The third refuge of the Obama administration is to try to win the press over in private off-the-record briefings that can’t be reported on by participants.
Their first resort, of course, is to lie, which Attorney General Eric Holder seems to have done several times under oath.
The second recourse is to pass the buck – oh, well, that’s the Other Department of the Government, which the White House clearly has nothing to do with. Right.
We’ve now reached the third threshold in the Holder Department of Justice spying scandal: The self-described Most Transparent Administration Ever on This Particular Planet asked for a secret off-the-record indoctrination – er, briefing – of reporters on how the department spied on them.
These people are, officially, above nothing.
Remarkably, and finally, some in the journalistic community said they wouldn’t play this administration’s games anymore. The New York Times and Associated Presss declined to attend the secret session, and CNN, Fox News and others quickly followed. Good for them!
It was also sweet to consider what their refusal to participate in the charade might set up: Suppose a reporter from another agency did attend; he or she couldn’t report on what was said, but could very easily leak it to the Times or AP, neither of which is bound to secrecy.
That would be poetic justice for a Justice Department that has spied on the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen and even his parents.
And what a scam. Instead of informing the public through the media, Holder is trying to simply win the media over to his side. That’s called indoctrination.
The facts of the case also get curiouser and curiouser: Initially it was reported that Holder’s Justice Department had secretly seized the phone records of some 20 Associated Press lines. Now, AP president and chief executive Gary Pruitt says the Justice Department monitored “thousands and thousands” of calls.
Holder himself may have committed perjury before Congress. Either that, or he lied to a federal judge.
In order to get a subpoena for Rosen’s private information, Holder’s Justice Department painted Rosen as a potential co-conspirator in a federal crime involving classified information on North Korea. In sworn testimony to Congress May 15, Holder denied ever being involved in such a prosecutorial action against a journalist. But since then, we’ve learned he was personally involved in the spying on Rosen.
At the very least, our nation’s top law enforcement officer has grossly misled Congress and the nation. And like a coward, he tries to take the discussion behind closed doors rather than own up to his obligations to the public.
The attorney general is damaged goods, and has no credibility. He’s essentially a placeholder now. He should resign.
At the same time, he should continue to be held accountable – to at least the same level as he was trying to hold the media.