Prosecutor Purge Roundup

Back when Josh first started covering the Gonzales Prosecutor Purge, there was a story wherein the FBI agent in command of the San Diego field office told the paper that he was sure the firing of his local prosecutor - Lam - would jeopardize ongoing GOP corruption investigations and that politics was definitely involved. After that way-too-candid interview, his DC keepers shut him up.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent was warned to keep quiet about the dismissal of a U.S. attorney after he told a newspaper her firing would hurt the agency's ongoing investigations and speculated politics was involved, a U.S. Senate panel heard on Tuesday.

FBI Director Robert Mueller defended the handling of the incident, saying: "I do not believe it's appropriate for our special agents in charge to comment to the media on personnel decisions that are made by the Department of Justice."

"I profoundly disagree," replied Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, who told the panel of the warning to the agent. "He (the agent) was simply saying that it would affect cases that were ongoing. And I think he's entitled to his opinion."

This, alone, would be bad. But we've had dramatic further developments over the recent days. Gonzales had to "clarify" his remarks about not being involved in deliberations. For those of us who are not politicians, "clarifying" your remarks in this context means "changing what I said so you don't think I intentionally lied to you." Instead of "not being involved in deliberations," he went to at least one 60 minute meeting to "sign off on the final list" of people chosen to be fired. Are we to believe that he signed off on the list and then sat around for the next 59 minutes? He is a lawyer, I guess, so he could bill by the full hour. Or, are we to believe that during this hour long meeting he signed off on the list without any discussion of the reason for their dismissals? The fact is that this is a documented lie from our chief law enforcement officer - a seeming contradiction in terms, but par for the course in this administration. Oaths be damned.

They are using the power of the law to pummell the opposition party, trying to cement one party rule so as to be unchecked and uncheckable. I believe that as we investigate, we will find an ever expanding network of this type of behavior - it seems to motivate everything. For instance, we have the statement from John DiIulio, the former White House head of faith-based policy, to Suskind:

There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. ... I heard many, many staff discussions but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues.

I am convinced we will continue to find that the entire monolith of the federal government has been turned into an extension of the GOP, transforming us into a country with an Official Party. That's no longer a democracy ladies and gentlemen. Always remember, you can lose the Republic on the installment plan as easily as in a coup d'etat.

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