Barack Obama’s invocation of executive privilege to keep subpoenaed documents from congressional committees investigating Fast and Furious came as rather a shock to many DC observers. It wasn’t that pundits were surprised the “most transparent administration in history” had chosen to OFFICIALLY cover up the Fast and Furious affair. After all, no one actually believed Obama’s phony openness claims in the first place.
What really confounded Administration friends and foes alike was the fact that Obama invoked the privilege in the face of such an extensive body of disapproving legal precedent. “Where there is reason to believe…documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, ‘the privilege is routinely denied…’” wrote the DC District Court of Appeals in the Clinton era US v Espy case. How could a former instructor of law make such an obvious and fundamental legal “error?”
It’s a safe bet that Eric Holder and Barack Obama worked out the executive privilege idea well in advance of the Attorney General’s scheduled meeting with Darrell Issa. It was, after all, a worst case, fallback scheme the pair undoubtedly agreed must be implemented should Oversight Committee chair Issa refuse Holder’s last-minute attempt to buffalo the Congressman and Republican leaders into accepting the AG’s testimony in lieu of subpoenaed documents.
In fact, the privilege claim was only invoked after a year of stonewalling had failed, threatening to result in an embarrassing contempt charge that even the 90% of national media types who had buried the Fast and Furious story would eventually be forced to report. Yet, although political fallout resulting from the contempt vote and the illegally advanced privilege claim would be swift, it would be NOTHING compared to the nuclear blast resulting from a release of documents that proved Obama and Holder had been in on the implementation and ensuing cover-up of the Fast and Furious debacle from the very beginning. Documents yielding such a revelation obviously had to be denied the Committee and the American public at all costs, as a loss in November might be accompanied by a stretch in Leavenworth.
Though Barack Obama knew a political firestorm would accompany his claim of executive privilege, it was a decision he was forced to make.
Read More at Western Journalism. By Doug Book.