An Attorney's Journey

Dan Bogden, one of the nine U.S. attorneys fired so controversially during President Bush's second term, never really got an explanation of why he was dismissed...and now he might get his old job back under the new administration: on Friday, President Obama nominated Bogden to return to his old post as U.S. attorney in Nevada.

A congressional investigation has yielded no answers for Bogden. In April, Murray Waas chronicled Bogden's plight for The Atlantic; despite exhaustive research and interviews, no one in the Bush administration ultimately took responsibility for deciding to fire Bogden, who is held in high esteem by fellow U.S. attorneys. At informal annual reunions, the fired U.S. attorneys speculated as to why Bogden was dismissed:

It has also become something of a pastime at these gatherings for the former prosecutors to speculate as to why Bogden was terminated. David Iglesias, the ex-U.S. attorney for New Mexico, observed to me: "Most of us have gotten some sense, if not a good sense, as to why we were fired. But unlike the rest of us, Dan has never had that. There has never been any credible allegation or unyielding reason known as to why he was fired."

Waas noted in April that, if Bogden returns, it will be part of a larger project by the new administration--to send a message that its Justice Department won't be politicized, as the last one had so forcefully been accused of--a project that has included a replacement of the boss Bogen may return to serve under:

If Bogden is reappointed as U.S. attorney, his supervisor will be one of the authors of the Justice Department's report on the U.S. attorney firings that praised Bogden and severely criticized the Bush administration appointees who fired him. Last Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder reassigned H. Marshall Jarrett, the head of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility, to head the executive office of U.S. attorneys, where he will oversee the nation's 94 U.S. attorneys. By naming Jarrett to his new position, a senior Obama administration official told me, "I think this administration is sending a message that the era of politicization of the Department should be long due over." The same official told me: "The continued service of Dan Bogden might hopefully send the same message."