Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'm in somewhat over my head talking about the Obama administration's assertion of executive privilege regarding internal Justice Department documents in the Fast and Furious case, but I don't buy the notion that there's something unprecedented about asserting this privilege for documents that don't involve direct communication with the president doing the asserting:
"How can the 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?" [Senator Charles] Grassley said in a statement.
Well, in 2001, less than a year after his inauguration, President Bush claimed executive privilege for FBI documents in a decades-old scandal:
President Bush invoked executive privilege today for the first time in his administration to block a Congressional committee trying to review documents about a decades-long scandal involving F.B.I. misuse of mob informants in Boston.
The chief of staff of the Justice Department's criminal division, Michael Horowitz, told Congress that the documents in question were, in the words of Media Matters, "deliberative DOJ documents, not documents pertaining to the president or the White House."

I'd also note that in 1986, President Reagan invoked executive privilege after nominating William Rehnquist to be chief justice of the Supreme Court -- but the documents Reagan wanted to shield had been generated nearly two decades earlier:
President Reagan refused this evening to allow members of the Senate to see internal memorandums that William H. Rehnquist wrote from 1969 to 1971, when he was a high-ranking Justice Department official in the Nixon Administration....

The documents dealt with civil rights, civil liberties, wiretapping and surveillance of radical groups....
Reagan eventually backed down in that case -- but please note that he was attempting to protect documents that weren't even from his administration.

I'm not offering an opinion as to the appropriateness of this practice. I'm just saying that previous presidents have had a fairly flexible view as to when the privilege applies. So I'd say that what Obama is doing is hardly unprecedented, much less totalitarian.


Victor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor said...

The AG is part of the Executive Branch, isn't he?

Then Obama's protecting Holder from Issa's witch-hunt.

They've already turned over thousands of pages of documents, but I guess they're like copies of Obama's birth certificate, and didn't show Issa what he wanted to see.

Issa is, not surprisingly, a total feckin' asshole, who's also a media whore, so he's doing this to keep attention on himself in an election year.

And that this is a feckin' idjiotic program that was started under Bush, has to be hidden by charges against Obama and Holder.

And, if Obama wins, Issa will try to use this to drum-up some BS impeachment accusations.

This, btw, is Obama's first claim of Executive Privilege, and, since they don't/can't acknowledge that a black man can possibly President, how can he claim any "privilege?"

Privileges are for white people.

Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II - ok!

But NOT Obama, or America's other "First Black President" - Clinton.

StillWind said...

Really? No one here is capable of putting the incidences of EP in perspective? I've never heard of your blog before, so I guess it's on me that I would expect that someone who is capable of publishing a blog, would also be capable of understanding the enormity of the crimes apparent in the Fast and Furious fallout. How is anyone capable of disregarding the fact that our ATF was ordered to sell military grade weapons to mexican paramilitary organizations, and we have linked those weapons to hundreds of killings in Mexico, and at least 2 American agents.
These are the facts that we know for sure. There is additional evidence (interoffice emails that we already have) that the purpose of this operations was to use the resulting violence to justify cracking down on the 2nd Amendment.
Now, I don't belong to any political party, but just what kind of a human being can just shrug these facts off? If that's what belonging to a political party does to people, I think we all just found another reason to distrust progressives.
Thanks for revealing yourselves so clearly.

Steve M. said...

There is additional evidence (interoffice emails that we already have) that the purpose of this operations was to use the resulting violence to justify cracking down on the 2nd Amendment.

Yeah? Show me. With a link. And not a link to an article asserting this -- a link to the exact text of the emails.

Or has Katherine Eban already demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that you're smoking gun isn't really smoking?