Media Refuses To Attend Holder Confab Over Monitoring Of Reporters

holderericI have previously expressed my view of the meeting ordered by President Barack Obama of Attorney General Eric Holder with representatives of the media. This feeble response was taken in lieu of the more obvious step of firing Holder for his attack on the free press. The proposed meeting was, in my view, an insulting gesture of effectively having Holder investigate Holder. It was made even more transparent by the decision of the Justice Department that the meeting had to be off-the-record. That was too much for two principled media organizations New York Times, CNN, and Associated Press which have refused (correctly) to attend. Sending Holder to such a confab is like Nixon sending G. Gordon Liddy to lead a therapy session of privacy victims. The sole purpose appears to give Obama cover and the appearance of action. However, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said that NYT reporters cannot agree to the “off the record” condition. The Associated Press followed suit in refusing to attend. Hopefully others will follow today. The meeting is purportedly designed to explain the Administration’s policy on such seizures of media records and possibly develop new reforms in the future. However, the Administration insists that it was right to target journalists and it is clear that Holder is going to suggest simply new notification or procedural protections rather than establishing a rule barring such seizures in the future. The government has always pursued leakers and whistleblowers within governmental and public channels. However, targeting the reporters crossing the Rubicon in seizing confidential information. While we can continue to debate the constitutionality of such searches (I tend to read the first amendment broadly in protection of the free press), it clearly contravenes longing principles respected by past administrations. Such investigations create a chilling effect on both journalists and sources alike. What is striking is the defense of the White House, which shows a lack of aprpeciation of the most values governing a free press. The White House insists that, since the reporters were not going to be prosecuted, there is no threat to the free press. Such arguments are facially absurd. First, Rosen was officially called a potential criminal co-conspirator in the investigation. Second, the administration was seeking to strip away confidentiality guarantees that reporters need to get information from sources. The distinction being used by the administration suggests that it is either completely clueless about the values of a free press or, more likely, completely disengenous in dealing with this scandal. In my view, attendance at this meeting gives the appearance of legitimacy to this effort and uses media as props in an effort of the Administration to spin the scandal. This rather pathetic meeting with Holder is obviously meant to give cover for the President who continues to express surprise over criticism despite years of criticism over the targeting of both whistleblowers and journalists by his Administration. What do you think? Source: Politico

58 thoughts on “Media Refuses To Attend Holder Confab Over Monitoring Of Reporters”

  1. By choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty winning confirmation of some important nominees. At the same time, Mr. Comey’s role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/us/politics/obama-to-pick-james-b-comey-to-lead-fbi.html?smid=tw-share

  2. Again. Alone.

    “In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005.” -Glenn Greenwald today

    True. Believe it.

    I dare say that it will “shock the conscience” of most Americans when the truth finally sees the light of day.

  3. “In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn’t end up resigning was because Bush officials “modified” that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. And this was accomplished by inventing a new legal theory to accompany the old one: that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 AUMF, silently and “implicitly” authorized Bush to eavesdrop in exactly the ways the law expressly forbade.

    Thus, it was Comey who gave his legal approval to enable that NSA eavesdropping program to spy on Americans without warrants: the same program that produced so much outrage and scandal when revealed by the NYT. How can any progressive who spent the Bush years vehemently denouncing that domestic spying program as the symbol of Bush radicalism and lawlessness now cheer when the lawyer who approved it is about to be put in charge of the FBI?” -Greenwald today

    I should put the following in caps:

    “In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005.”

    True. Believe it.

  4. Maybe the AP can show up for the meeting and as soon as holder begins speaking their representative can walk up to him and serve him personally with a lawsuit, then turn around and leave.

    That would be good for artistic expression.

