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General News    H1'ed 7/26/10

Case Closed on the U.S. Attorney Firings? DOJ's Political 'Purge' and Torture Probers Suppressed Evidence In Crime Case

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Iglesias, a Bush appointee whose 2008 book In Justice had a chapter entitled, "All Roads Lead to Rove," wrote me last year that he largely wants to put his ordeal behind him. Now returned to his original field of working in military justice, he told investigative reporter Jason Leopold this week:

I'm glad the matter is finally over. I'm gratified the Justice Department took the matter seriously enough to appoint an experienced corruption prosecutor to investigate. I will not second-guess her findings. I hope this scandal prevents future administrations and political leaders from attempting to politicize U.S. Attorneys.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers issued this comment:

It is clear that Ms. Dannehy's determination is not an exoneration of Bush officials in the U.S. attorney matter as there is no dispute that these firings were totally improper and that misleading testimony was given to Congress in an effort to cover them up.

One such official, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, who was forced out over the scandal, commented to CNN, "I feel angry that I had to go through this. That my family had to suffer through and what for?"

But several close observers of the case cried cover-up.

Human rights attorney and Harper's blogger columnist Scott Horton wrote, in a post titled, "Another Audacious Whitewash at DOJ":

Rather than look at the entire U.S. attorneys scandal, Dannehy settled on a probe of a single case: that involving New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. This is the one case in which the available evidence showed that the decision was taken by President Bush himself, in the White House".

The probe should have examined the entire pattern of terminations as a common scheme and taken it as a basis for action. Instead, other related cases were as I am informed by persons involved in them shunted off to the Justice Department's "roach motel," the Office of Professional Responsibility, where they will likely languish without any serious investigation, much less any action.

Nora Dannehy's decision to take no action, coupled with all the lame rationalizations of inaction that preceded it, is another self-administered bullet wound to the integrity of the Justice Department...How can a Justice Department hold its own personnel to a lower standard under the law than they hold other public officials? This is a formula for disaster.

Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen repeated in a subscription-only post his 2009 report that Dannehy and her family have benefited from career-building decision-making that sometimes conflicts with her "tough" reputation. In charting the Dannehy family's career progressions during the past decade, Madsen cited, for example, her husband's appointment in 2007 to become director of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center.

In addition, Alabama legal affairs blogger Roger Shuler, who has closely documented what he has described as political prosecutions in the Deep South, published "Shirley Sherrod Is Not the Only One Who Has Been "Put Through Hell.'" The article compared the plight of Alabama DOJ whistleblower Tamarah Grimes to that of Sherrod, the Georgia employee of U.S. Department of Agriculture who was fired after false accusations were made against her this month.

Grimes was fired in June 2009 from her job as a paralegal in the Middle District of Alabama, eight days after writing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlining misconduct in the prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman. Grimes remains without a job and says she has faced significant financial and emotional stress".Tamarah Grimes has an important message for the Obama administration. It did, to its credit, try to get things right in the Shirley Sherrod matter. But its double standard on matters of "injustice" is glaring.

My Justice Integrity Project published a profile of Grimes that includes background on her and DOJ's reaction, which is to deny all of her allegations of government misconduct. DOJ also claimed that she was fired for once saying she had taped evidence of wrongdoing in the office. Grimes, below, denied describing or making any tapes.


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A Republican, Grimes has told me that she has wanted to testify to Congress or any other official body about the vast waste and unfairness she witnessed, including by the Bush political holdover Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary.

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Andrew Kreig is an investigative reporter, attorney, author, business strategist, radio host, and longtime non-profit executive based in Washington, DC. His most recent book is "Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters," the (more...)
 

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