Thursday, February 22, 2007

Corruption and US Attorneys

As per Washington conventional wisdom we're now supposed to accept that the firing of seven US attorneys around the country was, yes, perhaps unprecedented, but more an example of Bush cronyism than an effort to short-circuit one or more investigations. But the firing of Lam just doesn't bear out that reading.

Earlier this month, Lam indicted Brent Wilkes, Dusty Foggo and John T. Michael.

By almost any measure this is a public corruption indictment of historic proportions. Wilkes corrupted the sitting US congressman who got the longest sentence ever given to a member of Congress. Foggo was the executive director of the CIA, the number three guy, the one who actually ran the agency on a daily basis. Michael helped bribing Duke and he also appears to have lied to investigators. He's also the nephew of Tommy Kontogiannis, a key player in the scandal who is listed as an indicted briber-and-coconspirator in Duke Cunningham's plea agreement. One of the big mysteries in this case is why Kontogiannis still hasn't been indicted, especially now that his nephew -- whose role in the case was secondary to that of his uncle -- has. On Kontogiannis, it's probably worth considering the widespread reports of his role on the fringe of the intelligence and criminal underworlds to see why he might, as yet, have drawn a pass.

In any case, a pretty weighty indictment. And the prosecutor gets forced out so that she only barely has time to bring the main indictments? That sounds very fishy.