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In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico from 2000 to 2007, Iglesias has written an eye-opening account of his role in exposing the Justice Department scandal that began with the firing of seven District Attorneys and ended (arguably) with the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Talented, Hispanic, evangelical, a military veteran and a loyal Bush supporter, Iglesias's star was still on the rise when, in late 2006, he was asked to resign his job. All he could learn was that the decision had come "from on high," and that he was only one of seven asked to resign the same day. On this guided tour, Iglesias claims shocking attempts to "co-opt the Justice Department for political ends" with statements that as early as 2003, U.S. Attorneys were being pressured to purge Democrats from voter rolls wherever possible; Iglesias says he was thrown under the bus after refusing to release sealed details of an ongoing prosecution that would scandalize Democratic contenders in a local 2006 race. Iglesias's text, like his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, implicates a number of big dogs, including Gonzales and Karl Rove, as well as the President. Thorough and troubling, this record is a must-read for anyone who got caught up in the unfolding controversy.
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This book explains how it happened, why it happened, and helps us remember we have a Constitution in this country that must be preserved.
As to the book itself, large parts are a little dull because the author must tell us more about himself and that is not all that interesting. He's an intelligent guy doing a good job. However, the last 100+ pages are riveting as he reveals the lies of the Justice Department and specifically Alberto Gonzales.
This entire scandal would not have been possible without the USA Patriot Act. It made the politicization of these offices possible. Before the Patriot Act, U.S. Attorneys were appointed for four year terms, and could not be replaced without the advice and consent of the Senate. Now permanent "interim" appointments make Congress irrelevant in the choice. This is not the only reallocation of power from the legislative branch to the executive found in the Patriot Act, but it is a perfect example of the ease of abuse.
This book should make Republicans and Democrats alike angry. Some of the heroes of this book are earnest Republicans, as are some of the victims.
The greatest victim, though, is the Department of Justice, and by extension, all of us. It will be a great challenge for the next administration to restore the reputation of the Justice Department for fairness, honesty, and independence.
In my opinion, most of the post-911 acts designed to strengthen the hand of government against its people should be repealed. Portions of the Patriot Act that make the legislature irrelevant should be fished out and removed (assuming we don't just repeal the entire mess).
The executive branch would have us believe that these extended powers have enabled it to fight terrorism. This book outlines shocking and frightening incompetence in one of the most important parts of our government. The studied neglect and wilful ignorance of the highest echelons of the Department put us all at risk. If this is the caliber of protection we can expect, we are fortunate that we have not fared worse than we have.
An up-and-coming Bushie whose star was rising in Republican circles, Iglesias was one of seven U.S. Attorneys suddenly sacked for political reasons. Partly because his mentor, Senator Pete Domenici, illegally helped initiate the action, Iglesias soon found himself at the center of a growing scandal that resulted in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and a number of others in the Justice Department.
In going public with his side of the story and retelling it in detail in this book, Iglesias helped set the record straight. "In Justice" is a well-written account of power corrupting those responsible for safeguarding our judicial system. Gonzalez served as the unwitting hit-man for those in the Bush White House who put politics above principle. But "In Justice" gives you the back story in how he did so, bringing clarity to the murky machinations of an administration that lost its way.
Unlike Scott McLellan's recent self-serving tell-all, Iglesias' book gives the clear-eyed and fair recounting of the evidence that we expect of our judicial system. It helped restore my faith that justice, though slow, is eventually served.