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The Hill: DOJ's Political Purgings Unsurprising

July 28, 2008
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By GAP Homeland Security Director Jesselyn Radack.

It is no surprise to me that the Justice Department systematically and illegally inserted politics into its hiring process. This was glaringly obvious to me when I was forced out of the DOJ upon blowing the whistle on DOJ violations in the case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh in 2002.

In my 2006 book, The Canary in the Coalmine, I wrote about how the Attorney General’s Honors Program, founded by President Eisenhower’s first AG and long overseen by career attorneys, was first hijacked by Attorney General John Ashcroft. When I started at Justice after graduating from Yale Law School, the Honors Program was highly-competitive, well-regarded, and had the laudable distinction of being apolitical. Ashcroft decided in 2002 that the program would benefit from more direct participation by him and other political appointees. This continued during the tenure of his successor, Alberto Gonzales, and extended beyond the Honors Program into political hiring for the Department’s most senior career positions, which were soon populated by graduates of the likes of Regents University and Bob Jones University. It eventually climaxed in what I refer to as the 2007 “U.S. Attorney Massacre,” when nine United States attorneys were fired, according to the Justice Department, for their “poor performance” despite stellar records.

Being politically purged from Justice and subject to a pretextual investigation by the DOJ Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility myself, I’m glad that the DOJ has finally seen the light. But I am grossly disappointed that it took six years, countless destroyed careers, and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to reach the conclusion I highlighted for them all the way back in 2002.

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