Leahy Says DOJ Scandal Harmed National Security

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the politicization in the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice posed a threat to national security.

Responding to today’s report from the DOJ Inspector General, Leahy said in a statement:

“The report reveals decisions to reject qualified, experienced applicants to work on counterterrorism issues in favor of a less experienced attorney on the basis of political ideology. Rather than strengthening our national security, the Department of Justice appears to have bent to the political will of the administration. Further, the report reveals that the ‘principal source’ for politically vetted candidates considered for important positions as immigration judges was the White House- a clear indication of the untoward political influence of the Bush administration on traditionally non-political appointments.”

Leahy went on to criticize former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for not acknowledging the systemic problems in the DOJ.

“Like some in the administration who would place blame for the actions at Abu Ghraib solely onto the shoulders of a few bad apples, the Attorney General has tried to dismiss the Inspector General’s first report on politicization issued last month as documenting the actions of just a few bad apples. But it was obvious from that first report, and becomes more so with this second joint IG/OPR report, that the problems of politicization at the Department are rooted deeper than that.

In this report, we once again see that the Bush administration has allowed politics to affect and infect the nation’s chief law enforcement agency’s priorities.

Leahy said he looks forward to the Inspector General Glenn Fine’s testimony before his committee on Wednesday.

Read Leahy’s entire statement here.

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