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Archive for the ‘Department of Justice’ Category

That’s the gist of a letter sent anonymously by a group of concerned DoJ employees to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The original letter in pdf form is here. Here’s the key passages to me (bold emphasis is my own):

After choosing potential candidatest to interview the division personnell forwarded their lists to the Office of Attorney Recruitment Management for what was traditionally final approval. This is no longer a final step, however, because the list had to go higher–to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. When the list of potential interviewees was returned this year, it had been cut dramatically. (For example, many sections were left with fewer potential interviewees than vacant slots to fill; one section was not permitted to interview any of its choices for the Summer Law Intern Program.)

Needless to say, many people were upset and confused Why had so many potential interviewees been removed from the list? Top supervisors requested answers, and on December 5 a meeting was held with Michael Ellston, Chief of Staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. Many division attorneys and staff were present, and Mr. Ellston was offensive to the point of insulting. Claiming that the entire group had not “don their jobs” in reviewing applicants, he said that he had a “screening panel” go over the list and research these candidates on the Internet; he refused to give the names of those on his “panel.” Mr. Ellston said that people were struck from the list for three reasons: grades, spelling errors on applications, and inappropriate information about them on the Internet. When the meeting attendees protested that these interviewees had excellent grades, Mr. Ellston replied that a Harvard graduate in the bottom half of the class was more desirable than the top students at second-tier law schools. Althogh Mr. Ellston stated that he would entertain appeals to his decisions, few of these appeals were granted.

When division personnel staff later compared the remaining interviewees with the candidates struck from the list, one common denominator appeared repeatedly: most of those struck from the list had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a “liberal” cause, or otherwise appeared to have “liberal” leanings. Summa cum laude graduates of both Yale and Harvard were rejected for interviews

If Bush and Cheney are not eventually impeached over this, I have serious doubts about the viability of our democracy. This is nothing short of a coup.

More on this at The Gavel, Pelosi’s blog.

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and that word is fascism (Via TPMMuckraker):

Over the past six years, the Bush administration has aggressively reshaped the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Many career analysts and attorneys have either been transferred or driven out; their replacements are long on conservative credentials and short on civil rights experience.

According to Moore, his supervisor and the political appointees in the section consistently criticized his work because it didn’t jibe with their pre-drawn conclusions. That was bad enough, he said, but the real trouble came after he and three colleagues recommended opposing a Georgia voter I.D. law pushed by Republicans. After the recommendation, which clashed with the views of Moore’s superiors, they reprimanded him for not adequately analyzing the evidence and accused him of mistreating his Republican colleague, with whom he’d had frequent disagreements. But it got worse. Moore said that his Republican superiors even monitored his emails, eventually filing a complaint against him with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility for allegedly disclosing privileged information in one email (he was cleared of wrongdoing). Fed up, and worried that it was too dangerous to his professional future to remain there, he left.

Moore said that his experience was similar to others in the section who’d disagreed with conservative attorneys working at the Justice Department. Over the following year, all three of Moore’s colleagues who’d joined him in opposing the law either left or were transferred out of the section. The senior member of the team, Robert Berman, the deputy chief of the section and a 28-year veteran of the Civil Rights Division, was transferred to the Office of Professional Development — what Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has called “a dead-end job.”

You have to read the whole thing to fully grasp just how fucked up the DoJ is due to Bush’s installation of brainless loyalists. How is this not simply a coup at this point? They’ve infected the government with career yes-men & women, used their craven loyalty to subvert the will of the American people (that pesky thing called democracy), and are willfully disobeying the law!

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If there’s one thing I hate about the US Attorney purge scandal, it’s that the facts are so transparently chilling that there’s no need for commentary. I’ve been living in a world of blockquotes since the fucking thing broke. Here’s the latest bombshell via NPR

NPR now has new information about that plan. According to someone who’s had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical.

The Justice Department documents released today include a spreadsheet ranking all 93 prosecutors. The chart ranks them on whether they have Hill experience, campaign experience, and — in the last column — whether they’re members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

I guess there’s a bit of poetic justice in the possibility that Rove was probably right about the fact that it would’ve been a bit less suspicious to fire all 93. Of course coming up with all those replacements would’ve been hard work and we all know how much George “The Greatest Fuckup in US History” Bush hates that.

And let me just add for the record that the Republican party, especially the neoconservatives, own GW. He has been their sole propagandist icon of authoritarian political fealty. He is the one they were sure would sweep in all the sheepish of our flock and eventually purge the nation of the scourge of liberals and progressives. They were the boosters that got him elected, kept him from media and Congressional oversight thru intellectual dishonesty, schmoozing, bullying, and I would bet a couple of blackmail incidents. I know no one of consequence is reading this goddamned blog, but even if you stumbled across this site looking to vent your hatred of Tim and Eric, please–for the love of God–do something to make sure that everyone you know, including yourself, is fully aware of what a terrifying precipice this country is teetering on.

I’ll conclude with some of Bill Maher’s latest rant via Salon:

It turns out that the Justice Department is entirely staffed with Jesus freaks from a televangelist diploma mill in Virginia Beach. Most of them young women with very little knowledge of the law, but a very strong sense of doing what they’re told. Like the Manson family, but with cleaner hair. In 200 years we’ve gone from “We the people” to “Up with people.” From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And, come on, America is a big, well-known, first-rate country, and when we’re looking for people to help run it, we should aim higher than the girl who answers the phone at the fake abortion clinic. It’s not just that this president has surrounded himself with a Texas echo chamber of war criminals and religious fanatics. It’s that they’re sooooo mediocre. This is America. We should be getting robbed and fucked over by the best.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked at a hearing, “Should we be concerned with the experience level of the people who are making these highly significant decisions?” But in the Bush administration experience doesn’t matter. All that matters is loyalty to Bush and Jesus, in that order. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George W. Bush than Pat Robertson’s law school. The problem here in America isn’t that the country is being run by elites. It’s that it’s being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling just hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.

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Considering what we now know about the Bush administration’s tentacles extending into the DoJ, the fact that they used the USA PATRIOT act to do so–an act which seeks to curtail a number of longstanding rules protecting privacy from government intrusion, this article from the Boston Globe is quite chilling, especially considering that this was reported last year:

The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds. . . .

For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.

Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.

For more shit that ought to be curling up hairs on the back of your neck, check out this TPM entry.

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