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The San Diego Union-Tribune has secured a thirteen-page document in which former U.S. Attorney Carol Lam answers follow up questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lam lost her job after successfully prosecuting Rep. “Duke” Cunningham, now widely viewed as the single most corrupt political figure in the history of the U.S. Congress – and a Republican. Her inquiries also led to the indictment of “Dusty” Foggo, the right-hand man of short-term CIA Director Porter Goss, and of a contractor at the heart of a corruption scandal focusing on the intelligence and defense contracts. Internal email traffic points to her being dismissed for reasons which could “not be discussed” in email – just as her office started an inquiry in corruption surrounding contracts in which the office of Vice President Dick Cheney was involved. It’s abundantly clear at this point that her dismissal was part of a crude effort to shut down an expanding corruption investigation that involved no less than three Republican office holders, and potentially also the White House.
The Union-Tribune describes the brusque manner in which she was dismissed:
A few days after learning last December that she was to submit her resignation effective Jan. 31, Lam asked Michael Battle, then the head of the U.S. attorney executive office, for extra time to ensure “an orderly transition” especially regarding pending investigations and several significant cases that were set to begin trial in the next few months, Lam wrote in her answers.
At the time, Lam was investigating corruption cases stemming from her successful prosecution of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Rancho Santa Fe Republican who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges after admitting to taking more than $2.4 million in bribes. Cunningham was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison. Besides Lam, four other prosecutors were presiding over corruption investigations when they were dismissed. About a month passed when Lam got a call from Michael Elston.. telling her that her request for extra time was “not being received positively” and that she “should stop thinking in terms of the cases in the office.”
“He insisted that I had to depart in a matter of weeks, not months, and that these instructions were ‘coming from the very highest level of the government,’” Lam wrote. To add insult, Battle later accused Lam of prematurely leaking her departure to the press, Lam wrote, then criticized her for speaking with other dismissed U.S. attorneys about their firings.
Elston (who was the chief of staff to Paul J. McNulty, the Deputy Attorney General) apparently called several dismissed U.S. attorneys warning them that bad things would happen if they talked about what was done to them. He counseled them to be silent and to evade Congressional inquiries – upholding the honor code of omertà that is now the hallmark of the Gonzales Justice Department.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”