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Eric Holder steps in it



Eric Holder

Eric Holder has shown more contempt for the law than has any other Attorney General in history. And now he might finally have blown the gaffe for good. Earlier this month he denied having anything to do with “prosecuting” reporters. Eight days later, a mainstream news organ gave him the lie. And now the Judiciary Committee will investigate him. Officially.

What Eric Holder said.

Philip Bump at Yahoo!News gives the timeline. On May 15, the Judiciary Committee had Eric Holder at the green table to ask him what about his subpoena for two months of phone records for Associated Press reporters. Eric Holder had almost nothing to say. He said he was “95 to 99 percent certain” that some flunky signed that subpoena. (As an aside: Committee member Jerrold Nadler brought up whether Thomas Perez deserves to be the next Secretary of Labor. Member Darrell Issa, who also runs the Oversight Committee, pressed Eric Holder on a voice-mail intercept from Perez. Holder snarled at Issa, “[Your conduct] is unacceptable and shameful.”)

On the AP matter, Committee Member Hank Johnson asked Eric Holder specifically about protecting the privacy of the press. After all, someone at the Justice Department had invaded the privacy of several AP reporters. That much Congress knew that day. And Eric Holder said he had never been involved in, or heard of, or would agree with, prosecuting a reporter, even if said reporter showed classified information to the world.

NBC-TV gives Eric Holder the lie

Eric Holder, the Teflon Consigliere

Eric Holder, Attorney General. Photo: US Department of Justice

The problem: the Justice Department once got a search warrant for the private telephone records and e-mail messages of James Rosen, Chief Washington Correspondent, Fox News Channel. The case involved Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, whom the Department suspected of passing classified information about the North Korean nuclear program. But to get that search warrant, the FBI case agent accused Rosen himself of being a dangerous criminal and possible traitor. “Aider, abettor, and/or co-conspirator,” the supporting affidavit said.

Now Eric Holder is the Attorney General. Arguably he is involved in absolutely every search-warrant supporting affidavit that goes to a magistrate judge under his watch. If he didn’t hear about it, he’s a poor manager. If he does not think it’s wise, then it doesn’t happen. And if it does happen, he lets it happen. Any private manager, and especially a corporate general counsel, can consider himself fired if he runs his department that way.

But NBC News reported on Thursday, May 23, that Eric Holder did not just let this happen to Rosen. He made it happen. That supporting affidavit went out by his direct, written order.


The next day, according to The Huffington Post, the Justice Department owned up to that.

So why did Eric Holder tell Representative Johnson that he never was involved in, heard of, or thought wise, prosecuting a reporter? Or even threatening him with that?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is perjury. And today, Jonathan Easley of The Hill said the House Judiciary Committee will investigate.

What this means

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post pointed out this dilemma for Eric Holder:

  1. Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee that he doesn’t believe in prosecuting reporters.
  2. Eric Holder approved, or ordered, in writing, getting a search warrant for James Rosen. And to get that warrant, the supporting affidavit said James Rosen might be a traitor and conspirator.

Well, either Eric Holder lied to Congress about never hearing about prosecuting reporters, or Eric Holder took part in pulling a fast one on a federal magistrate judge. Either way, he either perjured himself or suborned someone else to.

Eric Holder must have seen this coming. This morning, Daniel Klaidman at The Daily Beast put out this treacle about how sorry Eric Holder is about the scandals swirling around his Department. A convenient “unnamed source” “describes” holder thus:


Look, Eric sees himself fundamentally as a progressive, not some Torquemada out to silence the press.

Lay aside for the moment that those two concepts are not mutually exclusive, and were never mutually exclusive. The only reason Torquemada is not a good metaphor for Eric Holder right now, is that Torquemada was a religionist. The correct metaphor is Josef Stalin.

And now even the mainstream press knows it. NBC News dared break the story. David Axelrod, speaking on Morning Joe at MSNBC, found the James Rosen affair “disturbing.” Well, well, well. So something that an Obama administration official did finally disturbs David Axelrod.

The Rosen affair “disturbedThe New York Times even more. And that was before NBC broke the story of just how deep Eric Holder was in that matter. And just how disturbing did the Times find it? James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal tells us:

The editorial was remarkable as much for what it didn’t say as for what it did. There were no snide asides about Fox News, or qualifications along the lines that “even Fox” has First Amendment rights. Nor did the Times editors take any shots at George W. Bush, congressional Republicans or any other familiar antagonist. They simply defended Fox News’s right to engage in news-gathering and denounced the Obama administration’s assault on it.

In other words, the time for excusing something because their friend did it to someone on “the enemy side” is past. Friendship now is no guarantee.

And what guarantee does Eric Holder have from the friendship of him for whom he wielded the hatchet? Time alone will tell.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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[…] (Of course that’s the same kind of affidavit that Eric Holder, more than two weeks ago, said he would never sign, never heard of, and did not think […]


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