Justice Dept. Criticized S.F. Prosecutor, Papers Show

Memo suggests Ryan was fired for running a 'fractured' office

Newly released Justice Department documents on the firings of eight federal prosecutors include a scathing evaluation of former San Francisco U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan -- whose district was labeled "one of the most fractured offices in the nation'' -- and reveal that the Bush administration was considering possible replacements more than a year before he was ousted.

The fact that replacements for Ryan and several other U.S. attorneys were being looked at months before they were fired appears to contradict testimony from a former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that no such lists had been in the works.

The documents were among thousands of pages that the Justice Department released Friday to congressional committees looking into the dismissals in December of the eight U.S. attorneys, all originally appointed by President Bush. Gonzales, whose changing explanations of the firings have led top Democrats and some Republicans to call for his resignation, is scheduled to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue Tuesday.

Details here from the San Francisco Chronicle.