Obama invokes executive privilege

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  • #26
OmCheeto
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Om, we're Americans here, not Mexicans.
Hi Russ,

Did you know that if you say American, in a Texan accent, it looks just like Mexican?

"Ay'm a Merican, an I luv mai country."

Merican? Mexican? Merican? Mexican?

Got me a few laughs on facebook......

Anyways, I watched numerous congressional videos of Issa vs Holder yesterday, and I can't believe Holder only smirked. I was laughing hysterically. Holder has way more control than I ever will. Issa is, IMHO, the archetypal sleazy politician wielding rhetorical nonsense for his own self interest. And Holder was probably referring to him, as well as Cornyn, when he said that Americans were turned off by the politics in Washington.

ps. My nephew is half Mexican, and works for Honda, in Ohio. I also have relatives in Germany. So we, in my sense, are not American. I'm an Earthling. Though I feel more like a Vulcan sometimes when I see the **** Earthlings do. Quite illogical.
 
  • #27
Bobbywhy
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I don't think the word 'disgusting' applies: the concept was STUPID. I can't fathom why the creators could have expected it to bear much fruit, much less enough to be worth all the blood on their hands, if there could ever be enough. Ok, maybe 'disgusting' does fit: we supplied weapons for the drug cartels to use and didn't care about how many people got killed until those guns killed an American.

We're lucky Mexico is too backwards to be pissed about this.
This last comment about Mexico reminds me of a previous thread here that was on the subject of "American Exceptionalism".
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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I don't see what that has to do with the US.
 
  • #29
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So you're average Joe Texan can buy 30 semiautomatic weapons a week forever, and no one questions that?
Yes, it would be questioned (prob. not at the point of sale), but barring a prohibition for the person owning a gun, it wouldn't be stopped. I would like to see a nationwide InstaCheck system, like some states have that doesn't register and only validates the purchasers right to buy. Funny thing about rights; we have them in the Constitution and it's up to us to use them responsibly. So what anyone else thinks "we need" means nothing. Here is a Q&A for Texas gun purchases: http://www.texasgunlaws.org/ note the one that states:

Q: What is required to purchase a firearm in the state of Texas?

A: You will need a valid state-issued ID. Many FFLs will not sell to out-of-state residents. This is due to the FFL's requirement to uphold your resident state's gun laws, and the inherent complexity associated with many states.


We don't "need" alcohol; we want it, and the last time the government decided we didn't need it, it didn't work out so well. Alcohol kills directly and indirectly http://dontdiedrunk.org/drunk-driving-stats/ [Broken] , but still have the right. But yes, I could go buy 30 guns, if I wanted. It would likely get reported, as paperwork is still required. I would likely be checked out by the government, and they may even stop by to have a chat with me. But, that's all fine. As a practical matter I don't know people that go by multiple guns often. Back in the 60/70s my dad bought each his sons new Belgium made Browning A5 shotguns before they switched to being "Made in Japan". I bought a couple match grade guns (use to shoot competitively) on the same day, so people do it from time to time.


So 35,000 Mexicans are murdered and no one blinks an eye, then ONE American border patrolman gets killed and everyone wants heads to roll?

This reminds me a bit of Vietnam body counts when I was a kid.
I don't think that is the case. Remember one of the big pushes for new gun control laws were guns sales in the US and deaths in Mexico from them. What wasn't known at the time was the government, under Bush and Obama had a big hand in it. Here is a reference dating to before Terry was killed. http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/counting-mexicos-guns/

I really don't see Vietnam as any sort of valid comparison.
 
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  • #30
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I don't think the word 'disgusting' applies: the concept was STUPID. I can't fathom why the creators could have expected it to bear much fruit, much less enough to be worth all the blood on their hands, if there could ever be enough. Ok, maybe 'disgusting' does fit: we supplied weapons for the drug cartels to use and didn't care about how many people got killed until those guns killed an American.

We're lucky Mexico is too backwards to be pissed about this.

On the other hand if Mexico weren't so backwards the whole thing probably wouldn't have happened in the first place.

mheslep said:
Bush administration?
Yep, more specifically the W. Bush Administration.
 
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  • #31
mheslep
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Yep, more specifically the W. Bush Administration.
My question was why are you referencing the Bush administration in regards to AG Holder and Fast and Furious. How is it that this "looks like more of the same"?
 
  • #32
chemisttree
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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.
Going up the food chain is a fait accompli. Senior level DOJ personnel have already been implicated. What is at the heart of Issa's request now is to find out who knew what and when regarding the allegedly untruful testimony by Holder himself (“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks”) and his deputy in that Feb. 4th, 2011 letter. The allegation is that untruthful, sworn testimony was given before a Congressional Committee, which is a felony. The request seeks to find documents to support the contention that the DOJ knowingly gave false information to the oversight committee. It's entirely appropriate and certainly not a witch hunt.

