Remarks Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at Farewell Ceremony

WASHINGTON , Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following are prepared remarks by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey : Good morning. Thank you all for being here. Before I begin my remarks, I want to take a moment to specifically...

WASHINGTON , Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following are prepared remarks by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey :

Good morning. Thank you all for being here.

Before I begin my remarks, I want to take a moment to specifically thank the Deputy Attorney General for his service to the Department. Although he knew from the start that he would serve only for a limited period, and although the confirmation process shortened that period even further, Mark willingly gave up a lifetime appointment as a federal judge for the good of the Department and the country. He has brought a first-class intelligence, wit, integrity and work ethic to the job, to the great benefit of the Department and of me personally. Although there won't be a formal farewell ceremony for Mark, I wanted to announce today that I will be presenting him -- in a private ceremony -- with the Randolph award, which is the highest award I can bestow on a Department employee. Please join me in thanking Mark for his service.

I also want to thank my family, who regrettably will receive no formal award. My wife Susan, who has made great sacrifices in the past 14 months, not to speak of the sacrifices she made on my behalf before that; my daughter Jessica, who is here, and my son Marc, who regrettably could not be here. They have put up with both my absence and my occasionally distracted presence, as well as the inevitable tensions that go along with a public life -- all without any of the psychic benefits that have accrued to me from serving here.

It was 14 months ago that I stood in this hall and took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution -- the same oath taken by those who preceded me as Attorney General and by all attorneys and agents of the Department. In addition to taking the oath that day, I gave you a pledge -- among other things, to use all the strength of my mind and body to help you continue to protect the freedom and security of the people of this country, and their civil rights and liberties; to take the counsel, not only of my own insights but also of yours; and to give you the leadership you deserved. I am not here to give you an accounting of whether I fulfilled that oath and that pledge -- that is a task for others -- but rather to thank you for helping me try to fulfill that oath and that pledge.

On that day, as now, the Great Hall was quite full. I was pleased at the time, although in retrospect much of what brought people here that day may have been simple curiosity: What's the new guy going to be like? Today, I hope that some affection and perhaps respect may have a little more to do with the size of the crowd. But it may well be curiosity again. Can the Attorney General get through a speech and remain vertical?

When I arrived here 14 months ago, I was very much the newcomer to this building. Although I had served as an Assistant United States Attorney many years ago, I had never served here at Main Justice. I learned, of course, that although this building has a sign that reads "Department of Justice" on the outside, the Department is much more than what occurs here in Washington , important as that is (and I will get to that in a moment). The army that is the Department of Justice operates principally in the field rather than at headquarters. To most of the American people, the face of Justice -- and that is "justice" with both a capital and a lower-case "J" -- is what they see happening in their own communities rather than what happens here.

That includes what the American people see in the work of the prosecutors and law enforcement officers who make up this Department -- at the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the Marshals Service, and the U.S. Attorneys' Offices. It also includes the activities of those who operate out of the public eye but on whom much of our safety and security depends -- for example, the men and women at the Bureau of Prisons who deal with the once notorious but now too often forgotten members of our society.

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