What a mess!
The firing of eight U.S. attorneys story is fantastically messy. First you have the Deputy AG McNulty telling the fired attorney's their firing was not for for performance issues, as was stated in the record, but for "issues about policy, priorities and management/leadership that we felt were important to the department's effectiveness," in contradiction to what his boss, Abu Gonzales, is saying. This was the story the day after the 3000 pages of emails were released.
The L.A. Times article "Justice Dept. worked to contain U.S. attorney fallout" describes the back-peddaling the Justice Dept. is doing as they "just want the stories to die." The reporter rightly focuses on specific examples in emails provided by the department that contradict their statements that the firings are performance, rather than politically, related.
Some evidence has also surfaced that makes it appear that one of the attorney's was fired to make room for a Rove protege. Juicy.
Since this story has been followed closely and reported on by so many media outlets, the challenge for any reporter would be to find another angle. In a Washington Post article entitled "Fitzgerald Ranked During Leak Case" from the same day, the reporters focus on another aspect of the story, namely that Patrick Fitzgerald, the attorney who just successfully prosecuted the Libby trial, was on the list of those being considered for dismissal. They write:
The ranking placed Fitzgerald below "strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty" to the administration but above "weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.," according to Justice documents.
The chart was the first step in an effort to identify U.S. attorneys who should be removed. Two prosecutors who received the same ranking as Fitzgerald were later fired, documents show.
The jury for the Libby trial asked, What about the other guys, like Rove? Maybe this is the explanation. Fitzgerald was handed Libby in exchange for keeping his hands off Rove and getting to keep his job.
Then you have Bush going on t.v. saying he feels sorry for the attorney's having their story being subjected to so much media attention, like it's the fired attorneys whom he thinks would be embarrased and wouldn't want to their story to get out. How obtuse!