The Bush administration’s drive to politicize the Justice Department reached a new low with the wrongful firing of seven U.S. Attorneys in late 2006. Their action has ignited public outrage on a scale that far surpassed the reaction to any of the Bush administration’s other political debacles. David Iglesias was one of those federal prosecutors, and now, in a book titled, In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration, he tells his story.
The first chapter, titled, “For Such a Time as This” (a quotation from the Book of Esther), describes how, shortly before he departed Baltimore-Washington International Airport to spend the Christmas of 2006 with his family in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Iglesias received a message on his BlackBerry from his assistant telling him to phone director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), Mike Battle, and his reactions on being told to resign, “effective the end of January”.
I consider it one of the ironies of history that my personal “day that will live in infamy” occurred on December 7, 2006, exactly sixty-five years after the Japanese launched the sneak attack that took us into World War II. Of course, I’m not comparing what happened to me that afternoon to any such epic date with destiny. At the same time, however, I realize that my personal Pearl Harbor Day is not without its own historical resonance. From that moment on, things were not the same, for me or for the country I’d so proudly served. I’d arrived at a point when my history intersected with America’s history in a way that would change—and is still changing—both America’s justice system and me.
“It’s ironic to think,” Iglesias now reflects, “that I had once been offered the position of director of EOUSA. If I’d taken it, I’d have been the one who would have had to make that fateful phone call.”
The penultimate chapter is titled, “All Roads Lead to Rove”, the final one, “Fredo”, a reference to the little man who occupied the office of Attorney General when Iglesias was fired (alas, he is no longer with us!), and whose storied powers of recollection have so frequently formed the subject of posts on this blog.
Chapter 1 can be read online (click here) and is well worth reading, as no doubt, is the rest of the book.
From the Inside Flap:
David Iglesias’s first encounter with Alberto Gonzales was when he was White House counsel in 2001. Something Gonzales said really stuck in his mind. “This is a tough town,” Gonzales told him. “They are out to destroy the president, and it is my job to protect him.” Who knew he would even break the law to do it?
The Bush administration’s drive to politicize the Justice Department reached a new low with the wrongful firing of seven U.S. Attorneys in late 2006. Their action has ignited public outrage on a scale that far surpassed the reaction to any of the Bush administration’s other political debacles. David Iglesias was one of those federal prosecutors, and now he tells his story.
Iglesias has long served in the navy as part of the JAG Corps. One of his earliest cases, concerning an assaulted marine in Guantanamo Bay, became the basis for the movie A Few Good Men. When Bush chose Iglesias to become the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, it was a dream come true. He was a core member of Karl Rove’s idealized Republican Party of the future—handsome, Hispanic, evangelical, and a military veteran. The dream came to an abrupt end when Senator Pete Domenici improperly called Iglesias, asking him to indict high-level Democrats before the 2006 elections. When Iglesias refused, the line went dead. Iglesias was fired just weeks later. First he was devastated. Then he was angry. Now he is speaking out.
Packed with previously unrevealed facts, In Justice follows Iglesias and his colleagues, who would soon be known as the Justice League, as they pieced together the sources and purpose of the conspiracy against them. In fascinating detail, it reveals how various members of the group viewed their own dismissals, reacted to threats from Justice Department officials designed to ensure their silence, and struggled to find a way to respond to the growing furor over the case.
Complete with insights into the power and responsibilities of U.S. Attorneys and an impassioned plea for their historic independence, the rule of law, and insulation from politics, In Justice is a compelling, real-life political thriller that takes you deep inside the Bush administration’s darkest moment.
Wiley publishers substitute the last two paragraphs above with the following paragraph:
Iglesias recounts his interactions with Bush, Rove, Alberto Gonzales, and other key players as he takes readers into his time at the Justice Department to reveal what top Republican officials said and did, and how they subverted justice.
David Iglesias Vows: “It’s Not Over!”
Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias has some harsh words for fellow Republicans during a visit to an Albuquerque, N.M. bookstore on May 19, 2008.
While answering questions at a signing event at Bookworks in Albuquerque, NM, for his book IN JUSTICE: Inside the Scandal that Rocked the Bush Administration, former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who was fired along with six other U.S. Attorneys in late 2006, made the following statement:
It’s not over. A lot of people come up to me and say, “Are you glad it’s all over?”, and, and I’ll say, “Well, I’m glad, but it’s not over.” There are still five pending separate investigations. So if you hear anybody say it’s yesterday’s news (oh, that’ so 2007!), please straighten them out, ‘cos it’s not.
Former GOP Poster Boy
In a Q&A in yesterday’s NY Times Magazine, Iglesias, who was once a poster boy for the GOP, said that he still considers himself a Republican, albeit “a disillusioned Republican”. He added: “I can’t blame the Democrats for this mess. It was fellow conservatives, people who thought and acted and dressed like me, who threw away their moral compass.”
Pete Domenici, the longtime New Mexico senator, who was officially admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for making an improper phone call pressurizing him into indicting Democrats before the 2006 election, will be stepping down. This, Iglesias thinks, is not for the stated reasons of health, which Iglesias thinks he could have “worked around”, but “in part because his legacy was tarnished”.
Asked whether Heather Wilson, the U.S. congresswoman who also called him about that same case, and is now running for his Senate seat, could win, he replied: “No. She’s damaged goods.”
When Deborah Soloman, who conducted, condensed and edited this interview with Iglesias, expressed surprise at the fact that “practically a poster boy for a new kind of Karl Rove-style Republican”, is saying all of this, he replied: “I’m a military veteran, I’m Hispanic and I’m an evangelical Christian. Those are three enormous pillars of the Republican base.” He also confessed that he didn’t find out that Rove is agnostic until a couple of months ago: “The irony is you have this agnostic using the religious beliefs of evangelical Christians for political purposes.”
Questioned whom he will be voting for in the forthcoming primary for the U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico on June 3, he replied: “I’ll tell you who I am not voting for. I am not voting for Heather Wilson.” Similarly quizzed about whom he will be voting for in the presidential election, he refused to say.