On Monday, the Justice Department undid a small part of the damage that top officials caused in a scandal of politicized hiring and firing during the Bush administration, reports National Public Radio. The department rehired an attorney who was improperly removed from her job because she was rumored to be a lesbian. NPR broke the story of Leslie Hagen’s dismissal last April, who has now returned to her post at the department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
In 2006, Hagen was the liaison between the main Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys’ committee on Native American affairs. The chairman of that committee, Tom Heffelfinger, described Hagen to NPR last year as “the best qualified person in the nation to fill that job.” Hagen’s performance evaluations had the highest possible ratings – “outstanding” in each of five categories. The job came up for renewal every year. After the first year, Hagen was surprised to hear that she would have to move on. As NPR reported in April, a top aide to the attorney general had heard a rumor that Hagen was a lesbian. Monica Goodling, senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, had Hagen removed from her job.