It's a felony. Remember that Scooter Libby went to prision because he testified hearing about Valerie Plame being a CIA operative from meetings with Tim Russert rather than earlier from Cheney. He was not convicted of actually disclosing Plame's CIA status.
 
  • #33
russ_watters
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My question was why are you referencing the Bush administration in regards to AG Holder and Fast and Furious. How is it that this "looks like more of the same"?
I read that as just a grammatically sloppy way of saying Obama was acting like Bush.
 
  • #34
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My question was why are you referencing the Bush administration in regards to AG Holder and Fast and Furious. How is it that this "looks like more of the same"?

Oh, I couldn't tell. So to answer your question, how well do you remember the Bush years? There were a number of times , such as the illegal domestic wiretapping scandal that Bush invoked executive privleges in order to flout congressional investigations. I bring it up largely because at the time the conservatives stayed silent. Now Obama is doing the same thing and those same people are screaming bloody murder. What's different? The person in office has a D next to his name instead of an R. But this isn't confined to the right, the left also has similar sentiments but in reverse. This isn't a good thing.
 
  • #36
russ_watters
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The cited article wasn't about wiretapping anyway, it was about Bush declining to defend his firing of federal prosecutors, which Congress has at best weak oversight authority over, as the article says.
 
  • #37
russ_watters
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Btw, something that makes no sense to me: Holder is not President. How can he claim executive privelege or how can Obama claim executive privelege over Holder's department's communications?
 
  • #38
lisab
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Btw, something that makes no sense to me: Holder is not President. How can he claim executive privelege or how can Obama claim executive privelege over Holder's department's communications?
Holder is a member of the President's cabinet, so he's certainly in the Executive branch. And executive privilege is defined (albeit by wiki) as:

In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege
 
  • #39
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Btw, something that makes no sense to me: Holder is not President. How can he claim executive privelege or how can Obama claim executive privelege over Holder's department's communications?
The AG cannot claim Executive Privilege. Executive Privilege is not Executive Branch Privilege. It exists so that underlings can give frank and candid advice to the President without worrying about being subpoenaed, and that's why the President invokes it. (In this case, AG Holder did not invoke it)

What makes it interesting in this case is that the claim is that neither the AG nor the President were aware of this operation, so there was no communication nor advice, but nevertheless, the documents about it are still privileged.
 
  • #40
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Holder is a member of the President's cabinet, so he's certainly in the Executive branch. And executive privilege is defined (albeit by wiki) as:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege
In Fact Bush's council claimed executive privilege (from your link)

On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Counsel Fielding effectively claimed the privilege once again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.
 
  • #41
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The AG cannot claim Executive Privilege. Executive Privilege is not Executive Branch Privilege. It exists so that underlings can give frank and candid advice to the President without worrying about being subpoenaed, and that's why the President invokes it. (In this case, AG Holder did not invoke it)

What makes it interesting in this case is that the claim is that neither the AG nor the President were aware of this operation, so there was no communication nor advice, but nevertheless, the documents about it are still privileged.
There are some links already here discussing the Executive Privilege. No one but the President can claim it. In Holder's case, he did what he should have done, if his opinion is valid; he requested the President claim it for the subject material. In the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege there was a 2009 claim by the SEC Acting General Counsel of EP, after all was said and done, the President didn't exercise it, but the Counsel did without approval. Counsel was gone shortly after.

In the wire tap case for Bush, IMO, that is different. The courts have ruled "Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a "sufficient showing" that the "Presidential material" is "essential to the justice of the case."(418 U.S. at 713-14). Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch's national security concerns." Additionally, were the taps something the FISA court wouldn't have approved, were there urgent circumstances, was this more an issue with timely paperwork, etc.? IMO, following 9/11 many things changed, and I wouldn't hold some things against Bush, even some over-reactions. I don't know if we will ever know the reasons some things were done, but I suspect most of the things were done had real reasons. As noted by Justice Burger, national security is probably the most sound basis for executive privilege. We can only hope it's used wisely.

As you may know, Bush's first use of EP wasn't for himself. Until I read the link I had forgotten the following "President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno,[2] the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton's fundraising tactics, in December 2001." Imagine people Bush would probably disagree with more....., yea, hard to think of many.

