By now we all know of Murray Waas’ block-buster secret memo story.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides — who have since resigned because of their central roles in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys — extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department.
In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, including all of the department’s political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation.
I was thinking about this last night, and I recall that both Kyle Sampson and Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that it was Gonzales who made the final decision on the firing of the eight US Attorneys.
“The decision makers in this case were the attorney general and the counsel to the president.”
“I recall making the decision, I don’t recall when the decision was made.”
If Gonzales signed a secret directive authorizing Sampson to fire political appointees how is it that both Sampson and Gonzales testified that it was Gonzales who pulled the trigger?
Did both men believe that the secret memo transferring Gonzales’ firing authority to Sampson would never be revealed?
Did Gonzales and Sampson perjure themselves when they testified that Gonzales was the one who made the final decision?