McClatchy: U.S. Attorney Fired Due to Corruption Probe?

By: E&P Staff

The Washington bureau for McClatchy Newspapers have produced one scoop after another in the burgeoning scandal involving the recent firing of at least eight U.S. attorneys.
Reporters Marisa Taylor and Margaret Talev returned to the story today, writing that fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam “notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

“Feinstein (D-Ca.) said the timing of the e-mail suggested that Lam’s dismissal may have been connected to the corruption probe.

“Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse denied in an e-mail that there was any link. ‘We have stated numerous times that no U.S. attorney was removed to retaliate against or inappropriately interfere with any public corruption investigation or prosecution,’ he wrote. ‘This remains the case and there is no evidence that indicates otherwise.’

“But the revelation is sure to heighten demands in Congress for a full investigation into whether something other than job performance was behind the Justice Department’s dismissals late last year of eight U.S. attorneys, including Lam.

“On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he intends to force President Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify and will insist that the testimony be under oath. Leahy, who appeared on ABC’s This Week, said he is ‘sick and tired’ of the administration’s changing rationale for the firings.

“Justice Department officials originally told Congress that the U.S. attorneys had been dismissed for poor performance. But since it’s become known that most of the attorneys received positive job evaluations.”

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