U.S. Attorney Carol Lam of San Diego, who is leaving her job Feb. 15, is one of at least eight top prosecutors who have resigned or been told to, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Lam resisted the push out the door, said Rep. Darrell Issa, a longtime critic who said she should have prosecuted many more immigration cases. Undersheriff Bill Gore, former head of the FBI’s San Diego office, praised the work her lawyers did on counterterrorism and public corruption cases and said she “had to shift some resources.”
Kevin Ryan, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, announced his departure yesterday. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), criticized the “forced resignations” of Lam, Ryan, and several other U.S. attorneys. She and other senators have suggested the resignation requests are politically motivated or intended to circumvent the Senate confirmation process. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Associated Press, “Nothing could be further from the truth,” adding, “We in no way politicize these decisions.” Several senators want to amend the USA Patriot Act reauthorization, which gave the attorney general the ability to make open-ended U.S. Attorney appointments. Gonzales said giving appointment power back to judges was a bad idea, arguing that they tend to appoint friends and others unqualified for the job.