In a front page story today, The Washington Post reports that the White House gave its approval for the firing of seven federal prosecutors, including San Diego’s former U.S. Attorney Carol Lam:

The White House approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys late last year after senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush’s policies on immigration, firearms and other issues, White House and Justice Department officials said yesterday.

The list of prosecutors was assembled last fall, based largely on complaints from members of Congress, law enforcement officials and career Justice Department lawyers, administration officials said. …

Since the mass firings were carried out three months ago, Justice Department officials have consistently portrayed them as personnel decisions based on the prosecutors’ “performance-related” problems. But, yesterday, officials acknowledged that the ousters were based primarily on the administration’s unhappiness with the prosecutors’ policy decisions and revealed the White House’s role in the matter.

Later in the story, the Post said the “more than a dozen” California lawmakers have complained about Lam’s job performance since 2005.

In a separate editorial, the paper said of the dismissals:

The Justice Department’s firing of a group of U.S. attorneys is neither as sinister as critics suggest nor as benign as the department would have you believe, at least on the basis of the evidence revealed so far. But it is, both sides agree, highly unusual and warrants further inquiry.

Lam and several other fired prosecutors are set to testify about their ousters on Capitol Hill next week.


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