The Strange Case of the Fired US Attorneys - Seattle's John McKay among them - has been officially closed by the Justice Department with a finding of political but no criminal violations. The Bush administration broke only the laws of decency and fairness by manipulating the justice system, it seems, dismissing McKay and eight other USA's in 2006 for refusing to become partisan hack prosecutors. McKay is teaching law at a study-abroad program this week at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and couldn't be reached for reaction. But he'd likely agree with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, who said the probe was no exoneration of the Bush meddlers:
While the Department has decided not to prosecute those responsible for the false testimony given to the Judiciary Committees in this case, I agree entirely with the Department [of Justice's] broader conclusion on this matter: "[T]he actions of [Bush's] DOJ leadership were contrary to DOJ principles' and reflect 'undue sensitivity to politics on the part of DOJ officials who should answer not to partisan politics but to principles of fairness and justice."
McKay, who had remained silent after his firing, later took the gloves off against Bush. As the Weekly reported in 2008, McKay called former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a "liar" with "sinister" motives, and said other Justice and White House officials perjured themselves in Senate hearings as part of a possible criminal conspiracy.
Though Gonzales' intent was damage control, McKay said in an article for Seattle University Law Review, the AG ironically "managed to drive the fired U.S. attorneys together and convince them that he was hiding a sinister purpose in their dismissals and lying to the Senate to cover it up."
On the heels of an inspector general's findings that crimes might have been committed in the firings, Connecticut prosecutor Nora Dannehy was assigned to head the Justice investigation, focusing on the dismissal of New Mexico USA David Iglesias. In a letter released Wednesday, she concluded:
"Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias. The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias," to examine the firing of McKay and the others.
McKay, we assume, disagrees there was no criminal violations - such as perjury. He suspected he was dismissed because he declined to undertake a political prosecution in 2005: Republican leaders complained to the White House about McKay's supposed failure to investigate possible vote-tampering in the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election between Republican loser Dino Rossi and Democratic winner Chris Gregoire, which involved a triple recount.
As McKay wrote two years ago, "the idea of replacing all of the U.S. Attorneys originated at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where "White House Senior Counselor Karl Rove openly campaigned against perceived voter fraud abuse," mentioning Washington as one of the offending states. The White House also might have been displeased that McKay didn't seek more prison time for would-be terror bomber Ahmed Ressam, McKay told SW. Attempts to extend Ressam's sentence continue to this day.