- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has disgraced his office and engaged in a systematic abuse of power. He has also lied under oath. He can no longer remain as our nation’s chief law enforcement office. If anything, he should be facing criminal prosecution for numerous misdeeds.

Mr. Holder is in trouble. The media has turned on him — including former liberal supporters. Republicans and some Democrats are demanding that he step down. The reason: His office has repeatedly assaulted the First Amendment.

The Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of numerous reporters and editors at The Associated Press in an effort to investigate leaks over the release of classified information. Instead of pursuing the government leaker, however, the FBI went after AP reporters. The president of AP recently revealed that “thousands and thousands” of records and documents were seized by government officials. The government engaged in a massive intrusion of press freedoms.

According to the Daily Beast, Mr. Holder “felt a creeping sense of personal remorse” regarding his actions. He is now desperately trying to placate an angry press corps, which rightly feels betrayed. After all, no one has been a bigger supporter of the Obama administration than the liberal media. To their horror, they have found out the unthinkable: The administration has been spying on them. President Obama’s cronies have sought to intimidate journalists and their government sources. This is why most liberal-leaning media outlets — The New York Times, AP, CNN and the Huffington Post — turned down Mr. Holder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with the Washington bureau chiefs of major print and Internet news operations. It’s obvious damage control.

Yet the media scandal is widening. FBI agents targeted Fox News reporter James Rosen. In 2009, Mr. Rosen approached a State Department official to investigate the administration’s North Korea policy. Apparently, classified information was disclosed. Hence, the Justice Department probed Mr. Rosen’s personal and work emails, seized his phone records, tracked his movements and even monitored the phone calls and text messages of his parents. In fact, a Justice Department affidavit labeled Mr. Rosen a possible criminal “co-conspirator” who potentially violated the Espionage Act. Think about this: A reporter in the process of doing his job — gathering news information to enlighten the public about important world affairs — was deliberately singled out and criminalized by our government. The Justice Department’s behavior was not only immoral and frightening, but authoritarian. It signifies the birth of an Orwellian Big Brother state.

Mr. Holder has also lied under oath. He has committed perjury. During congressional testimony on May 15, he insisted that, “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material — this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

His statements are blatantly false. The Justice Department has admitted that Mr. Holder personally authorized and signed the FBI search warrant to seize Mr. Rosen’s emails, phone logs and other records. Moreover, Mr. Holder asked several judges to sign off on the secret warrant. When they refused (unless the Justice Department notified Mr. Rosen of the warrant), Mr. Holder finally found one who would. In other words, he went judge-shopping. More than approving it, he drove the campaign to go after Mr. Rosen.

Perjury is a serious crime. Our chief law enforcement officer not only misled Congress. He broke the law in order to cover up the Justice Department’s attack on basic individual liberties. Mr. Holder deliberately trampled on the First Amendment, which includes freedom of the press. He violated his sacred oath to uphold the Constitution.

Mr. Holder’s scandalous and criminal behavior is nothing new. It is part of a long, corrupt pattern. He oversaw the Fast and Furious operation, which involved illegally walking guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. Hundreds of Mexican civilians — including women and children — were killed as a result, as was a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Mr. Holder has refused to punish black perpetrators of crimes against white victims. He prevented the Justice Department from prosecuting several New Black Panther members, even though in the 2008 election, they openly intimidated white voters at a polling booth. Under the Clinton administration, it was Mr. Holder who authorized that a pardon be granted to Marc Rich — one of the greatest tax cheats in U.S. history. He also approved the pardoning of Puerto Rican terrorists.

For years, Mr. Holder has been thumbing his nose at the American people. He is an arrogant elitist, who thinks he is above the law. He isn’t. No one is. It’s time that he learned this painful lesson.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio host on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.

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