by S-Q @ 1:53 PM MDT
Calling Mr. Alberto Gonzales
© 2007 Stephen Pitt
The pattern from Bush's second term suggests that the dismissals were half of a two-pronged approach: While getting rid of prosecutors who did not adhere closely to administration priorities, such as rigorous pursuit of immigration violations and GOP allegations of voter fraud, White House and Justice officials have seeded federal prosecutors' offices with people on whom they can depend to carry out the administration's agenda.
Justice officials defend their record of U.S. attorney selections, saying that among Bush's choices since the start of his first term, a larger share have had experience as federal prosecutors than those of President Bill Clinton. One Justice official acknowledged that a number of administration insiders have been chosen but said there was no concerted effort to do so.
"If we have eight U.S. attorneys dismissed because they were not 'loyal Bushies,' then how many of the remaining U.S. attorneys are?" asked Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), borrowing a phrase that Gonzales's former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, used in an internal e-mail to describe criteria by which prosecutors were chosen to be fired.