Today's Article
Did the Bush
Administration
threaten 'retaliation'
if any of the fired
U.S. attorneys
spoke out?
The American Spark
Congress Releases U.S. Attorney E-Mail On Possible Justice
Department 'Retaliation'

By Cliff Montgomery - Mar. 14th, 2007

The recent Washington beltway fallout over the Bush Administration's firing of 8 U.S. attorneys--even
though most had apparently received glowing job evaluations--is becoming more and more of an embarrassment
to the Bush boys.

And no wonder. Just as the
Senate ethics committee began a preliminary inquiry into a questionable
communication by Senator
Pete Domenici (R-NM) to former federal prosecutor David Iglesias to complain
about the pace of his public corruption investigations, Rep.
Heather Wilson (R-NM) acknowledged that she also
had contacted Iglesias about the matter.

If that sounds improper but possibly benign to you, perhaps you should get an added perspective from this
Washington Post quote:

"Wilson denied allegations from former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias that she pressured him to
speed up a political corruption investigation involving
Democrats in the waning days of her tight election
campaign last fall."

The telephone calls to Iglesias by the two Republican lawmakers appear to be a breach of congressional ethics
rules, which bar contacts with federal agency officials during most active investigations.

A change in law does allow Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales to appoint "interim prosecutors" for an indefinite
period of time; but Democrats counter they believe many, if not most, of the prosecutors were fired for refusing to
play
Republican power politics.

On March 6th, 2007, the
Senate Judiciary Committee released the text of a February email written by one of
the eight prosecutors. Former U.S. attorney
Bud Cummins--who resigned in December and was replaced by
Karl Rove assistant Timothy Griffin--sent this Feb. 20th email to five other fired U.S. attorneys after receiving a
phone call from the Justice Department following comments he made to The
Post for an article printed on Feb.
18th. The paper quoted him as saying:

"They're entitled to make these changes for any reason or no reason or even for an idiotic reason. But if they are
trying to suggest that people have inferior performance to hide whatever their true agenda is, that is wrong. They
should retract those statements."

We print the text of Cummins' email below:

From: H.E. Cummins

Sent: Tue 2/20/2007 5:06 PM

To:
Dan Bogden; Paul K. Charlton; David Iglesias; Carol Lam; McKay, John (Law Adjunct)

Subject: on another note

Mike Elston from the DAG's (Deputy Attorney General's) office called me today. The call was amiable
enough, but clearly spurred by the Sunday Post article. The essence of his message was that they feel like
they are taking unnecessary flak to avoid trashing each of us specifically or further, but if they feel like any of
us intend to continue to offer quotes to the press, or organize behind the scenes congressional pressure, then
they would feel forced to somehow pull their gloves off and offer public criticisms to defend their actions more
fully. I can't offer any specific quotes, but that was clearly the message. I was tempted to challenge him and
say something movie-like such as "are you threatening ME???", but instead I kind of shrugged it off and said I
didn't sense that anyone was intending to perpetuate this. He mentioned my quote on Sunday and I didn't
apologize for it, told him it was true and that everyone involved should agree with the truth of my statement,
and pointed out to him that I stopped short of calling them liars and merely said that IF they were doing as
alleged they should retract. I also made it a point to tell him that all of us have turned down multiple invitations
to testify. He reacted quite a bit to the idea of anyone voluntarily testifying and it seemed clear that they would
see that as a major escalation of the conflict meriting some kind of unspecified form of retaliation.

I don't personally see this as any big deal and it sounded like the threat of retaliation amounts to a threat that
they would make their recent behind doors senate presentation public. I didn't tell him that I had heard about
the details in that presentation and found it to be a pretty weak threat since everyone that heard it apparently
thought it was weak.

I don't want to stir you up conflict or overstate the threatening undercurrent in the call, but the message was
clearly there and you should be aware before you speak to the press again if you choose to do that. I don't feel
like I am betraying him by reporting this to you because I think that is probably what he wanted me to do. Of
course, I would appreciate maximum opsec (operational security) regarding this email and ask that you not
forward it or let others read it.

Bud