Washington D.C.--This is becoming very predictable. The pressure within the Bush administration and Justice must be becoming intolerable, with yet another at Justice jumping ship today, just hours ago:
Rachel Brand, the assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, will step down July 9, the department said in a statement. The statement did not give a reason for her departure, but Brand is expecting a baby soon. Brand was a member of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' leadership team. When officials were planning to fire U.S. attorneys in San Diego, San Francisco, Michigan and Arkansas, Brand was named as a possible replacement for Margaret Chiari in Michigan, according to documents released as part of a congressional inquiry. (AP, 06.29.2007)Is the date she's leaving important? Certainly. There's a very good reason, especially considering her role was in the Office of Legal Policy, and the fact that she's not very qualified to weather the storm coming after July 9th. Brand wisely rejected an offer of a U.S. Attorney post in mid-April, and now she's making even wiser career-moves in her resignation today.
The reason? The Senate and House Judiciary subpoenas into the U.S. Attorney firings and the fallout that will surely be crashing-down on Justice and the Attorney General, the president, the vice president, many of their staff, and Karl Rove:
The veil of secrecy you have attempted to pull over the White House by withholding documents and witnesses is unprecedented and damaging to the tradition of open government by and for the people that has been a hallmark of the republic," Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told [Bush administration legal counsel Fred] Fielding. They gave the White House until July 9 to furnish the factual and legal bases for the executive privilege claim and documentation that President Bush personally signed off on it. Whether or not the White House meets the deadline, "we will take the necessary steps to rule on your privilege claims and appropriately enforce our subpoenas backed by the full force of law," Leahy and Conyers wrote. (AP, 06.29.2007)No, there's no connection, move along. Rachel Brand would have made an interesting Hester Prynne (I'm not telling which Scarlet letter). Brand has to be leaving over the imminent collapse of the current regime at Justice...and the White House.
On a related note, J-7 has filed an FOIA request with the Department of Justice's Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act staff on the backgrounds of U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, Assistant U.S Attorney Catherine K. Connolly, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Rakestraw Cowden, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Butler.
While this writer assumes privacy laws will be invoked, shouldn't we all know the credentials of our nation's prosecutors? Where was the concern over the privacy of all Americans when the Patriot Acts were passed and renewed with even more intrusive amendments? I believe Ms. Palfrey's case features incredible abuses of antiterrorism statutes and violation of her Fourth Amendment rights--and that's for starters. A recent newsletter from her states:
Nonetheless, what was a languid and seemingly stagnant investigation went into warp mode on September 29, 2006, the day after I wired a little less than $70,000 to my attorney (escrow agent) in Germany, on September 28, 2006, in anticipation of the property purchase. At this stage, I must surmise that the innocuous wire was picked up by the Bush Administration’s ‘Terrorist Finance Tracking Program’ and relayed onto the applicable surveillance agencies, in my case http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Judge_gives_goahead_to_lawsuit_against_0619.html. By the following Tuesday, October 3, Postal Agents Joe Clark and Maria E. Couvillon, aka “Joe and Maria” were at my home in Vallejo, CA attempting to gain entry under false pretenses, as potential buyers.That's incredible speed, to relay such information in such a short-time. They should just tell us at Justice, the IRS, and the USPS what Ms. Palfrey is really being charged with; the transparency would behoove an administration that has very little left to bargain with.
Time is running short for the Bush administration. Ms. Palfrey's case appears to be intimately linked to a number of Bush administration scandals in ways that have yet to be revealed. These revelations are likely to shock Americans to the core, with an attempt at the politicization of much of the federal bureaucracy at the heart of it all.
The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview on Thursday. (New York Times, 06.23.2006)This is the "Terrorist Finance Tracking Program" Palfrey notes in her newsletter. The revelation of this program is just around three-months before Deborah Jeane Palfrey made her wiring of less-than $70,000 USD to her attorney in Germany, and would have to be the reason why there was action in the investigation into her. Did SWIFT and the federal government have any part in monitoring the transaction?
New York Times on the SWIFT program with the CIA and Justice Dept. (06.23.2006): http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/washington/23intel.html?ex=1308715200%26en=168d69d26685c26c%26ei=5088%26partner=rssnyt%26emc=rss