The DomeniciIglesias story continues


The Domenici/Iglesias story continues to unfold — this time with a few more nuggets from the Times.

In his statement today, Sen. Domenici said his frustration with Iglesias’s performance had been growing for years and that several months before the infamous nudge call to Iglesias he had told officials at the Justice Department that he believed Iglesias should be ousted.

Here’s what the Times adds to the mix …

A Justice Department spokesman said on Sunday that records at the agency showed that the senator complained about Mr. Iglesias in calls to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in September 2005 and again in January and April 2006. The senator made a brief call to Paul J. McNulty, the deputy attorney general, in October 2006 when the deliberations over Mr. Iglesias’s dismissal began.

In each of these calls, said Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman, Mr. Domenici expressed general concerns about Mr. Iglesias and questioned whether he was “up to the job.” Mr. Roehrkasse added, “At no time did they discuss the public corruption case.”

Now, some of this, let’s just note for the record. DOJ says there were four calls complaining about Iglesias. But let’s look at the fourth — that ‘brief call to Paul McNulty’ in October of last year. That’s right about exactly the same time that Domenici put in his call to Iglesias about the Dem indictment. So which call came first?

Anyway, let’s stick a pin in this point in the timeline to note it for future reference.

And the folks at DOJ seem to have come up with another reason for Iglesias’s ouster. From the Times: “Justice officials have said that F.B.I. officials complained that Mr. Iglesias was not bringing corruption cases fast enough, but have not mentioned Mr. Domenici’s efforts to remove him.”

So now it seems that tardiness on bringing corruption indictments was one of the reasons Iglesias was axed. Only Domenici never mentioned it, just the FBI.

Now, before I go, indulge me a moment of deja vu.

If someone tells you one reason they’re doing something, you may believe me. If someone tells you twenty reasons they’re doing something, and some of the reasons contradict each other, it’s very hard not to get suspicious. That was the story of the lead up to the Iraq War — it was about al Qaeda, or WMD, or democratizing the Middle East or stabilizing the Middle East, or about human rights or defending Israel or maybe Saudi Arabia. There were so many good reasons to invade Iraq that only a fool could pass on the opportunity. But for those watching closely the very multiplicity of rationales suggested we were being scammed and weren’t hearing the real story.

Here too, perhaps these folks were fired for incompetence, or maybe over policy disagreements, or maybe because the FBI didn’t think they were moving quickly enough on corruption cases, or maybe they were being shoved out to open up slots for deserving GOP lawyers. Any of these explanations might be true. But when we hear them all, in succession, in little more than a week, you begin to suspect that none of them are true. And that it’s all so much flimflam trying to obscure the real explanation.