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September 20, 2012

How often do US Attorneys "fail to exercise responsible oversight and failed to provide the leadership and judgment required of a United States attorney"?

The question in the title of this post is drawn from a quote in DOJ's inspector general's report on "Operation Fast and Furious" (highlights of which CNN has excerpted here).  Specifically, the F&F report singles out the (now resigned) US Attorney of Arizona, Dennis Burke, for his failings as quoted in the title of this post. 

A congressional hearing this morning is likely discuss this notable finding and other sharp criticisms of DOJ agents and officials in the F&F report to try to give the Obama Administration, and especially AG Eric Holder, a political black eye.  But even though often seemingly motivated more by political point-scoring than broader concerns about prosecutorial practices, I sincerely hope that the entire F&F debacle might help folks on both sides of the aisle see that federal prosecutors often can conclude that big-government, federal law enforcement ends are all too often used as a justification for utilizing very poor means by US Attorneys and their agents.

I have not followed the Fast and Furious political fights closely enough, nor do I have time to read the new 500+-page report, in order to be able to make a thoughtful assessment of whether this whole prosecutorial mess might have a potential reform silver lining.  But I hope commentors will share their take on what the new F&F report and the broader controversy should lead us to conclude about the working dynamics and mind-set of the always powerful US Department of Justice and its US Attorneys.

September 20, 2012 at 09:17 AM | Permalink

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"But I hope commentors will share their take on what the new F&F report and the broader controversy should lead us to conclude about the working dynamics and mind-set of the always powerful US Department of Justice and its US Attorneys."

About the same as what Lynne Stewart' conviction for aiding a terrorist should lead us to conclude about the working dynamics and mind-set of the always creative defense bar -- to wit, that it's easy to pick out one outrageous episode to make Side X look bad, but that a single episode doesn't tell you a whole lot.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 21, 2012 9:11:21 AM

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