to call the USAs at all? And if that's the case, why would McNulty now be going along with the story that he was (assuming we don't have flat contradiction between their stories)?

Sampson is COS to the supposed head of the DOJ. Elston is COS to Gonzales' No. 2, McNulty. Goodling splits the difference as principal liaison between the DOJ and the WH.

Apart from keeping their nominal bosses out of the loop because they might not agree with the action or they wanted plausible deniability, I think the Goodling Mafia was sucking up to Rove and his principal deputies, the people really in charge here, just as they were domninant over Gonzales when he was WH counselor. Those relative places in the pecking order would have been obvious to these bureaucrats.

Sampson/Elston/Goodling kept these firings among themselves because they wanted the cred for them with the real powers that be. Like being known as the button men who can always bury the bodies where nobody will find them. As EW suggests, the Goodling Mafia is continuing to work for the real powers that be by redirecting the search lights elsewhere.

What I can't figure out is this. Everybody knows all these USA's could have legally been replaced on a whim, had Gonzales and the Prezelnit just said they'd take the political heat for making a political decision. Just routine. That would have given them a simple story line to keep straight.

For some reason, Rove's Shoppe thought that would be too visible. I suspect it was because they had guilty knowledge: they knew too much about the political reasons why these changes were really made. So, they tried to claim that more than half a dozen of the Republican Party's most talented, ambitious litigators were fired for poor performance when there was no documented record to support those claims.

Is that just being inept? Or, so arrogant that they expected those top litigators to slink away quietly while two-bit office lizards trashed their professional standing? Did they think Karl had that much power, that the MSM was that controlled? Perhaps they could have gotten away with it before the November election, before the Libby trial. Maybe they did, with an unknown number of "resignations", such as Minneapolis and Missouri might have been. May be then. I hope not now.

This by Scott Horton at Harpers is one of the most illuminating things I've read about McNulty, by the way. Not pretty.

LabDancer, thoughtful comments about Comey. The first thing that comes to mind is that the common goals of the DOJ - and, I suspect, of virtually every other federal department or agency - were gutted.

Without those common bonds of shared departmental/office goals, what's left for disparate, ambitious, talented bureaucrats from across the country and political spectrum to do? Disagree and compete over access to and compliance with the informally but brutally enforced "authority" of the WH? (Or leave the service.)

The Rove machinations made even that hard by actively hiding, at least at the DOJ, who had authority to make decisions about work, priorities, shared tasks, performance appraisals, you name it. Goodling and Sampson, for example, were apparently given authority well beyond their experience or maturity. There was no incentive to handle it properly either. They could exercise their power secretly, without personal accountability for its use, and without normal oversight, the kind that people like Comey would have routinely exercised.

That "process" seems to match exactly the divide and conquer political style that Bush/Cheney/Rove have used on the whole country.

Rove's divide and conquer approach at the department/agency level has other advantages. It disables the bureaucracy from acting independently of the WH. Rebuilding them at the start of a new administration is wasteful, time consuming, distracting, expensive. It makes the agencies far less effective for a considerable time just when the facts about the former administration are freshest and possibly most obviously damning. That opens the new administration to criticism and makes it less able to respond to it.

It's not just treating federal bureaucracies like Sherman treated Georgia on his way to the beach. It seems to be another example of Rove's penchant for keeping as many balls in the air as possible. It makes him essential, since he's the only one who can juggle that many without dropping them. It is also extraordinarily destructive.


I need to come back and read this closer on Monday. But a couple of comments.

First, that Horton thing doesn't even pretend it's working off real data. Does he have a source that said this was handed off to McNulty? I don't doubt that Gonzales is out to gut the 1st amendment. I'm not sure that his description of Gonzales' role in AIPAC is anything more than commentary and speculation, though, from someone who is usually more careful about his commentary. Further, his timeline is just off, badly, from the investigation. So either you're going to suggest that FBI was investigating this for two years before Gonzales dreamed it up and therefore McNulty's role in it was incidental, or ... what?

Second, as I pointed out, Elston tells at least one identifiable lie here (as well as elsewhere). SO my thought here is based first on an assumption that, if he feels the need to lie, he will.

