BREAKING: Eric Holder Recuses Himself From Leak Investigation
Katie Pavlich | May 14, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder has recused himself from the Associated Press leak investigation. He will officially announce his recusal at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Fox News is reporting his recusal comes partially because Holder has testified about potential national security leaks surrounding a May 7, 2012 Associated Press story.
Yesterday, the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had been secretly monitoring both the personal and work phones of numerous AP editors and reporters. DOJ responded to these revelations by releasing the following statement.
We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations. Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation. Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/05/14/breaking-eric-holder-recuses-himself-from-leak-investigation-n1594600
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue May 14, 2013 10:57 am
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As I wrote on Thursday, I’m not really losing sleep over the prospect of domestic targeted killing, mostly because it seems as though it would be so manifestly politically radioactive even within the intelligence community that I doubt it could be done secretly, and would almost certainly provoke a constitutional crisis if it became public. That said, as Marcy Wheeler notes, if we look closely at the precise wording of Attorney General Eric Holder’s response to Sen. Rand Paul disavowing any such presidential prerogative, it’s actually phrased in a way that seems calculated to preserve a fair amount of wiggle room:
It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question. “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.
Now, it’s true that Senator Paul often recurred to the example of a drone “dropping a Hellfire missile on your cafe experience” during his Wednesday filibuster, but it seems weirdly specific to give an answer that is, read strictly, confined to weaponized drones, as opposed to snipers or poison or what have you. More importantly, it’s not entirely clear what Holder considers to be the parameters of “engaged in combat.” During Paul’s filibuster, the senator often agreed that it would clearly be permissible to use defensive lethal force against someone “actively engaged in combat”—shooting down a plane on a heading to crash into a target, or killing a terrorist in the middle of a shooting spree. There’s nothing particularly controversial about those cases: in the latter instance, we’d expect police to do as much without any presidential orders.
But since Holder conspicuously omitted the word “actively,” it isn’t clear that this is what he means. The public hasn’t seen the detailed legal memoranda underlying the CIA’s overseas drone program, and so we can’t really know what to make of Holder’s statement without knowing what the government thinks it means to be “engaged in combat” in this non-traditional conflict. Though the Obama administration has (symbolically) abandoned the use of the phrase “enemy combatant,” the Bush Justice Department argued in 2004 that a “little old lady in Switzerland” who “gave money to a charity for an Afghan orphanage, and the money was passed to al Qaeda” might meet their definition of an “enemy combatant.” Could a citizen suspected of being involved in the planning stages of some future attack, then, be considered to be “engaged in combat” (perhaps even “actively”)? Against the backdrop of the sort of examples Senator Paul was discussing, it’s presumably not what we’d intuitively think of, but then neither have the targets of our overseas drone attacks necessarily been “combatants” in the colloquial sense of one directly personally engaged in bearing arms. Again, until we see the memos and have a fuller understanding of the administration’s broader reasoning, isolated statements like Holder’s are difficult to interpret with much confidence.
Such definitional game-playing would not exactly be a novelty for this administration, which has apparently expanded the definition of “imminent threat” to cover people believed to be senior leaders of hostile groups, whether or not there is any evidence that they are actively engaged in planning some impending attack. And recall how another recent attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, managed to mislead Congress about President Bush’s warrantless wiretap program by silently redefining “the program the president has acknowledged” to mean “only the specific components he has already acknowledged,” even though these components had never been previously regarded as a separate surveillance program. So if this kind of hyperliteral close parsing of a few sentences seems like paranoid hairsplitting, it’s only because such word games appear to be par for the course when it comes to classified counterterrorism programs.
Do I think this means there’s some domestic assassination plan in the works? Certainly not. But I would not exactly be shocked if the attorney general had used a bit of careful lawyerly language to placate Senator Paul while leaving an opening for a future administration to claim that technically his disavowal of authority had been far narrower than it seemed.
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THE VETTING – HOLDER 1995: WE MUST ‘BRAINWASH’ PEOPLE ON GUNS
by JOEL B. POLLAK
Breitbart.com has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."
Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns.
"What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes."
Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation’s capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials "that make me buy things that I don’t really need." He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.
Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of "every day, every school, and every level."
Despite strict gun control efforts, Washington, DC was and remains one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for gun violence, though crime has abated somewhat since the 1990s.
Holder went on to become Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, and currently serves as Attorney General in the Obama Administration.
The video of Holder’s remarks was uncovered by Breitbart.com contributor Charles C. Johnson.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:08 am
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By Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz, Monday, March 5, 2:31 PM
The U.S. government has the right to order the killing of American citizens overseas if they are senior al-Qaeda leaders who pose an imminent terrorist threat and cannot reasonably be captured, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Monday.
“Any decision to use lethal force against a United States citizen — even one intent on murdering Americans and who has become an operational leader of al-Qaeda in a foreign land — is among the gravest that government leaders can face,” Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school in Chicago. “The American people can be — and deserve to be — assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws.”
Holder’s discussion of lethal force against U.S. citizens did not mention any individual by name, but his address was clearly animated by the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior figure in al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, played an operational role in several plots, including the failed attempt to bring down a commercial airliner over Detroit in 2009, according to administration officials. In September, he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.
Since the operation, the Obama administration has faced calls to explain the legal framework behind its decision to target Awlaki and release at least portions of a still-classified memorandum by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that contains its evidence, reasoning and conclusions.
Holder’s speech represents the administration’s most elaborate public explanation to date on targeted killings. And it followed a prolonged internal debate about how to balance the need to inform the public about one of the most extraordinary decisions a government can take, without explicitly acknowledging the ongoing classified drone program or the covert operation against Awlaki.
Holder emphasized that he would discuss the issue only in the abstract and would not “discuss or confirm any particular program or operation,” according to an advance text of his speech.
There are currently no known U.S. citizens on target lists maintained by the CIA or the military’s Joint Special Operations Command.
The attorney general’s remarks did not satisfy some of the administration’s critics, who argued that the government has assumed dangerous new powers.
“While the speech is a gesture towards additional transparency, it is ultimately a defense of the government’s chillingly broad claimed authority to conduct targeted killings of civilians, including American citizens, far from any battlefield without judicial review or public scrutiny,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power.”
Holder argued that a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to “due process” and that the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against depriving a citizen of his or her life without due process of law does not mandate a “judicial process.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:55 pm
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