Friday, May 24, 2013

Time for Holder to go

Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the warrant that allowed the Justice Department to search Fox News reporter James Rosen's personal email, NBC News' Michael Isikoff reported Thursday.

The report places Holder at the center of one of the most controversial clashes between the press and the government in recent memory. The warrant he approved named Rosen as a "co-conspirator" in a leak investigation, causing many to warn that the Justice Department was potentially criminalizing journalism. The warrant also approved the tracking of Rosen's movements in and out of the State Department, as well as his communications with his source, Stephen Kim.

The Justice Department later said that it did not intend to press any charges against Rosen.
The attorney general is usually required to approve requests to search journalists' materials, but that rule does not extend to email records.

(Holder recused himself from the investigation into the Associated Press, meaning that he absolved himself of that responsibility.) Holder has previously said that he was not sure how many times he had authorized the search of journalists' records.

Fox still isn't 'news', but that's not the point. The DOJ has been spying on critics of all political persuasions for some time now.

As the Obama administration faces criticism for the Justice Department’s spying on journalists and the IRS targeting of right-wing organizations, newly released documents show how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police forces partnered with corporations to spy on Occupy protesters in 2011 and 2012.

Detailed in thousands of pages of records from counter terrorism and law enforcement agencies, the spying monitored the activists’ online usage and led to infiltration of their meetings. One document shows an undercover officer was dispatched in Arizona to infiltrate activists organizing protests around the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),  the secretive group that helps corporate America propose and draft legislation for states across the country.

So as it happens, Eric Holder's Justice Department is an equal opportunity organization. If you're a-protestin', we're infiltratin'.

The mainstreamers are irate at the administration for this business and justifiably so. They are turning on Obama as a result. The long-awaited (by conservatives) end of the honeymoon is nigh. The fact that Medea Benjamin's protest during his drone clarification speech -- an attempt to distract from the week's bad headlines -- has been extensively covered is but one example.

I still encounter far too many Democrats who meet this description, but their fealty makes a difference to no one except them any longer.

The worst of the "scandals" swirling around the president goes away as soon as Eric Holder does. His departure is past due.

And the longer they wait, the worse it's going to get.


The left and the right now basically agree that Holder should go. The only reason I am not enthusiastically joining the chorus calling for Holder’s job is that I’m 90 percent certain that whomever replaces Eric Holder will be worse, both because of President Obama’s full support for Holder’s Justice Department thus far and because of the confirmation process. Obama isn’t going to nominate someone from the ACLU. Republicans (and hawkish Democrats) would block anyone who shows signs of being even slightly less awful on civil liberties.

Obama will still probably stand by his AG, who, let’s remember, was already held in contempt by the Republican House in a previous bit of GOP overreach that left Holder “zen-like” in his response to all criticism. The president has stood by Holder this long. We’ve seen how Barack Obama’s Good Liberal respect for the sacred craft of journalism left him once he had to deal with journalists. The president seems to value loyalty and discipline (including the discipline not to leak shit to the press) more than journalism. I wouldn’t mind being wrong, but Holder’s job is probably safe, as long as he wants to keep it.

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