Sunday, March 18, 2007

McClatchy: San Diego Prosecutor Firing Connected To CIA Probe

Via Atrios, McClatchy reports how the timing of San Diego Prosecutor Carol Lam's firing was just a little too convenient for an administration that might have wanted to put an end to an investigation into defense contracting corruption involving the CIA and high-ranking Republicans:

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said the timing of the e-mail suggested that Lam's dismissal may have been connected to the corruption probe.


"There were clearly U.S. attorneys that were thorns in the side for one reason or another of the Justice Department," Feinstein said. "The attorney general has said he did not know what was going on ... that is very difficult for me to believe."

Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA.

On May 11, 2006, Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales' chief of staff, sent an e-mail to deputy White House counsel William Kelley, asking Kelley to call to discuss "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

The e-mail did not spell out what the "real problem" was, and it was unclear whether Kelley and Sampson talked later.

Until now, lawmakers have focused on two of Lam's other inquiries into Republicans as possible ways in which she may have chafed the administration.

Lam oversaw the investigation that led to the corruption conviction of then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who pleaded guilty in late 2005 to accepting $2.4 million in bribes. He was sentenced in March 2006 to eight years and four months in prison.

On the same day last year as the Sampson e-mail, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Cunningham probe was being expanded to look at the actions of another California Republican, then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis.

Feinstein did not say how she learned that Lam had notified the Justice Department about her plans to serve search warrants on Foggo, who on May 8 had resigned as the executive director of the CIA. FBI agents seized records from Foggo's CIA offices and his suburban Vienna, Va., home on May 12.

Who Lam notified about her plans was unknown. Ordinarily, information about search warrants in high-profile cases would be passed to the U.S. attorney executive office in Washington. At the time, that office was headed by Michael Battle. Battle, who notified the dismissed U.S. attorneys they were being replaced in December, resigned March 5.

Something's really, really smelly about the Lam firing. If Dems and honest Republicans keeping digging into this, it looks like they are going to find that the administration fired Lam to cut off her investigations of Republicans and administration figures.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?