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Obama’s assertion of executive privilege goes beyond Richard Nixon’s attempt to do the same with respect to the Watergate scandal. Nixon at least was trying to protect White House communications to which he was a party, although to be sure they were evidence of the Nixon administration’s own cover-up scheme. He ultimately lost that fight in the Supreme Court, which issued a unanimous decision rejecting Nixon’s assertion of “the general privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in performance of the President’s responsibilities against the inroads of such a privilege on the fair administration of criminal justice.”
Obama is trying to protect communications to which he was neither a party nor on which he was copied. Indeed, the White House has denied any involvement in the Fast and Furious operation. There was no claim that the documents at issue reflected presidential decision-making and deliberations. There was no claim that there was a need to protect the confidentiality of communications authored or solicited and received by White House advisors or their staff who have responsibility for investigating and formulating advice to be given to the president on the particular matter to which the communications relate.
There also was no claim of the need to protect the secrecy of sensitive military, intelligence or diplomatic information. The claim rests solely on the spurious rationale of protecting the deliberative process of Justice Department employees where there is already evidence of Justice Department lies and story changes. President Obama is simply protecting his crony Eric Holder and trying to keep embarrassing facts from the public during an election year.
While Romney’s tax returns may reveal a clever businessman’s use of every legally available loophole to keep his taxes down, the Fast and Furious documents are likely to reveal a cover-up regarding responsibility for an operation gone haywire that cost Brian Terry his life.
“Our son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation,” said Brian Terry’s parents Josephine Terry and Kent Terry Sr. “For more than 18 months we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability…it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”
Come clean, Mr. President. The American people, and particularly the Terry family, want to know what you are hiding.
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