Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey has been a kind of side character in the purge scandal. Comey, who left the Justice Department in 2005, may best be known
as the guy who appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame affair.
It seems pretty apparent that if he were still in charge, things would have been different. U.S. News reports
that Comey, when he was still with the department (he left in August of 2005), produced his own list of "weak U.S. attorneys" who, in his opinion, were underperforming.
Only, it was, well, different:
...a former Justice official says that Comey's list bore little resemblance to the list of those fired last year. The only prosecutor on the fired list who also was on Comey's list was Kevin Ryan, in San Francisco, who, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, had "widespread management and morale problems in his office."
As we pointed out before
, Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff Kyle Sampson had Ryan on his list as a "strong" U.S. attorney. In other words, not only was he not to be fired, he was to be commended.
What accounts for the discrepancy? Maybe it had something to do wtih the criteria. A "strong" U.S. attorney to Sampson, remember, was one who had "exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General."
Comey also had a particularly strong difference of opinion on New Mexico's David Iglesias, whom the Justice Department insists was fired for "performance related" concerns. He told The Washington Post
last month that Iglesias "was one of our finest and someone I had a lot of confidence in as deputy attorney general."Update
: And it seems especially worth pointing out that San Diego's Carol Lam didn't make Comey's list at all.