gonzales mishandled 18 classified docs on his 1st day

gonzales mishandled 18 classified docs on his 1st dayfrom washington times: The Justice Department's internal watchdog said Tuesday that former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales had only been on the job a few hours the first time he mishandled highly classified documents.

All told, a report from Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine concluded, Mr. Gonzales failed to properly secure 18 top-secret documents related to National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance and detainee-interrogation programs.

The report is the latest in a series from Mr. Fine's office that have been highly critical of Mr. Gonzales and the Justice Department under his leadership. Mr. Gonzales resigned in 2007 after two tumultuous years at his post. But whereas previous reports found concerted efforts by staff to fill department ranks with conservatives or Republicans, the latest report suggests carelessness.

The report concluded that Mr. Gonzales brought home notes that included classified information from a meeting about the NSA surveillance program. It also found that he improperly kept 17 other classified documents in a safe outside his office at the Justice Department that at least five staff members without appropriate clearances could access.

The Inspector General concluded that the violations were serious enough to refer the case to the Justice Department's National Security Division (NSD) for possible criminal prosecution.

"After conducting a thorough review of the matter and consulting with senior career officials inside and outside of the division," said Justice spokesman Dean Boyd, "the NSD ultimately determined that prosecution should be declined."