“The Justice Department requested that Obama assert the privilege in refusing to turn certain documents over to Congress concerning the botched gun smuggling operation,” USA Today reports. OMG. WHEN is the mainstream media going to stop calling the ATF’s supposedly anti-gun smuggling gun smuggling program a “botched sting”? As regular readers of this website know full well, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) made no attempt to follow the guns from U.S. gun stores to their ultimate destination. Be that as it is, “In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calf., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, [Deputy Attorney General James Cole] said executive privilege applies to documents that explain how the department learned of problems with the investigation.” Here’s some of the text . . .
I write now to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents . . .We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.
As Chris Lichowitz wrote just minutes ago, nothing says coverup better than Executive Privilege. Wikipedia provides the context:
The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. 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.
How, pray tell would Operation Fast and Furious involve national security concerns unless it’s related to American foreign policy towards Mexico? More specifically, the Obama Adminsitration’s [well-established] collusion with Mexican drug cartels to prop-up the Calderon Administration?
And when is the House Oversight Committee going to call witnesses who actually bought the guns with the ATF’s help and the DEA’s money? While Representative Issa and Senator Grassley’s battle with AG Holder has been going down, case after case have been brought against the firearms purchasers at F&F’s sharp end; quietly plea bargained into the background.
The Huffington Post’s comments section provides a quick look at the spin that’s coming our way from the Oval Office (and yes I’m quoting dubious sources). “Coverup? Political Witch Hunt would be more appropriate,” William J. Ferrara opines.
“I am glad the president did this we need to protect the information that could potentially ruin other cases just to satisfy the Republican party with a lynching. The attorney general has done everything they asked but they continue to hound him,” papa githiomi adds. “Obama forward 2012.”
Maybe. Maybe not. I wonder if the families of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and U.S. Customs and Immigrations Agent Jaime Zapata—federal law enforcement officers slain by drug thugs wielding ATF-enabled firearms—will vote Democrat in the next presidential election.
What happens next? Watch this space.