June 20 2012
Executive Privilege = Executive Involvement
President Obama’s decision to extend executive privilege to protect the Justice Department’s involvement in the Fast and Furious campaign means that there was direct White House involvement in the botched operation that led to the deaths of a US federal agent and several Mexicans.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is rightly concerned. “The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions...How can the President assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the President exert executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen?”
Mr. Grassley raises important questions, and he and his colleagues should continue to press Attorney General Holder and President Obama for answers.
The Justice Department is clearly unwilling to tell Congress and the American people about the details of Fast and Furious. If their reluctance stemmed from a security issue, they could share the information with Congressional leadership and protect the information through classified security clearances. There would be no need to extend executive privilege.
But now it’s not just the Justice Department that is covering up what could be very damming information – it is President Obama himself.
The American people deserve to know the details about Fast and Furious. Congress and the Justice Department have duties to ensure that it will never happen again. To gain that assurance, Congress must know the details of what went wrong and why.
I fear Mr. Grassley hit the nail on the head when he asked: “Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?”