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Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates Delivers Remarks at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys Director’s Awards Ceremony


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good afternoon.  Thank you Monty [Wilkinson] for that kind introduction and thank you for your outstanding leadership of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA).  The U.S. Attorney community, and indeed the entire department, is fortunate to have you at the helm of EOUSA.

I am so pleased to be able to share this day with all of you.  This is the one day each year when we pause to recognize and celebrate the truly outstanding work done by members of the U.S. Attorney community all across the country.  I haven’t been here in Washington long, but I’ve been here long enough to know that some folks lose perspective inside the beltway and think that everything important happens in D.C., but the truth of the matter is that we are first and foremost a field organization.  The vast majority of the department’s litigation, the heart of our work, takes place in U.S. Attorney’s Offices all across our great country.  Day in and day out, in every corner of the country, hard-working Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and staff are ensuring that the law is a force for justice.  You are the ones making our communities safer, giving voice to victims and helping to protect the American people.  You are the ones who define this department for the public we serve.

And today, I’m privileged to join you as we honor individuals who carry out this sacred responsibility with integrity and resolve – and who embody the very best of what the department represents.

The achievements being recognized today reflect the breadth of the department’s responsibilities and some of our most significant challenges.  From dismantling dangerous gangs, drug cartels and human trafficking operations, to tackling political corruption, white collar crimes and international terrorism, these awardees have taken on our toughest cases.  And the citizens of our country are safer because of their work.

Beyond specific cases, some of you have guided your offices through substantial structural changes and implemented innovative solutions to improve the way your office is managed.  And many of you have made sure to reach back – distinguishing yourselves as leaders by training and mentoring a new generation of prosecutors, assistants and support staff.

The impact of your work far transcends any single project, conviction or settlement.  You can see it in the successful reentry of former inmates to their communities.  Or in the culture shifts made in the boardroom.  Or in the neighborhood freed from gang violence.

These successes are shining examples of what’s possible when AUSAs, agents and administrative staff work together in support of our common mission.  And your efforts will be remembered not just by us, but also by all the people whose lives you’ve made a little better and whose streets you’ve help to make safer.

Sometimes these achievements are marked by singular moments of triumph, but the awards you receive today recognize something more.  They honor the work that happened when no one was watching – the late nights, the long weekends, the extra commitment to excellence that distinguishes the exceptional from the ordinary.

Not only does this come at great personal sacrifice for each of you, but your families have sacrificed as well, which is why I am glad to have the opportunity to say thank you to all of your loved ones who are here.  Thank you for sharing your family member with us at the Department of Justice.  Thank you for understanding those many nights of missed dinners and those vacations spent on email.  Thank you for believing in not only your family member, but also in the mission of this department.

Our department is stronger because of all of you here today.  And so I hope that after all of you return to your offices, you will take the time to share your wisdom with those around you – so that the newer AUSAs and other junior staff members have the chance to learn from you.  It is your commitment to fairness, excellence and integrity that make this institution worthy of its name.       

On behalf of the entire Justice Department, thank you.  Thank you for your dedication, your sacrifice and your commitment to our shared mission to seek justice.

Thank you.




Updated September 29, 2016