From Josh Marshall TPM:

Feinstein asks the question everyone’s been wondering about (from the AP)…

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday she wants answers about the departure of the former U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, who resigned last October before the Justice Department’s dismissal of eight other U.S. attorneys sparked controversy.

“I have questions about Debra Yang’s departure and I can’t answer those questions right at this time,” Feinstein, D-Calif. and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in response to a question. “Was she asked to resign, and if so, why? We have to ferret that out.”

Debra Wong Yang went to work for a private law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and has said she left of her own accord.

A Gibson Dunn spokeswoman issued a statement on Yang’s behalf Tuesday night. “Debra Wong Yang’s decision to leave her post as U.S. attorney to pursue a private practice was entirely her own, and she had many options to choose from. We are delighted that she chose Gibson Dunn,” it said.

You’ll remember that the Duke Cunningham investigation spread out in several directions. One was into the CIA. Another was on to Capitol Hill. The big fish there was Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), then Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The Lam investigation in San Diego sparked the Lewis investigation. But the Lewis investigation itself was and is being run out of the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. And that brings us to Debra Yang.

And from The Hill:

…Gutierrez and Abramoff had discussed removing Black from his position, “need[ing] to get this guy sniped out of there,” according to one of the lobbyist’s e-mails. Black had already indicted several members of Gutierrez’s administration and was starting to look at Abramoff.

Black’s case may get another look from Congress. Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) wrote to both the Senate and House judiciary committees last week, asking them to add Black’s demotion to their broader investigation of the U.S. attorney scandal.

In a statement made to The Hill, Miller repeated his calls for another investigation.

“The letter from Fred Black is another good example of why it’s necessary to re-open the investigation into Black’s demotion and to closely examine whether Abramoff or anyone working with him tampered with anti-corruption efforts in the U.S. attorney’s office,” he said.

“This letter is indicative of Fred Black’s perspective, which leads one to wonder why the Justice Department removed him, when he seems to be doing his job,” said Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D) in a statement…



>points< from today’s NYT Editorial:

> Harriet Miers, the White House counsel whom Mr. Bush tried to elevate to the Supreme Court, originally wanted to replace all 93 attorneys with Republican appointees.<

[altho it is said that Clinton and others did this? Not so fast…But in an e-mail to Harriet Miers on Jan. 9, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson (who resigned yesterday) admitted that the Clinton administration never purged its U.S. attorneys in the middle of their terms, explicitly stating, “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision” ]

>Congress should broaden the investigation to determine whether any other prosecutors were forced out for not caving in to political pressure — or kept on because they did. <

>If that sounds cynical, it is. It is also an accurate summary of the governing philosophy of this administration: What’s the point of having power if you don’t use it to get more power?<

Politics, Pure and Cynical  (snips)

 Time and again, President Bush and his team have assured Americans that they needed new powers to prevent another attack by an implacable enemy. Time and again, Americans have discovered that these powers were not being used to make them safer, but in the service of Vice President Dick Cheney’s vision of a presidency so powerful that Congress and the courts are irrelevant, or Karl Rove’s fantasy of a permanent Republican majority.

 In firing the prosecutors and replacing them without Senate approval, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took advantage of a little-noticed provision that the administration and its Republican enablers in Congress had slipped into the 2006 expansion of the Patriot Act. The ostensible purpose was to allow the swift interim replacement of a United States attorney who was, for instance, killed by terrorism.

 Among the documents is e-mail sent to Ms. Miers by Kyle Sampson, Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff, ranking United States attorneys on factors like “exhibited loyalty.” Small wonder, then that United States Attorney *Carol Lam of San Diego was fired. She had put one Republican congressman, Duke Cunningham, in jail and had opened an inquiry that put others at risk, along with party donors.

…about this Dept. of Justice? Those in favor of Lam writing a tell-all, say aye.


got ice?

In Jan. 2006, Walter Reed finalized a five-year, $120-million “cost-plus” contract to IAP Worldwide Services for hospital support services, including facilities management.

Letter March 2, 2007/ Committee on Oversight & Gov’t Reform, (pdf) to:

Major General George W. Weightman
Commander (former)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Building 1, The Command Suite
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307


We have learned that in January 2006, Walter Reed awarded a five-year, $120 million dollar contract to a company called IAP Worldwide Services, including facilities management. IAP is one of the companies that experienced problems delivering ice during the response to Hurricane Katrina. The company is led by Al Neffgren, a former senior Halliburton official who testified before our Committee in July 2004 in defense of Halliburton’s exorbitant charges for fuel delivery and troop support in Iraq.


It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers.  (Henry Waxman, committee chair)

(note: I’m attributing that quote to Champ-Waxman altho committee members may have co-authored the letter)

…I thought the ‘Champ’s’ hearings went well this a.m.

Aside: in ‘defense of small-bidness-contracts’ (pun intended), about IAP: Defining Small

and speaking of Quayle…

“I should have caught the mistake on that spelling bee card. But as Mark Twain once said, You should never trust a man who has only one way to spell a word.” — Vice President Dan Quayle,

(OK, I gotta ask, did ‘you-say-potato-i-say-potatoe’ mis-quote Andrew Jackson, for Mark Twain? )