Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Obama invokes executive privilege

  1. Jun 20, 2012 #1
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/20/12317893-obama-invokes-executive-privilege-over-doj-documents?lite [Broken]

    Executive privilege even over documents that are largely discoverable when any case goes to court. This really has a bad smell to it. I wonder if this would have worked for Bush with Valerie Plame, Reagan with Iran/Contra, or Nixon in Watergate. Funny thing to me is the position that the subpoena interferes and exposes the private deliberations of the President and his staff. I don't know how you could get more private than the Oval Offices tapes were for Nixon, yet the SCOTUS said to hand them over AND NIXON DID. In the words of George Santayana; "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    Anyone still think he has nothing to hide? It's the coverup stupid.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2012 #2
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    No offense, but your post makes you sound rather paranoid and/or like a right wing extremist.

    From the same link you posted:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jun 20, 2012 #3
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"


    That's only partly true, but given the source, that's not a surprise. The documents demanded include those that set the stage for the F&F operation, such as wiretap requests. Specifically, Congress wants to know who authorized this operation.

    Pursuant to federal law (source http://www.monnat.com/Publications/Wiretap.pdf [Broken] )- "Because of the Fourth Amendment requirement that no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, the wiretap procedure is, in many respects, like any other search warrant procedure. There must be a sworn application for this type of warrant, based upon which the court issues an order for interception. However, a wiretap requires special judicial and executive authorization. An application for interception may not be filed unless it is first authorized by the attorney general or a specially designated deputy or assistant. The application must identify the officer authorizing the application. Attached to the government’s application should be the authorization, as well as copies of the attorney general’s designations of those Department of Justice officials who have been authorized to approve wiretaps. Unlike traditional search warrants, a federal magistrate judge is not authorized to issue a wiretap. Only a federal district or circuit court judge may issue a wiretap. The application must contain a full and complete statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon to support a belief that an interception order should issue. The issuing judge must determine that there exists probable cause to believe that particular communications concerning the alleged offenses will be obtained through interceptions of communications."

    And the highlighted is a BIG question congress has. Who knew, who authorized, and when, among other things. My father is former FBI and my brother retired when he hit the manditory retirement age of 57. According to them, there is no way this didn't get authorized by the highest levels for several reasons. 1) Wire tap warrent requirements, 2) Cost of the operation (money for weapons, survallence equipment, manpower, etc.), 3) Almost certain cross border transport into Mexico, among other reasons. In fact, my brother stated it was unlikely this operation would have taken place without some knowledge in the State Department, since international borders and operations in Mexico would be involved.

    "you sound rather paranoid". Nah, I've just seen our government at work before.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Jun 20, 2012 #4
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"


    *Yawn*, sorry but this just looks like more of the same from the Bush administration.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jun 20, 2012 #5
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    This is the "pre-season game" for the upcoming WH national security leaks "bowl game". :biggrin:
     
  7. Jun 21, 2012 #6
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    I doubt the Saudi that was exposed in the new underwear bomb plot thought this was a game. He went from an imbedded covert asset to a man on the run. Probably on the run for life. So, the one man on inside of Al Qaeda was burned for what reason? And, who will be held accountable when the next successful attack occurs that could have been avoided if the asset wasn't burnt?

    Here's a link for the use of executive privilege as determined by SCOTUS in US v Nixon, as explained by Judge Napolitano: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012...orney-general-holder-and-executive-privilege/ . It's not looking so good for Obama's use in this case. If the Judge is correct: "In US v. Nixon (1974), the Supreme Court decision that came just two weeks before, and arguably precipitated, President Nixon’s resignation from the presidency, the Court articulated the only three constitutionally permissible bases for the presidential claim of executive privilege.

    The only bases for the invocation of the privilege are the need to protect secret deliberations and communications intended ultimately for the president that pertain to (a) military, or (b) diplomatic, or (c) sensitive national security matters. Just because two or more people in the White House discussed a matter or reviewed documents does not clothe their discussion or their document review with executive privilege. The conversation or document review must be integral to advising the president on his official duties, and it must fit into one or more of (a) or (b) or (c) above
    ."

