DALLAS, May 16th, 2013 – New details regarding the Benghazi disaster, the IRS’ harassment of conservatives and the Justice Department’s spying on journalists materialize daily. Every revelation fuels investigative fires likely to confirm how high each scandal scaled the bureaucratic hierarchy. Eventually, those responsible must face consequences for corruption and deceit.
Unlike the inquiries surrounding Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service’s political bullying, the scandal implicating Eric Holder’s Justice Department with unconstitutional spying activities is fairly straightforward.
As reported, the DoJ secretly obtained two months of phone records from journalists, treading on the First Amendment in the process. According to Holder, Deputy Attorney General James Cole “ultimately authorized the subpoena”, but he can no longer hide behind the desks of his subordinates. The buck stops with him.
Political savvy would dictate Holder apologizes, order that Deputy Cole bend to the Associated Press’ request to destroy the records and detail actionable steps preventing future breaches of conduct. But, since the story broke, the Attorney General has continually demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law and affinity for arbitrary justice.
Holder defended the power abuse claiming the safety of the American people was at risk because of the leak. Holder has declined to say if any review of the Justice Department’s policy on searches of reporters’ records would ever occur.
The Associated Press countered his claim and rebuked the charge, but no further comment was issued from the DoJ. Some speculators believe the Department simply wanted revenge for a whistleblower’s leak and violated the privacy of hundreds because it could.
As if unrepentant malfeasance wasn’t enough, Holder later told NPR that he “isn’t sure” how many similar seizures he’s authorized. “I take them very seriously. I know that I have refused to sign a few [and] pushed a few back for modifications.” Holder values our cherished constitutional protections so dearly that he can’t recall when he’s allowed violations.
These actions should be the proverbial nail in the coffin for an Attorney General whose reputation and integrity are already stained by years of constitutional hypocrisy and abusive, negligent conduct.
1. ARBITRARY LAWLESSNESS
During his tenure, Holder has defended the assassination of an American citizen and his teenage son based on allegations. When questioned, Holder argued that “due process” does not mean what centuries of legal tradition have defined it to mean.
According to the AG, Congress, by passing 2001’s Authorization for Use of Military Force, granted the president execution powers for anyone deemed a terrorist. “Terrorist” status, which according to Biden includes the Tea Party, can be exclusively decided by the president and his elite group of counselors just like the kings of Europe.
When challenged on equally controversial statements, he refused to concede the illegality of government assassination of non-combatants without due process on U.S. soil.
He later informed Congress that the president can authorize lethal force against Americans that are “imminent threats” without charges or evidence, and that Congress is powerless to limit this presidential right. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) later extracted from Holder that the executive interpretation of “imminent” does not always mean “immediate”.
A 13-hour filibuster by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was required for Holder to clarify that President Obama could not murder Americans with drones.
2. SELECTIVE FEDERAL INTIMIDATION
Holder arbitrarily invokes the Supremacy Clause to bully states nullifying unconstitutional, and therefore illegal, federal laws when it pleases him. He deliberately leverages the power of the Justice Department when it is politically satisfactory.
He now allows states to nullify the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act and legislate the will of their people without prosecution, but warns states nullifying Washington’s failed gun-grabbing efforts that federal law reigns supreme. His defenses are often simplistic and smack of authoritarianism, revealing a belief that the Tenth Amendment does not exist.
The expensive, fruitless war on marijuana perpetuates violence along the southern border, has cost the taxpayers dearly, normalizes paramilitary police-state tactics and is overwhelmingly unpopular. After several states nullified unconstitutional federal prohibition, the Department of Justice threatened them with prosecution, attacked businesses and property and continued to incarcerate private citizens that disobey federal authority.
Holder remains firm that restrictions Washington bureaucrats passed 40 years ago trumps the people’s will and the right of states to reject over-reaching federal dictates.
3. THE DOJ’S AGGRESSIVE WAR ON TRUTH
The Department of Justice is a hotbed of corruption and whistleblowers are systematically destroyed and intimidated into silence. Six individuals have been prosecuted under Holder, more than any other administration. He has argued that journalists are not legally protected against criminal charges should they fail to reveal their sources when the government wants them.
Continuing its war on truth, the department wasted taxpayer resources building a case against WikiLeaks whistleblowing leader Julian Assange for his role in disseminating documents that embarassed corrupt bureaucrats. As reported by the New York Times, Holder was grasping to prosecute Assange, “as a co-conspirator to the leaking … to make an example of him as a deterrent to further mass leaking“.
4. ELITIST HYPOCRISY
During Fast and Furious scandal, Holder was caught lying under oath. This alone was grounds for impeachment, but the AG was saved from implication in the deadly gun-smuggling scandal by Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege. Though Holder exerted his expectation of privacy for the powerful, his bureaucracy asserts average Americans have no privilege of privacy from the prying eyes of justice.
The Department of Justice believes they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files any time they desire despite court rulings to the contrary.
As reported by Declan McCullagh at CNET, “The Justice Department’s disinclination to seek warrants for private files stored on the servers of companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft continued even after a federal appeals court in 2010 ruled that warrantless access to e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment.”
The American people do not know how this information is being used or abused and why the Justice Department feels entitled to the private lives of anyone and everyone, because under Holder’s leadership, a culture of elitism and power-privilege has infected the Justice Department.
Establishing and perpetuating separate rules for the powerful and the powerless is the opposite of justice. Dangerous precedents were set post 9/11 and powers the federal government gifted itself have only continued to expand.
As Esquire’s Charles Pierce explained, “Yes, the Bush people wiretapped without warrants. Yes, they trod upon the rule of law. Yes, they set all manner of horrible precedents for future presidents to follow. Yes, the phone companies rolled over, the way they all rolled over, and doesn’t the president’s reversal on telecom immunity back during the 2008 campaign look even more interesting now? And, no, none of that matters.”
The American system was designed to restrain power-hungry bureaucrats, and it has failed. Secrecy, corruption and selective prosecutions are usually the marks of third world nations that manipulate the law, or circumvent it, to maintain power and crush dissent. The only way to restore any semblance of integrity and justice to the Department Holder administrates is to remove him from office.
Successors must know that feigning ignorance and blatant malfeasance will no longer be tolerated without consequences. Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell was incarcerated for 19 months at Maxwell Air Force Base for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
Considering Holder’s activities, resignation should be the least of his concerns. If he does not resign, Congress must act to impeach him or admit complicity.
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