  5. anonymously posted
    1, May 30, 2013 at 9:30 am
    And then there’s this (veering OT, but it’s all part of the same animal):

    Obama’s new FBI chief approved Bush’s NSA warrantless wiretapping scheme

    James Comey becomes just the latest symbol of the Obama legacy: normalizing what was very recently viewed as radical
    ———————
    no, I remember the incident. I was no fan of the Bush club but John Ashcroft earned my undying respect when he REFUSED to sign off on the (supposed) attack for signature by Gonzales in his hospital room in the middle of the night. And according to Rachel Maddow, Comey was acting as AG at the time and ALSO refused….her segment from last night is very good and if true, then Comey looks like a ++++ to me….

  6. anonymously posted, Thanks for the post. You’ve confirmed my view that Maddow has gone too far in excusing the current administration. I’ve thought that she was somewhat biased but at least fact-based. Now I see that she’s somewhat fact-based but highly biased. Leaving out the rest of Comey’s background is misleading and disappointing.

  7. bettykath,

    More on Comey:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/james-comey-fbi-bush-nsa

    Another of the most controversial acts of the Bush administration was the due-process-free imprisonment of US citizen Jose Padilla, who was arrested in 2002 on US soil, then put in a military brig, without charges, for 3 1/2 years. During that time, he was denied a lawyer, held incommunicado, and tortured. That was the incident that, more than any other, really motivated me to begin writing about politics: back then, it actually shocked me that the US government would claim the power to imprison US citizens on US soil without charges of any kind. As Charles Davis recalls, it was James Comey who took a leading role in the Bush administration in defending that lawless imprisonment, arguing in 2004:

    “Had we tried to make a case against Jose Padilla through our criminal justice system, something that I, as the United States attorney in New York, could not do at that time without jeopardizing intelligence sources, he would very likely have followed his lawyer’s advice and said nothing, which would have been his constitutional right.

    “He would likely have ended up a free man, with our only hope being to try to follow him 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and hope — pray, really — that we didn’t lose him. . . .

    “Two years ago, the president of the United States faced a very difficult choice. After a careful process, he decided to declare Jose Padilla for what he was: an enemy combatant, a member of a terrorist army bent on waging war against innocent civilians. And the president’s decision was to hold him to protect the American people and to find out what he knows.

    “We now know much of what Jose Padilla knows, and what we have learned confirms that the president of the United States made the right call, and that that call saved lives.”

    Indeed, when the Bush administration declared Padilla to be an “enemy combatant” and thus removed him from the civilian court system and imprisoned him without charges, Comey was the US Attorney in New York, where Padilla’s case was contested. He then became a leading advocate for Bush’s denial of the most basic due process to this US citizen. That is who Obama-loyal progressives today are hailing. And that is who is about to lead the FBI, thanks to President Obama. -Glenn Greenwald

  8. This meeting was a sham but it is a common trick.

    The only way holder is going to be sacked is if he becomes a liability and no longer a tool of the president.

  9. What Mike S. said about the news organizations not doing their jobs earlier which may have prevented the Patriot Act.

  10. AP,
    I believe that your posts are now printed above. Thanks to Nal for help in releasing them from wordpress prison.

  11. Any reporters who do attend should be awarded big ass kissing wax lips.

  12. According to Rachel Maddow, Comey was acting AG when the Bush administration needed his signature to continue an illegal act. He was in the hospital room when administration officials tried an end run to get Ashcroft to sign. According to Comey, Ashcroft told them what he thought of their plan and pointed to Comey as the AG. Comey did not sign. Maddow played Comey’s Congressional testimony. Maddow does carry Obama’s water so there may be more to Comey that what she played.

  13. rafflaw,

    Not to worry, but thanks for trying — I appreciate your efforts.

  14. AP,
    I tried to release your posts from the spam filter. I hope it works, but I haven’t seen them yet.

  15. rafflaw 1, May 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

    ap,
    It is a wordpress problem. I have had comments sucked into space as well

    ======

    Thanks, raff. While I understand the problem, it’s not a good thing when perfectly good comments are “sucked up” and not posted. It’s annoying and, over time, will impact traffic and commenting, IMO.

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