Demoralized, discredited, and dysfunctional are words being used to describe the state of the Justice Department under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who will step down Sept. 17, reports Legal Times. The department needs critical attention to revive its core mission: law enforcement. “There is no reasonable doubt that Alberto R. Gonzales will be remembered as one of the worst attorneys general in history and perhaps the most embarrassed, and embarrassing, Cabinet officers ever,” says Daniel Metcalfe, a 30-year veteran of Justice who has become an outspoken critic since retiring in January as head of the department’s Office of Information and Privacy.
Some disagree. “As for his legacy, the ironic thing is, I think he did a pretty good job as attorney general,” says Viet Dinh, a high-ranking official at the Office of Legal Counsel under John Ashcroft. Critics point to the Civil Rights Division and the Office of Legal Counsel as being the most tarnished under Gonzales’ leadership. Dawn Johnsen, who headed of the Office of Legal Counsel under Attorney General Janet Reno, says, “There are just appalling examples of the Department of Justice and its counsel acting as a rubber stamp for unlawful programs that the White House wanted to pursue.”