The Salt Lake Tribune profiles resigned Alberto Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson, who had a hand in shaping some of the Bush administration’s most ambitious and contentious policies, such as terrorism surveillance, prisoner detention, and picking Supreme Court justices. The Utah was first a top aide to John Ashcroft. “I think Kyle Sampson has been wronged,” said former Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo, who worked with Sampson. “People like Kyle Sampson, who were simply doing their job in an ethical and honorable way, are now being smeared. He did nothing wrong. He did his job exactly as he should.”
Democrats are skeptical and are vowing a full inquiry. Sampson once served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among Hmong refugees who had emigrated from Laos to Minnesota, then graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Chicago law school. He later worked for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and after the 2000 election, Sampson was encouraged by his law school friend Elizabeth Cheney, the vice president’s daughter, to join the White House and screen the flood of job-seekers. U.S. Attorney for Utah Paul Warner announced in January 2006 he would become a federal magistrate, opening a spot Sampson had long sought. An e-mail released last week suggests that Sampson may have tried to push Warner out of the job in early 2005 but was rebuffed by Hatch.