    Additionally, if correct, it appears the President hasn't technically fulfilled the requirements for declaring executive privilege: "The invocation of the privilege can only be made by the president himself. Thus, President Obama will need to articulate and explain into which category--(a) or (b) or (c) above--his claim of privilege falls, and he will need to do so personally, either in person or in writing. The mere request by the attorney general for the president to invoke the privilege does not lawfully invoke it. As of this writing, the president has not yet done this."

    Given Judge Napolitano's experience, I assume he knows what he is talking about when he says "It is unheard of for Department of Justice (DoJ) officials to bring documents in an on-going criminal investigation to the White House, and discuss them there. It is equally unheard of for White House advisors to go to the DoJ and discuss documents pertaining to an on-going criminal investigation there. We know that the documents in question pertain to an on-going criminal investigation because Attorney General Holder has repeatedly so stated in sworn testimony." Which begs the question, How do you claim executive privilege for something you claim you never knew about that dealt with an ongoing criminal investigation, where some of the requested documents would be produced as evidence in a criminal case away?


    If the Judge is correct, the discussions outside DoJ (e.g. WH Staff) with an active case may have been a further violation of the law. "Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, DoJ documents involved in an on-going criminal investigation can only lawfully be discussed or reviewed--at the White House or at the DoJ or anywhere else--with persons lawfully involved in the criminal investigation or the administration of the criminal justice system. That leaves very few human beings outside the DoJ and inside the White House with whom Attorney General Holder or his DoJ colleagues may have lawfully discussed these documents. Certainly the president himself would be in this category."
     
  8. Jun 21, 2012 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Obama campaigned on and won based on "I'm better than Bush and McCain is just another Bush." If Obama uses the "I'm just like Bush" defense, he loses the thing that got him elected last time around!
     
  9. Jun 21, 2012 #8
    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"


    Yes he did campaign on that. Hence why you should never take a politician's word for it, no matter the political affiliation.
     
  10. Jun 23, 2012 #9

    Bobbywhy

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    In my opinion comparing Obama's use of Ex. Priv. last week to Nixon's use of it does not make sense. The cases are not similar in the slightest. Even though there are ObamaHaters out there who are quick to bring up Watergate, Nixon was a disgraceful example of unlawfulness, not just in his use of Ex. Priv. And that black chapter in our US history is hardly close to what we have here today.
     
  11. Jun 23, 2012 #10

    Bobbywhy

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    One use of Ex. Privelege hardly equates to "I'm just like Bush". That seems like an oversimplification.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  12. Jun 23, 2012 #11
    Nor would I ever equate the two in seriousness. The Nixon usage of Executive Privilege was brought up only for the purpose of illustrating the most personal deliberations that directly involve the President in the most sacred of executive branch offices aren't automatically protected, so the protection of those under the President and didn't involve him is an even lower threshold. The point being made in my posts reflects on the gravity of situation with F&F being so significant as to warrant the use of Executive Privilege. Remember Executive Privilege dates back to G. Washington in 1796, and has generally been used sparingly. If you remember President Clinton tried to use it over the Lewinsky scandal, and the court rejected it. I think we can all agree the F&F operation is much more significant than the Lewinsky scandal (i.e. people didn't die and it's not a personal matter between consenting adults), which IMO, should never have moved forward.

    Again, my point is very simple, Congress has a Constitution oversight role, and it investigates DoJ, DoE, civil rights, voting rights, Federal Reserve, and a host of other operations that fail to fulfill the will of Congress in relation to laws past or laws needed. Given the historically limited us of Executive Privilege and the seriousness of the impact on lives of Mexicans and the Terry family, what makes this case rise to the level?

    BTW, good summary of EP use in history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  13. Jun 23, 2012 #12
    Lets back track a bit and find out the origins of this situation. It didn't start with Obama.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mérida_Initiative

    It goes deeper than just politics:

    Note that when it was still called Project Gun Runner Holder was not in office.


