James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general from 2003 until August of 2005, told a House Judiciary subcommittee Thursday that he "will not sit by and watch good people smeared."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his aides originally told Congress the prosecutors were fired for performance reasons. Congress and the Justice Department's inspector general are investigating the firings and lawmakers from both parties have said Gonzales should resign.
Comey, who as second in command at the Justice Department oversaw the U.S. attorneys, called Paul Charlton of Arizona "one of the best" and described Daniel Bogden of Las Vegas as "straight as a Nevada highway and a fired-up guy," the Post reported.
"I was inspired by him," Comey said of John McKay of Seattle.
Comey called Carol Lam of San Diego "a fine U.S. attorney" and said he had a "very positive view" of David C. Iglesias of New Mexico.
Comey is now general counsel at Lockheed Martin.