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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys’ Awards Ceremony


Washington, DC
United States

Thank you, Marshall [Jarrett]. I appreciate your kind words, and I’m especially grateful for your outstanding leadership of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys – and your decades of service to our nation’s Justice Department.

As many of you have heard me say before, I, too, have been the beneficiary of Marshall’s guidance and direction. And I know, firsthand, what it’s like to have him as a boss. You see, when I first joined the Department – more years ago than I’d like to say – Marshall was one of my supervisors. As I recall, he’s quite a taskmaster – and was an excellent mentor. It was a privilege to work for him. And I’m grateful to still be working with him – and with the extraordinary staff team that he leads.

I want to thank every member of the EOUSA office for the time and energy you put into planning this special day – and for the contributions that you make every day to support the critical work of all 94 United States Attorneys’ Offices.

In addition to all of the proud friends and family members who are with us today, it’s a pleasure to welcome so many Assistant United States Attorneys from all across the country. And it’s an honor to share the stage with this group of U.S. Attorneys.

I’m proud of each one of you. And, at times, I’m even jealous of you. As I have said often, the years that I spent serving as U.S. Attorney here in Washington were some of the most exciting, and rewarding, of my career.

In fulfilling the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities, you are on the front lines. You work directly with community members and leaders to solve local problems and to address some of our most urgent national challenges.

You help to strengthen public safety and to secure our borders. You combat violent crime, drug trafficking and gang activity. You fight fraud and corruption. You protect civil rights, and you promote the highest standards of professional conduct.

This year, in particular, your work has been impressive. Despite increasing demands and shrinking budgets, as well as unprecedented challenges and new threats, you have risen to every occasion. Not only have you established an exceptional record of courtroom victories, you have worked to ensure that every American has access to our nation’s justice system. In advancing the Justice Department’s traditional missions, you have employed new technologies and modern techniques. You’ve brought innovative solutions to some of our nation’s most complex problems. And, from coast to coast, you have changed lives, strengthened families and transformed entire communities.

In looking back on what’s been achieved in the last year, there is much great work to celebrate. And there are many colleagues that I am honored to help recognize.

Although the people in this room work alongside some of our nation’s most dedicated and talented public servants, each of today’s 161 Director’s Award recipients has stood out.

Though you serve in 46 different districts – you have brought the same energy, enthusiasm and commitment to your work.

Over the past year, you have identified and implemented successful anti-gang policies. You’ve developed and launched effective anti-drug campaigns. You’ve strengthened relationships with law-enforcement partners and community residents. You have secured the largest fine ever assessed under the Clean Air Act against a single corporation. You have developed daring "false flag" operations to arrest – and to secure guilty pleas – from Cuban spies. You have ensured compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. You have encouraged greater diversity in your ranks. And one of you even led the remarkable effort to take down "Iceman" – the most notorious hacker in United States history. All this, of course, is only a snapshot of what you’ve achieved.

In all of this work, I am grateful, not only to the attorneys, investigators, agents and officers here today, but also to the support staff members who have made these achievements – and many more – possible. Thank you all.

On this occasion, I am reminded of a letter that America’s first President wrote to our nation’s first Attorney General. In 1789 – yes, even before Marshall and I were working here – President George Washington advised Attorney General Edmund Randolph that, "The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government."

More than two centuries later, these words remain true. But, today, the due administration of justice simply would not be possible without a vibrant and dedicated U.S. Attorney community. Your work is essential – not only to our justice system, but also to our democracy.

This is a solemn responsibility. And, in working to fulfill it, I am privileged, and grateful, to count you all as partners.

The many contributions that have marked the last year have been vitally important to the Department, to our nation, and to me. I know that the progress we celebrate today did not come easily – and that it is the result of tremendous personal sacrifice by our awardees, as well as their family members. But this work is not without reward. Each of this year’s award recipients should take great pride in the fact that their efforts have made a positive and lasting impact on the citizens we serve and will leave an enduring imprint on the Department’s work for years to come.

Thank you all. And to each of our awardees, congratulations on a job well done.

Updated August 19, 2015