I'm not sure what you mean by this:

Presumably McNulty's story is the same.

But my point is just that it would benefit a lot of people--Elston, Goodling, and Sampson, plus the WH--if Elston told a story that 1) discredited McNulty (whose testimony has already been pitched against Goodling's and Sampson's) and 2) protected the people they seem to be protecting (again--demonstrable non-disclosure of things relating to the WH). If he said McNulty was responsible for criminal behavior that Elston at first didn't acknowledge (and only acknowledged in part after about 6 people had testified to it), then it might release him from criminal responsibility even while keeping any cover-up active.

As I'm writing this, I'm just realizing that we already know Elston lied in his statements here, and in not disclosing his statements here, and in not disclosing documents and phone records relating to his statement here. So there can't be a presumption of truthfulness.

I'm not arguing McNulty is innocent--he's not. But he's not a central player and there is only ambiguous evidence he's actively covering this up, as compared to abundant evidence Elston is.

One more comment.

Elston, at least in his conversation with CHiara, was aggressively playing gatekeeper with McNulty. He chewed her out for not including him on a relevant email.

So while it is possible that he said that McNulty told him to call these people (though why? Given how little conversation there was, why, unless you buy that McNulty told him to threaten/warn them, when all his of his own emails suggest he was just hoping everyone would go away), it is equally possible that Elston was making sure all communication by "DAG" was managed exclusvely by him. And given how closely he worked iwth Goodling/Sampson, that makes a bit of sense--it effectively put a clique member between the fired USAs and their designated point of appeal.


Just speculating, but what if the central WH concern is not about the discovery of the WH role in running the DOJ hiring and firing process? That is, we already see that the MSM doesn’t really care, and can’t frame a simple story line with a cute graphic like “Operation: Destroy Democracy,” so maybe that is not Rove’s issue either.

I see why Rove would want a political operative with opposition research background to have subpoena power in Arkansas. And the MSM sees nothing suspicious or unusual about that either, just like making James Carville USA in Texas in 1999 would have been just peachy for the GOP, since USAs serve at the pleasure of the president, and all.

But what if the thing Rove is worried about coming to light in a paper trail is that past communications from DOJ to the WH political office—things like being told the status of the Plame investigation in time to change his story to avoid indictment.

Might be paranoid, but it fits the facts.

or ... what?

The obvious - and I think correct - alternative is: opportunity seized for maximal, awful advantage. That prosecution is an atrocity, and a danger, and the sooner people realize that the better. Don't be distracted by the Shiny AIPAC (who is not really being targeted, quite the contrary).

My point about Elston and McNulty is that I think you've misread the story and in fact Elston's testimony protects McNulty, and is suspicious in that regard. Elston's testimony does not discredit McNulty, because it says that McNulty directed him to call the USAs but not to take a position on their testimony and not to discourage them from testifying. If Elston gives false testimony that McNulty directed him to make the calls at all, and McNulty testifies that in fact he never directed Elston to make the calls, that will serve to undermine Elston's testimony. So I'm presuming Elston wouldn't say 1)McNulty directed me to call but 2)never told me to discourage the USAs from testifying if 1) were not true.

I'm likewise not suggesting McNulty is more central than he was. It's a matter of emphasis. I think he was more involved than the public perception he's managed to foster so far. But I agree he seems not to have been a central player.

Why am I not surprised?

Everyone says well we will supoena the rascals and have them testify before congress or the congressional investigators, and they won't dare not tell the truth under penalty of perjury.

Then these rascals say something you don't want to believe because it doesn't blame Karl Rove, and you don't believe them.

Why am I not surprised?


You're boring, you're ill-informed, and above all you're in over your head. Leave it alone.

Questions for smart people:

1) Among the sworn statements of Sampson, Gonzales, Elston, and McNulty, do we have any contradictions that unequivocally lock down a false statement or perjury charge?

2) Is immunity for Goodling now up in the air again?

3) From an anti-Administration perspective, has a consensus emerged as to whether we think immunity for Goodling is a good thing?

