Attorney General Eric Holder recently appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and denied any involvement in the abuse searches targeting the Associated Press by the Obama Administration. Holder seemed to morph with his predecessor Alberto Gonzales with a mantra of “I have no knowledge” and “I had no involvement” in the scandal. It was a disturbing defense in one of the greatest attacks on the free press in modern times. Now, however, Holder’s fingerprints have been found on an equally disturbing targeting of a Fox reporter, James Rosen. As with the Associated Press, Rosen was targeted for simply speaking with a source in a story involving classified information. Even his parents telephone information was seized in the abusive operation where Rosen was declared a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act.
Holder’s order led to Justice Department investigators secretly seizing his private emails because he was found to have “asked, solicited and encouraged … (a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information.” That is called being a reporter.
It is astonishing to see apologists continuing their effort to excuse the record of the Obama Administration in attacking reporters and whistleblowers. While various public interest and media groups have denounced these acts, many still cannot get themselves to criticize President Obama for this disgraceful legacy. Obama has been aware of the criticism for targeting reporters and whistleblowers for years and has done nothing — just as he is aware of the complaints of civil libertarians over kill lists, torture, and other abusive policies. He has not simply destroyed the civil liberties movement in the United States, as previously discussed, but the very soul of the Democratic Party which once stood for principles of privacy and the free press.
These issues were placed squarely before Holder in the Rosen search and he did what he has done in so many other constitutional conflict: he kicked principle into the gutter. He has shown again that his view of constitutional protections borders on open contempt. He is the very image of what Louis Brandeis once described in his dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928):
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.