July 19, 2014

USA: FLASHBACK Eric Holder Begs Court to Stop Document Release On Fast And Furious When Obama Sold Weapons To Mexican Drug Cartels. Obama Used Executive Privilege To Protect Him.

Breitbart news
written by Matthew Boyle
January 17, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder and his Department of Justice have asked a federal court to indefinitely delay a lawsuit brought by watchdog group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit seeks the enforcement of open records requests relating to Operation Fast and Furious, as required by law.

Judicial Watch had filed, on June 22, 2012, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking all documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious and “specifically [a]ll records subject to the claim of executive privilege invoked by President Barack Obama on or about June 20, 2012.”

The administration has refused to comply with Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, and in mid-September the group filed a lawsuit challenging Holder’s denial. That lawsuit remains ongoing but within the past week President Barack Obama’s administration filed what’s called a “motion to stay” the suit. Such a motion is something that if granted would delay the lawsuit indefinitely.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said that Holder’s and Obama’s desire to continually hide these Fast and Furious documents is “ironic” now that they’re so gung-ho on gun control. “It is beyond ironic that the Obama administration has initiated an anti-gun violence push as it seeking to keep secret key documents about its very own Fast and Furious gun walking scandal,” Fitton said in a statement. “Getting beyond the Obama administration’s smokescreen, this lawsuit is about a very simple principle: the public’s right to know the full truth about an egregious political scandal that led to the death of at least one American and countless others in Mexico. The American people are sick and tired of the Obama administration trying to rewrite FOIA law to protect this president and his appointees. Americans want answers about Fast and Furious killings and lies.”

The only justification Holder uses to ask the court to indefinitely delay Judicial Watch’s suit is that there’s another lawsuit ongoing for the same documents – one filed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Judicial Watch has filed a brief opposing the DOJ’s motion to stay.

As the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was voting Holder into contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators by failing to turn over tens of thousands of pages of Fast and Furious documents, Obama asserted the executive privilege over them. The full House of Representatives soon after voted on a bipartisan basis to hold Holder in contempt.

There were two parts of the contempt resolution. Holder was, and still is, in both civil and criminal contempt of Congress. The criminal resolution was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald Machen–who works for Holder–for prosecution. Despite being technically required by law to bring forth criminal charges against Holder, under orders from Holder’s Department of Justice Machen chose to ignore the resolution.

The second part of the contempt resolution–civil contempt of Congress–allowed House Republicans to hire legal staff to challenge President Obama’s assertion of the executive privilege. That lawsuit remains ongoing despite Holder’s and the DOJ’s attempt to dismiss it and settle it.

It’s unclear what’s in the documents Obama asserted privilege over, but the president’s use of the extraordinary power appears weak. There are two types of presidential executive privilege: the presidential communications privilege and the deliberative process privilege. Use of the presidential communications privilege would require that the president himself or his senior-most advisers were involved in the discussions.

Since the president and his cabinet-level officials continually claim they had no knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious until early 2011 when the information became public–and Holder claims he didn’t read the briefing documents he was sent that outlined the scandal and how guns were walking while the operation was ongoing–Obama says he’s using the less powerful deliberative process privilege.

The reason why Obama’s assertion of that deliberative process privilege over these documents is weak at best is because the Supreme Court has held that such a privilege assertion is invalidated by even the suspicion of government wrongdoing. Obama, Holder, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and virtually everyone else involved in this scandal have admitted that government wrongdoing actually took place in Operation Fast and Furious.

In Fast and Furious, the ATF “walked” about 2,000 firearms into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. That means through straw purchasers they allowed sales to happen and didn’t stop the guns from being trafficked even though they had the legal authority to do so and were fully capable of doing so.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens–estimates put it around at least 300–were killed with these firearms.

The Fast and Furious scandal and more is covered in detail in the New York Times best-selling book Corruption Chronicles.

The Washington Times
written by George Weir
Thursday June 21, 2012

When most of us are ordered to cough up documents, we do it. Not so, if you are Attorney General Eric Holder and you really don’t want to. His boss can protect him by exerting executive privilege.

And that is just what happened Wednesday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (D-Calif.), was set to vote Holder in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents when, at the last hour, President Obama offered Holder a reprieve in the form of executive privilege.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of (R-Iowa) had this to say. “The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions, How can a president assert executive privilege if there was no white house involvement? How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?”

Grassley added that “The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances ... The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it’s never repeated again.”

Despite the executive privilege, the committee did vote, and by 23 to 17 it sent a contempt motion against Holder to the House floor.

The failed Fast and Furious operation sold thousands of guns to arms dealers along the border of Mexico, in hopes of tracing them to the drug cartels. At first glance, this was a stupid idea, and at second glance, it still was. But apparently someone in the DoJ thought differently, and it cost the life of Brian Terry, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, among others.

Brian Terry’s parents, and all Americans, want to see justice served in this matter. Whether this was a matter of bad judgment or willful negligence, whether it was cooked up at low levels and stayed there or whether Holder himself knew about the operation (and when), it has been a tragedy and a policy disaster. Holder owes it to the country to help clear it up, not stonewall.

The full House will by all indications pass a contempt citation. From there the citation will go to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who will deliver it to a grand jury. Whether the grand jury will be able to act or will be blocked by Obama’s use of executive privilege is part of the constitutional drama that will play out this summer. Obama should never have let it go this far.

Executive privilege has been successfully claimed by other presidents, but only when the national security was at stake, and when releasing documents could compromise national security. When they do it to protect themselves from examination for possible wrong doing, as Richard Nixon did, it is justifiably slapped down. In this case, the claim that confidentiality is required so that candor will be maintained in the dealings of the president with his cabinet is not only self-serving, but laughable. This president has made less use of his cabinet as a group of councilors than almost any president in our history. He’s known to all but ignore them, meeting with Holder himself about as often as he’s met with some union bosses.

In this case, holding documents concerning a botched gun running operation is a coverup. It was Holder’s coverup, and now it’s Obama’s. He would rather protect his attorney general than allow justice to be done. Neither of them is fit to protect and enforce the laws of the land.


The Ulsterman Report
written by Ulsterman
Saturday October 1, 2011

In a move reminiscent of past high profile government cover-ups, the Obama Department of Justice dumps long awaited documents to Congressional investigators late Friday night. These documents are said to point to considerable communications between high ranking Obama administration officials and the Fast and Furious operation.

With such a link now firmly established, the words of both Attorney Eric Holder and President Barack Obama as having been unaware of the operation appear increasingly improbable – perhaps outright dishonest. The Friday night document dump discloses repeated contact between Obama White House National Security staff Kevin O’Reilly and ATF Special Agent of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell – the on-the-ground supervisor for the operation itself.

The just-disclosed Fast and Furious documents also showed an Obama White House still unwilling to fully cooperate with the investigation. A memo from chief counsel to President Barack Obama, Kathryn Ruemmler, indicated the administration had no intention of releasing multitiple communications between White National Security staff apparently involved in monitoring the progress of the Fast and Furious operation from the White House.

While the information contained in those and likely numerous other hidden communications remain unknown, what is clear now is the Obama White House and its cadre of legal representatives are working overtime attempting to further stonewall the Congressional investigation into the deadly debacle that is the Fast and Furious operation – an operation that saw an Obama administration willingly handing deadly weapons to known criminals [federal govt supplied leathal weapons to the Mexican Drug Cartel (emphasis mine)] engaged in open violation of American law.

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