Questions for Jodi:

1) Do you believe that Rove is not behind the politicization of the DOJ for the purposes of skewing elections and shutting down corruption investigations, or do you just believe that he won't get caught?

2) Does your little anti-Bush concern troll schtick not extend to Karl Rove?

Ms. E. Wheel & Mr. Jeff - At the moment I posted up thread that I preferred Mr. Jeff's take on this, I hadn't seen Ms. E. Wheel's that immediately preceeds mine. In the end I don't see a giant chasm betwixt your respective positions on Elston & McNulty.

But the exhange matters much to me, because:

[1] it seems common ground that Elston is a blood relation to the Sampsons & the Goodlings ie. no real evidence they can prosecute above the level of a parking ticket without breaking into a serious case of the sweats or looking inept.

[2] whatever else McNulty may be, he has courtroom cred and enough of a bond with those who put themselves in the line of fire in court that he couldn't even muster the courage to tell the truth to Lam - meaning he shares a human characteristic denied the Living Loyal Bushies: shame.

Obviously the interest of three little bloggers in McNulty doesn't amount to a hill of beans so I'll just state one last time what I've obviously been unable to gather flies on and let it go:

Nothing "useful" in the sense of getting rid of one or more of the only three Enemies of Freedom who need to be taken out of power is going to come of taking testimony from the likes of Sampson, Elston & Goodling - because they are convinced that the Rule of Law is superceded by God's annointment of his Enlightened Leader, be it Moses, Jesus, Falwell or Dubya, so to them answering questions from Dems - or anyone else pre-selected off the Rapture Express - is pretty much the moral equivalent of dealing with rabid mongrel dogs.

But McNulty's has lived among the humans & to my mind everything Congress can do to turn up the spotlight to max on what he knew, and when he knew it in relation to what things he either did or is responsible for authorizing, makes him look increasing like someone capable of responding to the prospect of ostrich instructions.

I also like Ms. Miers in a similar role.

The very thought of that dry drunk punk getting to the end of his second term with pardon power intact sets me off so that I'm getting to the point of neglecting paying customers just to make sure a successful impeachment trial gets on by this fall.

In closing: Ms. E: I think Tenet just moved in front of Toby MaGuire on the talking heads promotion circuit - which of course does a serious disservice to someone who has done so much in the way of advancing the dignity of human beings as Faux Spidey. In the interests of having Tenet confined for life to a bingo hall, when will you give us an opportunity to determine whether Doggie Feith still holds the belt as the DFITW?


I can be scarcastic too, but I don't need to be. Speaking the truth, as well as the obvious, serves me far better. But I guess we all have to play the cards we are dealt. Right Jeff?


good question.

1) I think that Karl Rove, like any politican used to dealing in favors, will try to help those causes and people that he favors. I think that Karl Rove realizes that he is a target and will be very careful not to break the law. In fact as of now at least no criminal wrongdoing has been found in this frantic investigation into the 1 + 7 USAs that were removed.

I also know that all politicans are most interested in stopping the "alleged" voter fraud of the other party.

I would be more impressed with this investigation if somebody claimed a law was broken and gave the statue, the time, the place, and the culprit's name. It just appears to be a wild fishing trip.
I came to this site orignally to investigate the Wilson-Plame-Rove contentions. There was even more noise about Karl Rove in that situation than in this DOJ and email thing. And when the end came, all those wild contentions just dissipated into so many thin wisps of smoke.

2) Karl Rove is just a tool of Bush. But for the Democrats, he has risen to the statue of Pancho Villa or Geronimo. He must be taken at any cost.
I would go further and say that Karl Rove baiting has become a national Democratic and Media sport.


I suggest you wait for Karl's book. It will be more wildy anticipated than Bush's.


The obvious - and I think correct - alternative is: opportunity seized for maximal, awful advantage. That prosecution is an atrocity, and a danger, and the sooner people realize that the better. Don't be distracted by the Shiny AIPAC (who is not really being targeted, quite the contrary).

