The Fired Attorneys, Patriot Act And Appointment Powers

So exactly WHY were Republicans working as U.S. attorneys fired? There’s a ton of speculation so far but nothing that has been universally accepted or completely confirmed — just lots of tantalizing tidbits that, if pieced together, suggest there was more there than meets the eye or emerges from official spinmasters’ lips.

For those both pondering this controversy and truly seeking answers (versus finding things to support any political position), there are two MUST-READ posts that would benefit readers, weblog writers and the mainstream media.

First, political scientist Steven Taylor does a bit of investigative work:

From the beginning, one of the things that has been a huge red flag in this whole affair is the fact that the 2006 reauthorization of the Patriot Act (signed by the President on 3/9/06) contained a change in the way that US Attorneys were to be replaced. Under the pre-2006 system, the AG appointed an interim and if the Senate had not confirmed a permanent replacement after 120, the courts named an new interim. Under the 2005 Patriot Act reauthorization, the AG can name an interim for an indefinite amount of time, essentially removing Senate confirmation from the process. It is that new process that was used to replace the recently fired USAs.

One of the many questions that abound is how did this item get into the reauthorization of the Patriot Act?

READ IT IN FULL because Taylor goes through emails (and reproduces them for readers) and it’s interesting what he comes up with.

Meanwhile, The Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, Kevin Drum offers a tantalizing summary:

Is there, as Alberto Gonzales insists, a perfectly reasonable explanation for Purgegate? I guess there might be, but there are sure an awful lot of reasons to be skeptical….Put them all together, though, and you have to be a real dead-end loyalist to believe there’s nothing fishy going on. Throw in #9 and even the dead-enders ought to be scratching their chins.

Read Drum’s entire list. And all but people who feel they must defend the administration no matter what will read it and conclude: it truly smells.