Coinciding with the Senate's no-confidence resolution on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, lawmakers may want to consider the perspective of a former senior Justice Department official who came forward to say Gonzales has run the department like “a political arm of the White House.”
Daniel J. Metcalfe, the former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, said he resigned in January because he could no longer tolerate the “sheer political expediency, avoidance of individual responsibility, defensive personal aggrandizement, irresponsible ‘consensus’ decision-making (and) disregard for longstanding practices and principles.”
And that was before the controversy erupted over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys last year.
Metcalfe, who worked for the department during the Nixon administration’s infamous “Saturday night massacre,” said the dismissals had been handled like nothing he has ever seen before.
“I think the way in which the firings themselves were handled was abominable, the way in which the ensuing controversy was handled was abysmal, and the way in which Gonzales has handled himself is absolutely appalling,” Metcalfe said. “As a long-term Justice Department official, I am embarrassed and increasingly incensed that he is still in there.”
Everyone in the Senate chamber, regardless of party or intellect, knows that Metcalfe’s perspective is a) accurate; b) frightening; and c) common among career officials at the DoJ.