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Resignation Friday

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It’s after five p.m. on Friday, and the question is therefore: What compromised senior official of the Department of Justice will resign today? The resignations are always put out at exactly this time in order to minimize public attention. Afterall, if you’re at the Gonzales Justice Department and are reading the newpapers, you know it’s a great time not to have your name appear in the press in any connection with the Justice Department. And to be fair, not all the people who are leaving are compromised. Some just want out. Who could blame them?

And the answer is: Rachel Brand, the head of the Office of Legal Policy. Gonzales delivers a fitting salute to her today, saying she has “passion for the issues” she worked on for him. Not clear exactly what specific issues he had in mind, but it certainly includes “war on terror” issues, including bolstering Gonzales’s firm support for the Guantánamo detention camps and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” there. Her predecessor in that position, Viet Dinh, is now publicly stating that the policies he helped to form were a “clear mistake.” But Ms. Brand charged ahead with gusto.

Does Ms. Brand’s name figure in connection with the U.S. attorneys scandal? Yes. Associated Press explains:

Brand was a member of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ leadership team. When officials were planning to fire U.S. attorneys in San Diego, San Francisco, Michigan and Arkansas, Brand was named as a possible replacement for Margaret Chiari in Michigan, according to documents released as part of a congressional inquiry.

The firings have led to congressional investigations, an internal Justice Department probe and calls from Capitol Hill for the resignation of Gonzales.

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