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Assessing firings of U.S. attorneys

March 20, 2007

Re "Blunder after blunder," editorial, March 18

The Times asks in parenthesis about the assumed competence of "Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and even Rice (who knew?)." I think more appropriate than your rhetorical "who knew?," the query might be recast by asking that if anyone did know, who would have heard or cared at the moment that most mattered? Your "who knew?" poses ugly implications about the problem of your isolation and the isolation of those officials you, as profoundly important journalists, are responsible for studying. That isolation has now become an increasing detriment and danger to our society.

DAVID MATLIN

San Diego

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Your editorial failed to mention that President Clinton fired all 93 U.S. attorneys when he took office. Was that omission a blunder or incompetence? Or perhaps The Times was just in over its head.

STEVEN LACHMAN

La Quinta

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Firing eight U.S. attorneys because they lacked loyalty to the administration isn't half as scary as the 85 deemed qualified to remain on the job.

GEORGE LA FOUNTAINE

San Clemente

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Re "Alarm rises over firing of U.S. attorney in San Diego," March 19

Most legal analysts believe that there was nothing illegal about Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors. However, doing it in the middle of a president's second term is almost unprecedented. The ever-changing story and original misleading statements to Congress are troublesome. The e-mails show what appears to be a political motive for the firings. What disturbs me most is how once again this administration uses one branch of government to squash the responsibilities of another branch. Did Gonzales misuse the Patriot Act in these firings? The firing of federal prosecutors doesn't appear to have much to do with fighting global terrorism. When it was first passed, the act was supposed to be temporary. Considering this possible widespread misuse, Congress should now consider repealing, or at the very least better defining, the legal uses of the act.

JEFF MORRIS

Saugerties, N.Y.

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Re "Bush aides are raising a firewall," news analysis, March 18

The Times states in its news analysis that President Bush's already weakened political standing has continued to erode since his party lost control of Congress. The assessment is off the mark. Although it is true that less of the administration's gross incompetence can simply be swept under the rug, the true problem is that the administration is corrupt. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown, former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Justice Department Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson's resignations point clearly to Bush and those closest to him.

AGI ARNOLD

Los Angeles

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