Friday, June 22, 2012

Only the Shadow Knows

A couple of nights ago, when Political Sphere got home from work (he gets off at midnight), I told him, “It’s official; Eric Holder is contemptible.” Yes, Congressman Issa had held the vote as promised, when Holder stonewalled and failed to provide any of the documents that had been subpoenaed.

Now, we have known he was contemptible for some time—at least since he announced that he would not prosecute voter intimidation cases against the New Black Panthers. Because he is racist. There is no other explanation for that. He is not head of the DOJ for US citizens, but only for selected special interests that he favors.
There are plenty of reasons for us to hold him in contempt. But the contempt ruling from Congress means the same as it would in a court of law: he failed to respond to the subpoena.
Early on there was a dribble of documents that were supplied, only a tiny fraction of what was required, but there were some few hundred pages supplied. At that point Holder and the Obama administration were saying the president and head of the DOJ had no knowledge of the operation. That is a huge admission of incompetence in the administration, but it is an attempt to exonerate the higher-ups.
They could not claim executive privilege on something that had never come before them. But now suddenly that is the claim. Executive privilege has a legitimate purpose. The President must be able to get candid communications from those who brief and advise him, or else he’s not in a position to make a fully informed decision. So those advisors must be able to speak openly without some public scrutiny of every word later. That is the main purpose. An additional but weaker argument for executive privilege would be national security—that sources or processes and procedures, if they were to be open to public scrutiny (including international scrutiny, which the news media assure), could endanger those who work to secure the nation.
Executive privilege may not be invoked to cover up wrongdoing; that was settled by the courts during the Nixon era. And yet, the more Holder insists on EP while simultaneously insisting “I knew nothing,” and “The President knew nothing,” the more he sounds like a liar trying to obstruct justice. Why would he risk going to prison to cover up documents that show no wrongdoing by him or the president? More likely, he’s withholding documents that would prove wrongdoing that would also likely lead to prison.
So this was what I was opining to Political Sphere, when he came up with another theory altogether. Here is how he tells it (with tongue firmly in cheek—and have you noticed how difficult it is to talk that way?):
Some say that Barack Obama’s previous claim that he and Eric Holder knew nothing about Fast and Furious contradicts his extension of executive privilege over said Fast and Furious documents. Au contraire. He is merely admitting what conspiracy theorists have known for decades—that there is a shadow government that rules over the president’s every decision. They were the ones who authorized the Fast and Furious operation, which they failed to mention to either Obama or Eric Holder. Happens all the time. No need to interrupt his golf game.
So, truthfully, they had no knowledge; they wouldn’t lie about such a thing. Executive privilege can still be invoked, even on information the president and his DOJ head did not know about, because, well, the shadow government would not be pleased to have its machinations, er, um, policies and processes revealed.
Right. Now I totally understand. Who wouldn’t do the same in their shoes? Obama and Holder have my sympathy.

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