Another Gonzales Hatchet Man Gets The Axe
Another one bites the dust:”
Justice Dept Official To Quit
Elston Had Role in Prosecutor Firings
By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, June 16, 2007; Page A06
A fifth senior Justice Department official announced his resignation yesterday in the wake of the controversy over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.
... (Michael J. Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General) assembled one of the lists of prosecutors to be considered for removal. Four of the dismissed prosecutors said they later received inappropriate telephone calls from Elston, who allegedly warned some of them that they would suffer retaliation if they spoke publicly about their firings…
…Former U.S. attorney John McKay of Seattle told Congress that on Jan. 17 -- before McKay stepped down -- he received a call from Elston that he "greatly resented." He said Elston attempted to "buy my silence by promising that the attorney general would not demean me in his Senate testimony."
"My handwritten and dated notes of this call," McKay told Congress, "reflect that I believed Mr. Elston's tone was sinister and that he was prepared to threaten me further if he concluded I did not intend to continue to remain silent about my dismissal."
We all know that people in law enforcement run the risk of receiving sinister and threatening commuications from targets of their investigations. But the words “sinister” and “threatening” aren't usually the adjectives used to describe communications BETWEEN law enforcement professionals. It seems that Gonzales and his hatchet men intended to create a climate of fear within the federal law enforcement community. The paradox is that Gonzales' attorneys begin to talk to each other in language very much like that of the gangsters they are supposed to be policing.
Imagine an FBI wiretap of a Justice Department inter-office telephone call:
--Never you mind who dis is, see? Dis is somebody who cares about your continued health, dat’s who dis is.
--Wait a minute—you’re calling from here, inside the office—
--Yes, you are, I can see that your line is lit up on my phone--it’s you, Biff, isn’t it, it’s Biff from Attorney General Gonzales’--
--You namin’ names now, you little rat?
--Biff, what is this, some kind of joke?
--You think it’s a joke, you just keep on callin’ me Biff an’ you’ll find out just how much of a joke it is, punk.
--But, Bi--What are you doing, we just had lunch together twenty minutes ago, why are you using that voice—
--You better listen to dis “voice,” jocko, and listen good. You’re goin’ down—the question is, are you gonna try to take Big Al with you, when you go down?
--Now wait a minute, I—
--You’re gonna talk, aintcha? Yer gonna sing like a canary, sing like a little bird—
--Why, I, I,—
--Yer gonna sing a sweet song to the media about how you was fired for not playin’ along with the Big Plan, the plan to send the Dems to jail—that’s whatcha think yer gonna do, ain’t it, Eddie ol’ pal? Because y’er Jocko the Singin’ Canary now, aintcha?
--I—I don’t think this is very ap-p-p-propriate or very professional—
--No? Well let me tell you what IS appropriate and professional, for little canary birds like you. If you so much as make a peep about this, we’re gonna have you fitted for a pair of concrete loafers. That’s very appropriate. And we’re gonna send a “professional” out to do it, too.
--Are y-you threatening m-me?
--Figure it out, bright boy. You made law review, figure it out.
--B-but this is crazy, we work together, we’re both attorneys for the Justice Department, w-w-we’re in law enforcement, y-you work just down the hall from me—
--Remember that, ya stinkin’ rat! Don’t let that slip yer mind, when yer talkin’ to Congress or the press! I’m just down the hall… right down the hall from you, is all…
--Good. I’ll see ya tomorrow. We tee off at ten. (Click.)
Labels: Gonzales US attorneys Elston