After an 18-month investigation into the administration’s firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, the Justice Department inspector general released his report (PDF) this morning. Investigators found "significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor" in the firings of "several" of the U.S. attorneys.

But the report, a whopping 392 pages, stops short of any firm conclusions because of "the refusal by certain key witnesses to be interviewed by us, as well as by the White House's decision not to provide internal documents." Among the witnesses who refused to be interviewed were former White House officials (including Karl Rove and Harriet Miers), former Justice Department official Monica Goodling and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), who played a role in the removal of U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias. As a result, Inspector General Glenn Fine recommends that a special counsel, appointed by the attorney general, continue the probe.

In a statement this morning, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he was following suit. He's asked Nora Dannehy, a career prosecutor who's currently serving as the acting U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to fill the role.