For those who believe that Attorney General Eric Holder is in any way repentant for the crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers, think again. If you recall, while Obama sacked the head of the IRS for its scandal, he only sent Holder to a confab with the media. After Holder insisted on the meeting being off the record, principled media organizations refused to attend. Holder proceeded to propose meaningless changes that actually would allow the very same investigation of reporters. Now, Holder has given a speech and his people made sure to leak it to the media. Holder told top lawyers in the Administration to continue their scorched earth campaign against leakers. This Administration has surpassed even Nixon in its pursuit of people who speak to the media and Holder wanted people to know that it will continue unabated.
It was Holder’s ultimate profane gesture to the media and public interest groups and he apparently wanted everyone to know about it. He told the top intelligence community lawyers that nothing had changed and “he wanted to continue aggressively prosecuting leaks.” An official then leaked the speech to the media. His only caveat was that he would “prefer” a slightly “narrower, more tailored approach” and that the AP investigation might have been “a bit too broad.” However, he wanted to continue the “aggressive” pursuit of those speaking with the media.
“A bit too broad”? In the Fox case, the Justice Department called James Rosen a potential co-criminal conspirator and, in the AP case, he hit multiple offices and a wide range of reporters and editors. Neither seizure of records should have occurred at all, but Holder is still suggesting that such investigation should continue in the same aggressive posture. Holder has stated he will not resign and says that the controversy simply involves a process that is “out of whack” at bit. Once again, Holder insists that the reforms will address better notice to the media as opposed to barring such fishing expeditions. It is clear from his interview that Obama does not want Holder to resign. It is better for Obama for Holder to remain as his “sin eater’ and deflect criticism from his own role — passive or active — in the rollback on civil liberties.
In a separate meeting, Holder told DOJ staff that he was doing just “fine” and nothing had changed. He is right, of course. The entire confab was a transparent effort by Holder and Obama to spin the scandal without demanding any real change or accountability. Holder should not continue as Attorney General, as previously argued. Instead, he is calling on intelligence community lawyers to continue his legacy against those who speak to the press and whistleblowers.
By the way, it is astonishing how fast Obama and Holder move to reassure our intelligence community in such scandals. If you recall, one of the first major speeches that Obama gave to government officials was to rush to the CIA and assure employees that no one would be prosecuted for the torture program. Now the first speech Holder gives is to rush to the intelligence community to assure them that the crackdown on media sources and whistleblowers will continue unabated. I do not see them running to the EPA to assure lawyers that the work on global warming will continue during such periods of opposition. However, the intelligence community always seems to need soothing by this Administration as if we have a jittery security state force.
With the Democrats remains conspicuously silent (or even supporting the Administration) in this scandal, Holder knows that nothing will happen. He just wanted the troops to know.