The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, reports the Washington Post. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June. In fact, D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales’s chief of staff, considered more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination. They amounted to more than a quarter of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys.
Asked about her inclusion on the lists, U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby of Maine said: “Really? I wasn’t aware of that.” Silsby’s name crops up frequently, first in February 2005 and three more times, most recently a month before most of the dismissals were carried out last December. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), an outspoken critic of the way Gonzales handled the prosecutor dismissals, said the lists of potential dismissals “show how amok this process was. When you start firing people for invalid reasons, just about anyone can end up on a list. It looks like the process was out of control, and if it hadn’t been discovered, more would have been fired.”