Tuesday, September 30, 2008
To DOJ's credit, they have released the Report of "An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006." Additionally to DOJ's credit they have authorized that there be an investigation into the conduct outlined in the report, as opposed to sweeping it under the rug. And to their credit, DOJ did appoint an individual who is presently not in a "political" position to handle this investigation. (see here) But it still comes back to why is DOJ not willing to appoint someone who is outside the department - someone independent - to conduct this investigation. And more importantly, what kind of appointment does Acting US Attorney Nora Dannehy have in handling this case? Attorney General Mukasey says -
"Therefore, I have asked Nora Dannehy to exercise the authority of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for purposes of this matter. In that capacity, Ms. Dannehy will report to me through the Deputy Attorney General." (see here)
It does not appear to be an appointment of a special counsel as was done when Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to "exercise that authority as Special Counsel independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department." (see appointment of J. Patrick Fitzgerald here).
The report is a long report - 392 pages- and the authors deserve enormous praise for providing transparency to a sad situation. It was especially sad to see that they were not receiving information needed to fully evaluate the situation. They state, "[t]he White House Counsel’s Office eventually provided to us a heavily redacted version of the document, but the redactions made the document virtually worthless as an investigative tool." - But one also has to ask, isn't this what DOJ does all the time to defense counsel?