Please be careful. The means of prosecution are dangerous. But the investigation--and therefore the attempt to prosecute--is not. On the contrary, I rather do think it's important to understand if someone is passing secret documents so another country can influence our policy. There's a reason Franklin was covicted, and it's not because GOnzales doesn't like the free press. Moreover, McNulty's role in it precedes Gonzales'--which was my point--so it's kind of absurd to suggest that McNulty is compromised because he wanted to investigate espionage, which is where your insinuations go. I don't know whether McNulty's pursuit of the case is fair or not (which is different from the danger associated with the free press issues).

As to Elston--My point is this. THere is clear evidence that whatever Elston said he said at the behest (ha!) of Rove. So any attempt to spin it otherwise--and I do believe this is spin on Elston's part--is a deliberate attempt to throw the trail off Rove. In the end, you and I seem to be arguing about whether McNulty did or didn't order Sampson to call the USAs. I'm just suggesting that by testifying in such a way--regardless of whether it is parsed truth designed to misinform--Elston is basically misleading.

Lab Dancer, I am somewhat familiar with Niebuhr, but not sure of the connection you are making here. Not to be dense, but are you suggesting that Comey is looking at this through the lenses of Niebuhr's understanding of human nature? Children of Darkness, Children of Light territory? I have always found one of the biggest flaws in this particular time we find ourselves in to be a true lack of understanding on the part of the American people concerning what humans are capable of in society. While such innocence can be endearing in one way, it makes people far more capable of being manipulated because they refuse to believe the reality around them. So, help me here, what's the connection with Niebuhr?

One thing I was wondering about is if there is witness tampering going on and the COS of the DAG makes the calls. Aren't their legal consequences for both men? In other words, there is no Nuremberg Defense. But maybe Elston has no way of denying the calls because he made so many and the USAs were smart enough to make careful notes following them.

I agree with EW that Rove is issuing the directive, threat making/smearing has been his life's work. But it is hard to prove with what we have now. We need Goodling to spill her guts. We need someone to sit her down and say you can be a true believer in jail for the next 10 years or you can tell the US Congress the truth.

There were changes in intelligence laws during the Plame investigation. They were favorable to Plame. The laws gave more responsability to the AG and AGs regarding intelligence. If the AGs missed their new responsibilities, they probably got a bad review.

The changes were in Section 502, Intelligence Identities Act, and DIA 'informants.' An informant can be anyone, including CIA operations officers. The DoD has now been taken over by the CIA analysts and the laws become more important, especially if Plame was using DoD legislation regarding her ID. CIA has moved into the next logicla place, making the previous actions irrelevent, excepting crminal conspiracy.

EW for AG!!!

"would be more impressed with this investigation if somebody claimed a law was broken and gave the statue, the time, the place, and the culprit's name. It just appears to be a wild fishing trip."

You can catch a lot of BIG wild fish on one of those trips...

Isn't that what a fishing expedition is all about?

And we know the fish are there, we see them every day a new scandal clears up the water, you see they don't have a majority in Congress to muddy up the water so they can't be seen.

One more apologist, tamping down the obvious truth as pure speculation.

Just because they are presumed innocent doesn't mean we don't see thier guilt. This "sand in the eyes" deja-vu is getting a bit old, we can see through it, and the R's have got a mess on their hands, a mix of blood and oil and election fraud, and they are being chased down by the hounds of justice, that no amount of exceuse making and trivializing will assuage.

Have you guys seen this new Newsweek article about Rove's meeting with McNulty



I have a rather long comment here (crossposted at FDL) and I'm not sure if you are going to get to it by Monday, but if you are going to send John Conyers some followup questions for Jim Comey, could you take a look at the list at the end and see if any of them are useful?