    As for the wire taps does any logical person think that every wire tap goes all the way up to the U.S. Attorney general?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog...-issa-targets-july-4-deadline-contempt-decis/

    So now the same people who complained about a 2,000 page health care bill demand another 80,000 pages pertaining to fast and Furious.

    From my point of view this is a political witch hunt.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  14. Jun 24, 2012 #13

    OmCheeto

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Seems even Holder thinks so.
    I don't watch TV, so the following video may be old news: http://bcove.me/ouf8i9x9

    The transcript can be found in a few different places.

    In response to Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, accusing him of, well, all sorts of bad stuff:

    On January 30, 2012, a 95 page minority report was issued.
    I wonder if anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix has been interviewed by congress lately, or would that make too much sense. Probably make for a boring news story too. No ones interested in the burning of little witches.
     
  15. Jun 24, 2012 #14
    That pretty much sums it up. There is a lot going on here in Southern Arizona that never makes the news. Stings, swat team raids, shoot outs by illegals and drug runners, it is truly unbelievable.

    Brian terry the agent that was killed was not an ordinary Border Patrol member. He was a member of a tactical team that operated under a program called Bortac.

    http://bortac.com/

    There are many operations all going on simultaneously. ICE, DEA, Border Patrol, Bortac, and FBI are all running operations in Southern Arizona at the same time.

    Border Patrol in particular is under a lot of pressure not to use lethal force unless fired upon. The first weapons fired by Terry's team were bean bags fired from shot guns.

    http://tucsoncitizen.com/view-from-baja-arizona/2011/03/03/bean-bag-rounds-were-used-by-border-patrol-before-agent-terrys-murder-feds-admit/ [Broken]

    The various agencies involved have to figure this out and prevent it from ever happening again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  16. Jun 24, 2012 #15

    OmCheeto

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Thank you Edward. I find it's always good to have someone on the front line, to get the pulse, of what is/has been really going on.

    1984? That's quite some time for this to have been going on without me being made aware of it.

    And what an interesting blogosphere you have:

    bolding mine

    Reminds me of PF, in a way.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  17. Jun 24, 2012 #16

    chemisttree

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Issa’s committee did try to interview the US Attorney’s Office Chief of the Criminal Division Phoenix, Patrick Cunningham. After months of stonewalling, he was subpoenaed to testifiy on Jan. 19, 2012. In response, he chose to plead the fifth and to resign a week later.

    Cunningham had given false information to US Attorney Dennis Burke regarding F&F that eventually made its way into a letter submitted 4 Feb, 2011 to Issa’s oversight committee and was later retracted by the DOJ. Cunningham and Burke both denied to Issa’s oversight committee that gunrunning had even occurred! Burke was forced to resign in August of 2011.

    So it’s natural, once the minor players were incriminated and resigned in disgrace, to see how far up the DOJ food chain the knowledge of this disgusting operation led.

    They’re interested in witches of all sizes.
     
  18. Jun 24, 2012 #17
    .

    It was disgusting because it failed, not because of the concept. There are thousands of weapons pouring into Mexico from all over the country. Going up the food chain at this point will only worsen the problem in Mexico. The Cartel leaders must be loving this,The NRA and their conspiracy theory certainly are.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-03-18-cartelguns_N.htm


    Long read, a comprehensive report on Fast and Furious: It would be too confusing or possibly misleading to take anything out of context here.

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarep...un-probe-operation-fast-and-furious-fall.html
     
  19. Jun 24, 2012 #18

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    Crediting low exec priv instances to Obama is silly. The relevant issue is how many times the Congress pushes the executive branch to the point of having to claim exec priv. How many times would one expect a Pelosi/Reed Congress to demand documents hidden behind exec privilege?
     
  20. Jun 24, 2012 #19

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    Bush administration?
     
  21. Jun 24, 2012 #20

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Obama, can you say "Watergate"

    I don't think claiming exec. privilege here is unlawful, unlike, say, the executive order on immigration, which clearly is unlawful.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook