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According to McClatchy newspapers and Talking Points Memo, Senator Diane Feinstein has gone on record suggesting a link between the timing of Carol Lam's firing and her investigation into the MZM/Hookergate scandal.  From the McClatchy story:

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Earlier this week, Josh Marshall put together a timeline of how Lam's investigation expanded beyond Duke Cunningham to include Dusty Foggo and Jerry Lewis in the days before Kyle Sampson identified Lam as a problem.  Today Feinstein suggested on TV that the timing of this email connected the probe to Lam's firing.  McClatchy's story leads with Feinstein's suggestion and the frame of the purge as an response to the MZM investigation.

In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Feinstein said she'd not yet decided what motivated Lam's dismissal.

"There were clearly U.S. attorneys that were thorns in the side for one reason or another of the Justice Department," Feinstein said. "The attorney general has said he did not know what was going on ... that is very difficult for me to believe."

Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA.

On May 11, 2006, Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales' chief of staff, sent an e-mail to deputy White House counsel William Kelley, asking Kelley to call to discuss "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

The e-mail did not spell out what the "real problem" was, and it was unclear whether Kelley and Sampson talked later.

The hearings this week should be interesting if Feinstein is already voicing this connection before the anticipated document dump.  Kudos again to Josh and the TPM staff for pursuing this story and to McClatchy for their perspective as the scandal mushrooms.

Originally posted to Nuisance Industry on Sun Mar 18, 2007 at 08:21 PM PDT.

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