"The Administration is grateful for your service"

Need to fire a prosecutor? The Justice Department has your talking points.

Published March 13, 2007 8:29PM (EDT)

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said today that the U.S attorneys who were fired in the fall should have been told more about the reasons they were let go.

You think?

Among the documents the Justice Department turned over to the House Judiciary Committee Monday was one in which someone -- it appears to have been former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson -- outlined what White House and Justice Department officials should tell the ousted prosecutors if they started asking questions about their firings:

What? U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president (there is no right, nor should there be any expectation, that U.S. Attorneys would be entitled to serve beyond their four-year term).

Who decided? The Administration made the determination to seek the resignations (not any specific person at the White House or the Department of Justice).

Why me? The Administration is grateful for your service, but wants to give someone else the chance to serve in your district.

I need more time! The decision is to have a new Acting or Interim U.S. Attorney in place by January 31, 2007 (granting "extensions" will hinder the process of getting a new U.S. Attorney in place and giving that person the opportunity to serve for a full two years).

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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