June 21, 2012
In a vein effort to cover his tracks and protect his cohorts, President Barack Obama is claiming “executive privilege” regarding Fast and Furious (F&F) documents that expose their operation to smuggle weapons into Mexico by way of US agents that were handed off directly to Mexican drug cartels.
The House Oversight Committee (HOC), headed by Chair Darrell Issa, is flat out demanding that classified and undisclosed documents that show the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Attorney General Eric Holder were directly involved with the F&F operation.
Just as the Oversight Committee votes on holding Holder in contempt or not, Obama claims a thinly veiled retreat; perhaps to mitigate his exposed connection to the DoJ’s involvement in the ruined operation.
Holder had attempted to subvert responsibility by offering to negotiate with Congress; yet Issa refused, moving forward with a motion for contempt of Congress.
Issa asserts: “The committee has uncovered serious wrongdoing by the Justice Department. That wrongdoing has cost lives on both sides of the border.”
James Cole, Deputy Attorney General for the DoJ, wrote a letter to Issa acknowledging Holder’s “failure to comply with the Committee’s subpoena of October 11, 2011” however they claim they have made an “extraordinary effort to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests” and provided “over 7,600 pages of documents and has made numerous high-level officials available for public congressional testimony, transcribed interviews, and briefings.”
The DoJ is choosing to call out their authority and hope to intimidate the HOC into ceasing all pursuant activity. By citing that the DoJ’s Attorney General has opened an investigation in F&F, and that it is ongoing, supplants nothing. It only ensures by their words that getting caught during a covert operation will “not occur again.”
Holder and Obama have been discussing how to handle the F&F scandal. Choosing to hide under the cover of US presidency has only stood to fuel questions about Obama’s participation, knowledge and role in the operation.
Earlier this week, Holder advised Obama to use his executive privilege card concerning the internal documents of the F&F operations that would “have significant, damaging consequences.”
Holder went on to explain that handing over the documents to Congress “would inhibit candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight.”
In an effort to downplay Obama’s use of executive privilege, Eric Schultz, White House spokesman said: “dating back to President Reagan, presidents have asserted executive privilege 24 times. President Obama has gone longer without asserting the privilege in a congressional dispute than any president in the last three decades.”
However House Speaker John Boener points out that Obama’s choice “implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed.”
Executive privilege can be overturned with a court order, however history shows it is resolved mostly through negotiations .
The HOC has decided to hold Holder in contempt for failing to cooperate with their congressional inquiry into F&F.
Holder asserted that the HOC action was “divisive” and “does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer.”
Holder maintains that his job is to “protect the American people” and this Committee is subverting his efforts to execute his job properly.
The family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed by member of a Mexican drug cartel with guns that the DoJ provided them through F&F, has come forth to respond to Obama’s use of executive privilege.
Their statement reads that “President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth.”
The Terry family have been requesting for over a year and a half for the US government to hold those responsible within the government to “justice and accountability”. They recognize that it is very “disappointing that [the Terry family] are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”