Monday, May 7, 2007

Murder Complicates Prosecutorgate

Following the threads of Prosecutorgate gives rise to more questions. In the case of John McKay, former U.S. Attorney from Washington State, was he fired to cover up a murder?

The Washington Post reports that McKay was singled out for dismissal 18 months earlier than previously revealed because senior Justice Department officials did not like his interest in investigating the murder of a federal prosecutor.

On October 11, 2001, federal prosecutor Tom Wales was killed by a bullet through his neck while sitting in front of his computer at home. If the murderer was motivated by Wales' work as an assistant United States attorney, it would have been the first time a federal prosecutor had been slain on the job. FBI agents sent to investigate suspected Wales was targeted by a Bellevue airline pilot who was once prosecuted by Wales. The pilot, a firearms enthusiast, is also believed by agents to have resented Wales' off-duty activities as a gun-control advocate. The agents could never prove conclusively that the pilot was their man.

Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, told congressional investigators he believes he "may have" recommended McKay's removal in March 2005 because of conflicts with senior Justice Department officials over the Wales murder investigation.

The connection between the Wales investigation and McKay's firing first came to light as former deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before a Congressional hearing on Thursday, May 3. He said that McKay "cared very passionately about finding the person who killed" Wales.

No Justice official traveled from Washington, D.C. to attend Wales' memorial service.

I don't want to sound conspiratorial but look at the facts. Kyle Sampson told Congressional investigators that John McKay was a problem 1-1/2 years before previously noted because of his ardent pursuit of the murderer of an assistant federal prosecutor in the Seattle office. Senior Justice Department officials didn't like that. Why? Did they not care for Wales because of his politics? Did they just not care? Or is there something more sinister at work?

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