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Ex-Nevada U.S. Attorney Had ‘No Initiative,’ White House Notes Say

Posted By Andrew Ramonas On August 20, 2009 @ 12:51 am In News | Comments Disabled

Yes, it’s pathetic. But we’re still chewing over the 5,000 or so pages of e-mails, testimony and other documents released by the House Judiciary Committee last week relating to the Bush administration’s 2006 firings of U.S. Attorneys.

Among the items: handwritten notes by an unidentified staffer in the Bush White House that appear to document discussions with Justice Department political appointees about why the administration fired the prosecutors. From the dates on the notes and other references, the discussions appeared to be in preparation for House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that were held on March 6, 2007 to investigate the firings. They appeared to be the Bush staffers’ candid assessments of the fired U.S. Attorneys, not talking points being prepared for the press and Congress.

Most of the gripes about the other U.S. Attorneys centered on politics (“[Former Sen. Pete] Domenici [R-N.M.] said he bad U.S. Aty,” one note said of fired New Mexico prosecutor David Iglesias) or policy disagreements (“never sought death penalty,” notes about fired Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton read.)

But here’s what we found interesting: The apparently low opinion everyone had of Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.

In one set of notes that appear to reflect a conversation with then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty, the White House note-taker wrote that Bogden was so “low key – so low key that (he) shows no initiative/leadership.”

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

Bogden and eight other U.S. Attorneys were part of the 2006 purge. President Obama nominated [1] Bogden last month for his old post after he was recommended [2] by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in March.

While the Bush DOJ tried to portray the prosecutor firings as rooted in performance issues and not politics, management problems actually might have been the case with Bogden. The views apparently expressed by McNulty were not too different from complaints of¬† prosecutors who Bogden supervised in the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s office. We previously reported [3] that many of the office’s 50 prosecutors¬† were dismayed by Reid’s decision to recommend Bogden. They told the Las Vegas Sun that Bogden was aloof and had poor management skills.

Bogden does have the support of Reid, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Las Vegas FBI chief Ellen Knowlton, U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben and attorney Craig Denney, who worked in the Nevada U.S. Attorney office.

The White House notes that apparently came from a conversation with McNulty added that Bogden was a “less severe” problem for the Bush administration than the other soon-to-be dismissed U.S. Attorneys and he we was not “defiant or insubordinate.”

McNulty was not immediately able to comment on the White House notes.

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