Cold case turns warm again

There has been a new turn in the quest to find out why Dan Bogden was fired as Nevada’s chief federal prosecutor.

In a deal brokered by the Obama White House, the House Judiciary Committee has reached an agreement to ask former White House political guru Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, what they knew about Bogden and eight other U.S, attorneys who were sacked under circumstances of varying mystery in 2006.

The firings prompted various Capitol Hill investigations, and a raft of resignations from Justice Department officials who were in the loop of the firings.  Most prominent among them was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

In Bogden’s case, it was never made clear exactly what happen to prompt him to get the pink slip in a call out of the blue from a higher-up on December 7, 2006.

Closest anyone seems to have come is that Bogden somehow got on the bad side of the leader of a Justice Department task force who wanted to mount a hunt for obscenity in Las Vegas.

 All told, seven U.S. attorneys were fired on that same day. Two others had been let go earlier in the year.

Efforts by the House and Senate judiciary committees to track back the firings of the prosecutors hit a dead end at the Bush White House, which claimed that Rove and Miers were shielded by executive privilege from having to testify.

The new arrangement clears a path for the House panel to hear from the Bush administration officials.  

It is not exactly full sunshine: Rove and Miers will testify under oath but the press and public will not be present. There is a chance the transcripts may be released at some point afterwards, and committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said he reserved the right to have the officials testify in public.

The committee also will gain access to any relevant documents.

 "I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush administration’s claims of absolute immunity," Conyers said.

 "I am determined to have it known whether U.S. attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom," he said.

Readers wanting to relive this episode and other transgressions of the Bush administration Justice Department can go to this library.

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