[Posted by WLS]
Nothing good can come from this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/07/30/2007-07-30_freeze_dc_lawmen_feud_over_gonzo_.html
It appears that the breach is intentional if the “aides” are to be believed.
I think this goes back to a point I’ve made here before — Gonzales is an outsider at DOJ, and he did not bring any loyalists with him for his staff — smart people he could turn to for advice in difficult times. The familiar faces he did find when he arrived came from outside DOJ themselves — people like Kyle Sampson who was a former Senate staffer and WH Counsel’s Office member.
Gonzales also allowed several US Attorneys to fill slots at the top of DOJ by doing double duty or filling AAG and DAG Office positions. Most of them had been non-DOJ types prior to being appointed US Attorneys.
FBI Dir. Mueller, on the other hand, is a long-time DOJ insider, going back to his days in the Reagan Administration DOJ. When he took over the FBI he started by filling slots in his inner circle with DOJ officials he had worked with in the past, many of whom were working in big US Attorney Offices in New York, Boston, San Fran, and LA. This was very controversial within the Bureau because those Seventh Floor Director’s Staff positions had always been held by FBI Agents who had been promoted up through the ranks. Mueller filled out much of his senior staff with non-FBI’ers out of neccessity because Louis Freeh had left behind a layer of loyalists at the top who were not going to play ball with Mueller’s view of what needed to be changed in the FBI culture. Since they couldn’t be fired, Mueller needed a layer of insulation.
Over the past 3-4 years, many of Mueller’s staffers that came from DOJ have rotated through Mueller’s staff and are now back at DOJ in senior positions. I think Mueller’s performance in hearings last week is first public salvo in a war that is about to break out between Mueller’s loyalists at DOJ, and the few senior staff people still with Gonzales at DOJ, and the goal is to force Gonzales to resign.
Many upper-level management posistions at DOJ are unfilled because the Senate isn’t going to confirm anyone while Gonzales remains, and its hard to get qualified people to take “interim” or “acting” jobs given the circus atmosphere that exists and the limited amount of time remaining on the calendar for this administration. This is bad for DOJ and its bad for the FBI. Mueller is taking proactive steps to bring the issue to a head.
A very public fued between Mueller and Gonzales is something that the President probably cannot ignore. Mueller is a no-nonsense retired Marine, and is a tremendous bureaucratic in-fighter. He’s got a lot of allies among the GOP on the Hill, and I suspect he is reflecting their view of what needs to happen with Gonzales.
Gonzales doesn’t have much to fight back with – no one credits what he says anymore.
It was easy for the President to ignore the braying from the Asses like Schumer, Leahy and Durbin. But, if Mueller throws down with Gonzales, the President has only one option, and that is to pave the way for Gonzales to exit gracefully.