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Gonzales: I Will Not Walk Away from the Problems I Created

From Gonzales' statement:

I am very proud of the results that the Department of Justice has achieved. As the testimony above demonstrates, the Department’s employees continue to work day in and day out to protect Americans. That said, reinforcing public confidence in the Department is also critical and will be one of my top priorities as Attorney General for the remainder of my term. I know that this Committee shares this concern, and I would like now to address briefly one issue in particular.

I believe very strongly that there is no place for political considerations in the hiring of our career employees or in the administration of justice. As such, the allegations of such activity have been troubling to hear. From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations. I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing.

As you know, upon learning of these troubling accusations, we promptly referred these matters to the Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General. This was the right course of action for the Department and I have complete faith and confidence that their investigations will be thorough, comprehensive, and, ultimately, very helpful in rooting out and addressing any mistakes that occurred on my watch.

But I am not going to wait for the results of these investigations to begin taking steps to ensure that any previous mistakes are not repeated. I have appointed experienced personnel, revised certain policies and procedures, and have communicated to the Department leadership that I will not tolerate any improper politicization of this Department. I will continue to make efforts to ensure that my staff and others within the Department have the appropriate experience and judgment so that previous mistakes will not be repeated. And I will continue to ensure that the Department attracts and hires highly qualified individuals from the broadest base possible without reference to their political affiliations.

The Department’s work is critical. In order to continue to serve the American public well, we need to reinforce public confidence and to attract and retain the best possible employees. We are working to ensure that this happens.

Note: OK, maybe a little commentary is necessary on Gonzales' claim that the Department "promptly" sought an investigation of politicization at the Department. The investigation was launched in late March, long after the U.S. attorney firings (which occurred last December) had caused a firestorm.