Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 18, 2007 - March 24, 2007 Archives: The Patriot Act provision, in essence, transferred the power to appoint interim USAs from the federal district courts to the attorney general and allowed the attorney general to install interim USAs indefinitely, thereby bypassing the Senate confirmation process. Only the naive or willfully blind would see the Patriot Act amendment as a distinct and separate action from the purge itself. Indeed, vesting such powers in the attorney general was a... [precondition]. Otherwise, the Senate confirmation process would have made installing political hacks as USAs difficult...
So when William Moschella, who is now the principal deputy attorney general, recently told McClatchy "that he pursued the changes on his own, without the knowledge or coordination of his superiors at the Justice Department or anyone at the White House," the purpose of his comments was to decouple the Patriot Act provision from the purge itself....
From the document dump last night, we learn, again from McClatchy, that Moschella sent an email to other Justice Department officials way back in November 2005 announcing support for the change to the law. Paul has more.
So contrary to earlier assertions, the attorney general was involved in the firings, and higher-ups in the Justice Department knew about the Patriot Act provision.
No surprise there, really. But keep this in mind. Everything the Justice Department has said that later turned out to be false was almost certainly known by the White House to be false, at the time the false statements were made, to the media, and most importantly, to Congress.
Let that sink in.