Bush sackings deemed 'improper'

A senate chairman has called the sacking of eight US prosecutors last year over a "lack of support" for the policies of George Bush, the US president, "improper".

Bush sackings deemed 'improper'

Patrick Leahy, the US judiciary committee chairman,said: "Any such mixing of partisanship and federal law enforcement isimproper."



"It corrodes the public's trust in our system ofjustice," Leahy said during the hearing that featured the sworn testimonyof Kyle Sampson, who quit the justice department.

Sampson maintained that federal prosecutors should be judgedon their fidelity to administration policy.



He denied Democratic accusations that the removalof the lawyers was a purge by intimidation and a warning to remainingprosecutors to fall in line in supporting the Bush administration's agenda.

He also denied that the prosecutors were dismissed becauseof interference with corruption investigations.

Sampson said before the senate judiciary committee: "Tomy knowledge, nothing of the sort occurred here."

'Unsuccessful' lawyers

Sampson said the statement of Alberto Gonzales, the attorneygeneral, which said that he was not involved in discussions about thefsacking of the eight USprosecutors, was false.

"I don't think the attorney general's statement that hewas not involved in any discussions of US attorney removals was accurate,"he said.

"I remember discussing with him this process of askingcertain USattorneys to resign."

Sampson pointed out that prosecutors serve at thepresident's will and that it is legitimate to judge them on whether they pursueor resist administration policy.

"The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related'reasons for removing a USattorney is, in my view, largely artificial," he said.

"A USattorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective ... isunsuccessful."

'Inaccurate information'

The justice department admitted on Wednesday that it gavesenators inaccurate information about the firings and role of Karl Rove,the presidential political adviser, in trying to secure a US attorney's post in the state of Arkansas for one of hisformer aides, Tim Griffin.

Justice officials acknowledged that a February 23 letter tofour Democratic senators made an error in asserting that the department was notaware of any role that Rove played in the decision to appoint Griffin.

Richard Hertling, acting assistant attorney general, saidthat certain statements in last month's letter to Democratic politiciansappeared to be "contradicted by department documents included in ourproduction".

Sampson acknowledged planning the firings as much as twoyears ago with the judgement of a number of senior justice departmentofficials.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16