Given the AG has withdrawn one written document as false, and the AG had to withdraw a statement he made under oath to Congress, and another proposed F&F style operation (4-6 gun proposal) the whistle blower Dodson said was to set him up for a credibility challenge http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201...wer-once-proposed-gunwalking/?intcmp=trending , I'd have to say Congress has reason to wonder. It’s hard for me to imagine the written document and AG testimony wasn’t vetted.

IMO, it boils down to whether you believe the Terry family, and those Mexican nationals killed by these weapons deserve to know the full truth behind this operation. Additionally, IMO, Congress needs to enact laws that require a higher standard for operations that transfer weapons, drugs, technology, etc. in furtherance of an investigation. IMO, Congress needs to know all to do it intelligently.
 
  • #42
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But it's also interesting to note that ATF agents working in Mexico had no idea what ATF in Phoenix had been up to at the time.

CONAN: So different branches of ATF weren't talking to each other.

MARIZCO: Right, I mean, and this - we kept seeing this throughout the entire case. For example in 2009, the lead Fast and Furious subject had been picked up by the ATF, give him a business card and tried to recruit him to work for them to nail two Mexican drug lords. It turned out the two drug lords that he was supposed to be working as a snitch on were informants for the FBI.

And in all this, the DEA was also involved running pole cameras, they call them, on these same two suspects. So really we had I do not know how many suspects that were working for either the ATF, the FBI, the DEA and in some cases all three being involved in this fiasco.
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/21/155513757/why-operation-fast-and-furious-failed

This is a good read to help understand a truly incredibly horrible situation.

It is, however, ludacris to think that Holder knew where what and when everything was going on when ATF in the field didn't know. Other agencies didn't even know.
 
  • #43
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http://www.npr.org/2012/06/21/155513757/why-operation-fast-and-furious-failed

This is a good read to help understand a truly incredibly horrible situation.

It is, however, ludacris to think that Holder knew where what and when everything was going on when ATF in the field didn't know. Other agencies didn't even know.
As someone that's had immediate family members in the FBI for a good number of years from about 1949 until a few years ago, these folks are not stupid clueless people that don’t plan major operations to the tee. At the lower levels, agents may not know what other agents are doing, but at upper levels they know. Manpower, interagency communications, operational budgets, warrants, assistant US attorneys oversee warrants/wire taps, etc. These guys aren't allowed to operate in a vacuum. These folks, including the assistant US attorneys, account for their time, budgets, and investigations with loads of paperwork that go through the "system". Perhaps people didn't read "the memo" discussing XYZ, but they got it. IMO, this is a reason Congress needs to investigate. What and where was the breakdown? Who didn’t read “the memo” and why? Who didn’t do their job overseeing those that are under them and why? Do we need new checks and balances for operations?

Ludicrous is "It is, however, ludicrous to think that Holder knew where what and when everything was going on when ATF in the field didn't know." How could Holder NOT know about an operation that crossed US borders and potentially has international consequences? I could understand him not knowing "Joe Doe" illegally got an FFL in Ohio, but an operation involving another country not being brought to the top of DoJ? On its face, it doesn't appear creditable.
 
  • #44
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And yet ATF in Mexico didn't know What ATF in Phoenix was doing.:rolleyes: ATF in Phoenix recruited a man to help nail two drug lords that were actually FBI informants.

It would have been better if Holder had known. There is an internal investigation going on by people who are not, stupid clueless people.

Are we to believe that a congressional committee could do a better job and not reveal information that would endanger other agents?
 
  • #45
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Are we to believe that a congressional committee could do a better job and not reveal information that would endanger other agents?
Are we to believe an agency can objectively investigate itself when the investigation may involve the investigator's boss? Just as important, is Congress to wave its oversight role?

But, yes, clearly people weren't talking, but at lower levels between agencies, that's not surprising. My brother had a few issues from time to time. I remember one that dealt with "incentive bonuses". An Assistant US Attorney hijacked his case by delaying warrants and passing on info to his friend in a "competing" agency, so his friend could get the bonus. Yes, this "stuff" happens. People don’t always “share”. Think about the level of interagency cooperation/international cooperation after the leaks in the news. Sometimes people don’t want to share out of choice.
 
  • #46
mheslep
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We are to use common sense and assume as most do that

i) organizations tend to protect the careers of its members, especially the senior leadership
ii) organizations resist change to ongoing practices that have caused dysfunction.
iii) *large* organizations tend towards i-ii more than smaller ones.
iv) government agencies also contain their share of stupid clueless people, along with the competent and highly motivated.
 
  • #47
russ_watters
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v) For multiple reasons, operational personnel tend to make stronger objections to bad policies than management personnel.
vi) Managers tend to retaliate against junior whistleblowers.
 

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