- Apr 12, 2008
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Scandal: The president illegally asserts executive privilege to protect an attorney general who's either a clueless political hack, malevolent or both, withholding answers of who is responsible for a Border Patrol agent's death.
President Obama's contempt for the rule of law hit a new low when, on the eve of a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, he granted his AG's 11th-hour request to hide sought-after documents on Operation Fast and Furious under the cover of executive privilege.
"I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-Feb. 4, 2011, documents," Deputy Attorney General James Cole says in a letter that GOP Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa received just before Wednesday's hearing and vote, a letter that apparently was not mentioned in a last-minute meeting between Issa and Holder Tuesday night.
Or maybe it wasn't the 11th hour at all, but just a long-planned final gambit in the cover-up of who made the decisions in a federally sponsored effort to provide Mexican drug cartels with sophisticated American firearms and who is ultimately responsible for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry with these weapons?
As Fox News anchor Brit Hume recently noted, speaking of Fast and Furious on the web-exclusive "Panel Plus" segment of "Fox News Sunday," "The stench of cover-up on this gun-running operation is very strong indeed."
Executive privilege, as Issa noted in his opening remarks, can only be asserted when it involves direct presidential decision-making and communications. It cannot be invoked, legally, to prevent others in the chain of command from explaining their actions or responding to requests for information on their decisions in which the president is not involved.
Back in February 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch, in response to the investigations by Rep. Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Fast and Furious gun-"walking" program run out of ATF's Phoenix office, wrote a letter stating that the "allegation that ATF 'sanctioned' or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons ... is false."
Later, Deputy Attorney General Cole, in another letter to Congress, wrote: "Facts have come to light during the course of this investigation that indicate the Feb. 4 letter contains inaccuracies." In other words, the Department of Justice lied to Congress. The cover-up continues with the invocation of executive privilege.
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Committee member Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., spoke in written remarks about the active intimidation of ATF agents and potential witnesses in the Fast and Furious probe by high officials at the Department of Justice. As we have reported, some ATF agents have already testified that Fast and Furious and its variants were no accident.
"Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan," ATF Agent John Dodson told Issa's committee. "It was so mandated." ATF agent Olindo James Casa said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms."
Fast and Furious has become worse than Watergate. No one died at Watergate. Just what is in those documents that Obama and Holder so desperately want to hide? Brian Terry's family and the American people deserve answers.