Here’s my take on Jim Comey’s testimony yesterday.
First, here is a guy who defends his employees (even to some extent Kevin Ryan). You can’t ask for more from your boss than that.
Second, he made it quite clear that he had no knowledge of Kyle Sampson’s wonderful little “process” to fire some number of US Attorneys, despite the fact that it was Comey’s responsibility as the number two man in the Department to supervise U.S. Attorneys (they reported directly to him) and that he had been completely in the loop (heck, he WAS the loop) in the two previous USA firing cases. So, this fact now in evidence suggests that the decisions on who should be fired came from the White House (so far, all of the top DOJ officials have professed having no knowledge of or input to the list).
Third, this man was clearly torn between the job he loved and the evil he saw (recall the quote). That was honest emotion I saw when Rep. Sanchez read Comey’s email to one of the fired U.S. Attorney.
Fourth, he completely blew away the notion that these firings were related to poor performance, which leaves only one alternative.
Fifth, I was quite happy with the way Rep. Sanchez and her Democratic colleagues handled the hearing. It was not adversarial, as these things often are when witnesses are from the opposition party. If you didn’t know better, you would think Comey was a Democrat. They asked pertinent questions of Comey’s tenure at Justice and staked out the issues nicely. I do wish someone had called bullshit on Cannon’s “this was a good process” crap.
My guess on why Comey left DOJ: here was an honorable man who repeatedly witnessed dishonorable things (NSA Domestic Spying, Plame, torture, etc.) He did what he could do about it (I believe he got Ashcroft to recuse himself on Plame and we know he forced Abu and Card to visit Ashcroft in the hospital on NSA Domestic Spying), including the masterful appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald, and then left. My sense is that he feels he could have done more (I’m guessing that’s the real reason for his tired appearance and emotional reactions). I think he did what he could. I’m grateful for all such public servants who work for us like Jim Comey did. They used to be the norm.

With this in mind, there are a few follow-up questions I would like Congress to ask Jim Comey:

1. Given your experience with the Department and what you know now, do you believe the process used to fire these U.S. Attorneys (including Black in Guam) was a good one?
2. What would be the expected affects on staff morale, recruitment, and reputation for independence of such a process?
3. What would be the expected affects on prosecutions (notably politically sensitive ones) of such a process?
4. Why is the longstanding policy of the independence of U.S. Attorneys important? Same for the notion that U.S. Attorneys must be seen as nonpolitical (or at least neutral)?
5. What was the substance of your conversations with Kyle Sampson earlier this year?
6. Were you aware of the plan to change the language in the Patriot Act to permit the Attorney General to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys for the term of Congress without Senate confirmation? If so, did you advise against it?
7. Were you aware of the plan to partially or fully delegate the authority for hiring and firing of Schedule C and other non-civil service positions in the Department?
8. Are you aware of a delegation of authority for removing U.S. Attorneys from the President to any other official?
9. Why did you resign from the Department?
10. What substantive disagreements did you have with AG Ashcroft and AG Gonzales?
11. Were you ever asked by AG Gonzales to do anything that you considered to be illegal, unethical or would violate the principles of political neutrality of the Department?
12. Is there anything you wish you had been able to do or say while you were Deputy Attorney General but were unable to do so while in office?


franklin wasn't convicted - in a vulnerable, eminently squeezable position, he pled. And it's not an espionage prosecution going on. And the organization is being protected, individuals exposed.

I do think the difference between us on Elston and McNulty is small and shrinking. I simply think McNulty was less out of the loop than he has been suggesting in public. And did you notice the convenient leaks to McClatchy and Isikoff pointing the finger away from McNulty and at Rove just in the wake of Waas' story?

It's number 5 I'm really interested in...

TiredFed--send your list to Leahy as well.

Relprof | May 04, 2007 at 08:53 - Obama.


Yes, there are three leaks from a congressional staffer--at about the same time. Could even be the same congressional staffer trying to push the story in as many ways as he could. They may well be unrelated. But I don't see how the leaks about events that happened some time ago make Elston a reliable narrator.

Furthermore, I simply don't see your point on the AIPAC thing. Are you excusing the trading of defense info? Are you suggesting Franklin didn't do that? Are you suggesting the AIPAC staffers weren't involved? I'm also not clear on how this isn't an espionage investigation, since that statute has been at issue throughout the investigation, and that is the charge on which Franklin was indicted. So are you suggesting that Franklin's trading of defense information was alright? Because otherwise, I don't understand how you get out of the position where the investigation is serious and proper (albeit leaked improperly) and the means of prosecution is dangerous.

Lab Dancer, I'm a big fan of Reinhold Neibuhr's stuff on original sin. Thanks for mentioning him. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with much of his other writing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad