Fast and Furious: Justice, Executive Privilege, and the Hypocracy of a President
Justice for Brian
Brian Terry. Son, brother, friend, marine, border patrol agent. Life cut short, seemingly due to the negligence of others. Will we ever know? My heart still goes out to his family. Their loss can not be replaced. Now, all they seek are answers, and justice and accountability for the debacle that we all now know as "Fast and Furious." All they seek is the truth of why their son was gunned down with one of the two thousand weapons that were somehow supplied to Mexican drug cartels by the government that he put his life on the line for, both as a Marine and as a border patrol agent in the elite BORTAC unit. Answers, and justice, and accountability that some members of congress have been seeking on his family's behalf, while others, based upon their actions and remarks in recent weeks, seem to think that that information and accountability are not as important as protecting those who are responsible for the actions that put American weapons in the hands of his killers. Answers, and justice, and accountability that now may never come to fruition, thanks to the latest in this on going cover up by Eric Holder and the Justice Department (term used loosely), and now by the President of the United States himself in the form of claiming executive privilege and in essence protecting Holder from the demands of the congressional oversight committee that he turn over documents that could once and for all find the answers the Terry family have been seeking, and bring those responsible to justice. In a statement released by the Terry family in response to the Presidents executive privilege order, they say "Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious." It is time to once and for all hold this president, and this attorney general accountable. Brian Terry deserves better, his family deserves better, the American people deserve better. Justice needs to be served, or else there is no justice.
Executive privilege - a brief description and overview
In an attempt to spare you the long and arguably boring details of the history of executive privilege, I will just run through a very brief overview. Executive privilege has long been used by presidents throughout the history of our republic, dating back to 1792 when George Washington used it in response to a request from congress that he turn over documents and information pertaining to a disastrous expedition against American Indian tribes along the Ohio river, which resulted in the loss of and entire division of the U.S. Army. It was later used by Thomas Jefferson during the treason hearings against Aaron Burr in which Jefferson claimed that he should not be compelled to turn over private letters, written to him, that contained what he claimed to be private and confidential information. Chief Justice John Marshall would eventually declare that a sitting President could indeed be compelled to turn over any and all such documents as deemed necessary by the judiciary, but went on to say that "the occasion for demanding [such a request] ought to be very strong..." This writer believes that the "occasion" for the demands of the documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious fits this standard. There has, long since the days of Jefferson, been many occasions in which our Presidents have invoked executive privilege. Some have been vigorously challenged while others have not. Some have been legitimate attempts to protect our national security and some, as seems to be the case this time, have been illegitimate uses of the power in an attempt to cover up misdeeds. It has also long been understood that the use of the executive privilege of a President should be reserved for situations in which turning over certain information would jeopardize our national security, or situations where private, personal, and confidential conversations about highly sensitive policy issues were had between the President and a member of his administration. Is our national security at stake with regards to the documents that Holder refuses to turn over now, or might there be a smoking gun laying in wait that shows possible wrong doing and perjury by those involved? One could reasonably contend that the latter seems to be the more likely scenario. What are you hiding Attorney General Eric Holder? What are you hiding Mr. President?
Hypocracy of a President
"There has been a tendency on the part of this administration to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there is something a little shaky taking place..." (Barrack Obama referring to the Bush administration during an interview with Larry King back in 2007.) See and hear Obama in his own words in this one minute video clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpwYh9TD6Nc&sns=fb Then candidate Barrack Obama seemed to vigorously oppose the use of executive privilege by then President George Bush (side note: Bush used executive privilege 6 times, Clinton 14 times). Why the sudden about face Mr. President? Two reasons come to mind. Operation Fast and Furious and the recent top level security leaks that experts have contended could have come from nowhere but from deep within the administration. On the latter, Eric Holder and the President have refused requests to appoint an independent council to investigate these leaks, but instead have appointed two U.S. Justice Department attorneys who answer directly to Eric Holder who in turn as we all know by now, although his position is supposed to be independent, answers to the President. Why not appoint an independent council? I think we all know the answer to that. On the first (Fast and Furious) we have spent millions of dollars and wasted countless months questioning an attorney general who never had any intentions of being forthcoming with the truth. From the beginning he has been trying to cover up something and/or protect someone. When he was caught in a lie early on in the investigation by the House oversight committee, he simply claimed "I made a mistake." This has happened many times throughout this investigation. Really? You made a mistake? He is the attorney general of the United States. Most of us are taught early on in life to not lie. We are warned that when you lie, you have to try to remember things that never happened and you soon get tangled in your web of lies. This seems to be what is playing out before our very eyes. In his attempts to cover up, and protect, and in the process, perjure himself, Eric Holder now seems to be tangled in his own web. Not to fear though. The President, you know the one who was so against the use of executive privilege when things get shaky, has come to his rescue, or perhaps, his own rescue. The President early on in this investigation contended that he knew nothing about Operation Fast and Furious until after the whole thing began to blow up. If so, how can you invoke executive privilege Mr. President? If this is not a national security issue, unlike the security leaks that came from your administration about our war on terrorism, and you knew nothing about Fast and Furious, then you couldn't possibly have had any private, confidential conversations with Eric Holder about Fast and Furious that would lead you to feel like you had to call for executive privilege. Right? Wrong! This President has time and time again used, or threatened to use, executive orders and executive privileges to force his will upon the American people. We elected a leader not a King! All his political pandering and posturing aside, all his pompous arrogant bully pulpit threats and scare tactics aside, the sad reality is that one family may never see the justice they deserve for their son. I wonder if this were his child, his brother, his friend, if the results or the sense of urgency would be a little different. The Terry family deserve better than this, the American people deserve better than this, and Brian Terry deserves better than this. Here's to hopes that when the smoke clears that the truth is finally pulled from the clutches of those that seek to hide it, and that Justice is done for all.