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FROM THIS EPISODE

The firing of eight US Attorneys has raised questions about the Bush Justice Department and partisan politics. Did a Congressional hearing reveal why they were let go? Are routine personnel matters being "overblown?"  Plus, another Russian journalist has died mysteriously and, on Reporter's Notebook, in France, ordinary citizens can now be jailed for doing what journalists do all the time.

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Dan Konecky

Guest Interview Journalist's Suspicious Death and Human Rights in Russia 5 MIN, 58 SEC

There was a funeral today after another Russian journalist died mysteriously, reportedly while working on a story that could upset Russian relations with the US and Israel.  Ivan Safronov died after falling from a fourth story window.  Fred Weir reports from Moscow for the Christian Science Monitor.

Guests:
Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor

Main Topic Fired US Attorneys: Poor Performance or Politics? 33 MIN, 53 SEC

The Bush Justice Department fired eight US Attorneys last December without telling them why.  Yesterday, six testified before Congress, and two said they'd been approached by Republicans in Congress about cases that might have embarrassed Democrats. Were they fired for political reasons, as Democrats claim, or is this "an overblown personnel matter" as insisted today in USA Today by Alberto Gonzales? In the editorial, the Attorney General concedes that his failure to notify them why they were asked to resign led to "wild and inaccurate speculation" about his motives.  Who are the US Attorneys and how much power do they have in the federal justice system?  We hear from journalists, attorneys, and current and former Justice Department officials.

Guests:
Dan Eggen, Reporter, Washington Post
Laurie Levenson, Loyola Law School
Noel Francisco, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate.com (@DahliaLithwick)

Reporter's Notebook New Law Criminalizes the Recording of Violence in France 9 MIN, 15 SEC

Sixteen years ago, an amateur with a camera photographed officers of the LA Police Department beating an unarmed black man. Reported worldwide, the Rodney King incident led to changes in the rules of police behavior. Four days ago, the French constitutional council outlawed "happy slapping," making a provision that would make it illegal for so-called "citizen-journalists" to record such events and post them on line.  Julian Pain works on Internet Freedom in Paris for Reporters without Borders.

Guests:
Julian Pain, Internet Freedom Desk Chief for Reporters without Borders

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