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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Purge and Surge

“Karl Rove participated in a discussion about the firing of U.S. attorneys in 2005, asking White House lawyers ‘how we planned to proceed’ on the issue and whether the prosecutors would be selectively dismissed or fired en masse, according to newly disclosed White House e-mails.
The e-mails, obtained by NEWSWEEK, appear to show that Rove had a greater level of involvement in the dismissal of the prosecutors than the White House has previously acknowledged. The messages may also raise new questions for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. While the attorney general insisted to reporters this week that he had rejected ‘a request from the White House’ to fire all U.S. attorneys two years ago, the new e-mails show the plan was conceived while Gonzales himself was the White House counsel.”
-Newsweek, March 15, 2007

“He not only claimed that he rejected the idea to purge all the attorneys, he also claimed that it had originated with Harriet Miers after Gonzales became Attorney General.”

“New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House. The e-mails also show Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel — weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.
Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Tuesday that Miers had suggesting firing all 93 and that it was ‘her idea only.’ Snow said Miers' idea was quickly rejected by the Department of Justice.”
-ABC News, March 15, 2007

“Unfortunately it seems fairly clear that the idea originated in the White House while he was still there. Still, there is nothing illegal about replacing the prosecutors. Frequently administrations will replace them due to performance issues, and Gonzales promised that it wasn’t political.”

"’I would never, ever make a change in the United States attorney position for political reasons,’ Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in Senate testimony in early January. In a Feb. 6 hearing, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told lawmakers, ‘When I hear you talk about the politicizing of the Department of Justice, it's like a knife in my heart.’"
-Salon, February 28, 2007

“Later that day, Leitch forwards the message to Kyle Sampson, an aide at the Justice Department, saying ‘let's discuss.’ On Jan. 9, Sampson replied that ‘Judge’ (a reference to Gonzales, formerly a justice on the Texas Supreme Court) ‘and I discussed briefly a couple of weeks ago’. Sampson went on to offer his ‘thoughts,’ which included this plan: ‘As an operational matter, we would like to replace 15-20 percent of the current U.S. attorneys--the underperforming ones. This is a rough guess; we might want to consider doing performance evaluations after Judge comes on board’--an apparent reference to Gonzales being confirmed as attorney general in February 2005 and taking over the Justice Department—‘The vast majority of U.S. attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc., etc.’
Sampson also warned that the firing of U.S. attorneys could create political problems because it would generate resistance from ‘home state senators’ who had recommended the prosecutors. ‘That said, if Karl thinks there will be political will to do it, then so do I.’”
-Newsweek, March 15, 2007

“No, nothing political at all. As I said, the reason that this is a scandal is not that it is illegal. The scandal is that they have lied about it and tried to game the system. Usually prosecutors are put in place with Congressional review, but, thanks to the Patriot Act, in this case the Administration was able to avoid that step and simply put in their hand-picked people without review. I wonder how that happened?”

"Today's resignation by his chief of staff does not take the heat off the attorney general. It raises it," Schumer said. ‘Kyle Sampson will not become the next Scooter Libby, the next fall guy.’
Libby is Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, convicted of misleading the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of a CIA agent.
And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said senators plan to look into how language ended up in the Patriot Act that allowed the Attorney General to replace the federal prosecutors.
The provision was added to the Patriot Act renewal while staffers were working out differences in the versions of the bills that had passed the House and the Senate. Brett Tolman, now the U.S. Attorney for Utah, was then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter's staffer handling the issue and added it at the request of the Justice Department, Specter said at a hearing last month.”
-Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2007

“Hey look! That’s odd… The staffer who slipped that language in about replacing prosecutors is now the U.S. Attorney for Utah. Strange how that works.
How is the other scandal in Washington doing? How is the surge progressing?””

“The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, on top of five already on the way, as part of the controversial ‘surge’ of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said today. The appeal -- not yet made public -- by Gen. David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces so far to close to 30,000 troops.

News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.
‘This is the next shoe to drop,’ said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning. ‘But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units.’"
-Boston Globe, March 15, 2007

“So the surge in Iraq alone is up about 7,500 past what Fearless Leader originally proposed. Let me know when we hit the congressional numbers..”

“Over the past few years , DoD’s practice has been to deploy a total of about 9,500 personnel per combat brigade to the Iraq theater, including about 4,000 combat troops and about 5,500 supporting troops.
DoD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved. Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate. CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.
To reflect some of the uncertainty about the number of support troops, CBO developed its estimates on the basis of two alternative assumptions. In one scenario, CBO assumed that additional support troops would be deployed in the same proportion to combat troops that currently exists in Iraq. That approach would require about 28,000 support troops in addition to the 20,000 combat troops—a total of 48,000. CBO also presents an alternative scenario that would include a smaller number of support personnel—about 3,000 per combat brigade—totaling about 15,000 support personnel and bringing the total additional forces to about 35,000.”
-Congressional Budget Office Report, February 1, 2007


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