By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2007, 1:10pm PT  

Arlen Parsa of The Daily Background, and now BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger (see his story yesterday on the ties between the U.S. Attorney Purge and gaming the 2008 Election), files a story today at TruthOut destroying the DoJ claims that the reason for some of the purges was that the prosecutors were too lenient on immigration issues.

You'll be stunned to learn that the immigration claims were little more than a cover story hatched by the DoJ communications team as they initially prepared (and, apparently "misunderestimated" the need for) their public explanations for the politically-based firings. All exposed in new email docs dumped late last Friday, following the 3000+ pages dumped earlier in the week.

The skinny version of Parsa's TO report today...

According to emails released by the Department of Justice late Friday evening, DOJ officials tried to manufacture public reasons for firing several US attorneys late last year.
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A November email between Public Affairs Director Tasia Scolinos (a lead spokesperson for DOJ), and vice presidential assistant Catherine Martin offered a suggestion of how to explain the firings of three US attorneys. "The one common link here is that three of them are along the southern border," Scolinos suggested after reviewing a list of six US attorneys the administration was planning to fire. "You could make the connection that DOJ is unhappy with the immigration prosecution numbers in those districts."
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On March 15, Scolinos found herself defending her boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a statement she made to the press in an attempt to limit the fallout from the widening scandal. "The Attorney General has no recollection of any plan or discussion to replace U.S. attorneys while he was still White House Counsel," Scolinos promised.

What she did not mention, however, was that she herself had been involved in a the plot to fire more than a half-dozen US attorneys only months earlier.
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After [San Diego's U.S. Attorney Carol] Lam was fired, the explanation the administration put forward was that her record on immigration was indeed to blame. But newly released documents show that the Department of Justice was prepared to back Lam up [concerning charges by several Republican Congress members, including Duke Cunningham, who would shortly plead guilty to corruption charges brought by Lam, that she was lax on immigration prosecutions]. ... The department had prepared statistics demonstrating that immigration-related prosecutions had gone up under Lam's tenure.
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Emails between key Justice Department officials show that they had clearly taken Lam's side in the matter. Further, official DOJ job reviews indicated that Lam's office, which had devoted fully half of its resources to prosecuting illegal immigration-related cases, had "appropriate" priorities.
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Nevertheless, Lam was fired, supposedly over immigration, just months later.