Should the President Have Invoked Executive Privilege on Fast and Furious?

If the investigation into "Fast and Furious" was strictly a Department of Justice issue, and not connected to the White House, should President Barack Obama have invoked executive privilege in the matter?

In a surprise move before the deadline ran out on a threat by congressional Republicans to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the president threw a curveball.

According to media outlets, including The Huffington Post, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege Wednesday, essentially withholding documents a committee was demanding from Holder. The documents were requested for an investigation into "Fast and Furious" — the name given to an operation launched to track weapons purchased by Mexican drug cartels. It turned sour, however, when agents lost track of more than 1,000 firearms and two turned up at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The family of the dead border agent is reportedly condemning the move not to allow for full disclosure.

While it is the first time Obama has invoked this privilege, previous administrations have done it often. President George Bush invoked it six times and President Bill Clinton 14 times. With it being used now by Obama, it brings up all the old arguments made against previous administrations that “if there is nothing to hide, why hide?” Obama, as a senator, had asked that same question of the Bush administration. His own move drew swift criticism from House Republicans, including this comment by Speaker John Boehner’s press secretary, reported in The Huffington Post:

"Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding 'Fast and Furious' were confined to the Department of Justice. The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the 'Fast and Furious' operation or the cover-up that followed. The administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?"

So what do you think? Should the president have invoked executive privilege in this case? If it was indeed outside the White House and strictly an issue with the Department of Justice, should he have stayed out of it and let the chips fall where they may? Tell us what you think in comments below. 

Brian Crawford June 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
So we want to be just like the fallen empires of old? If a district feels they are being represented well by some old buzzard with 25 years of experience under his belt, who are we to deny them of that representation? Experience is generally viewed as a good thing.
Racer X June 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM
So, Brian Crawford is wiser than George Washington? George Washington was a brilliant man, I'm not buying it. When you want to argue with any point a conservative attempts to make, you become just as bad as the conservative who argues with every point a liberal makes. Both of you then become stooges of the government for buying into the idea that we are each other's nemesis when in fact we, as Americans, are all on the same team and our Federal Government has become our real enemy. Power breeds corruption and the longer a person is in office, the more likely he/she will succumb to human nature. Pity, but it is true. We, as a species, are badly flawed in that way. Without limits, man becomes evil. Have you ever read Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"? It is a brilliant look into human nature. Given that you dispute George Washington's ideals, I doubt you have any respect for Conrad either but I figured it was worthwhile for others reading this exchange. Peace out, I'm done.
Brian Crawford June 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I'm certainly not wiser than Washington, or Conrad for that matter, but the world is a much different place today than it was in the time of the Framers. Aside from the fact that electricity hadn't been invented yet, the Framers would never have allowed Corporations to exist in the way they exist today. The notion that corporations are people is insanity.
Brian Crawford June 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I completely agree that money is the corrupting influence but I don't see how term limits does a thing to stop that. If anything I think that better positions Corporations to control the system. If you know you're only in it for the short term it seems to me you would be much more open to corruption. Under strict term limits I see a future where corporations groom Corporate candidates to serve with their backing for short terms and then return to corporate servitude. Quite frankly I view Corporatism a greater danger to our democracy than Communism ever was.
Racer X June 24, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Man is as he has always been.
Racer X June 24, 2012 at 07:45 PM
We do not live in a Democracy, we are a Republic. http://lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html
Brian Crawford June 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Sorry, I didn't know you were one of those folks. I'm well versed in the false distinction you're attempting to make. Yes we are a Republic. Yes we also have a democratic form of government. If you hate democracy there are alternatives out there for you.
Mark Zeilenga June 24, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I want to know why we still haven't seen anyone punished/reprimanded whatever for this whole F&F fiasco. The only thing that happened was those in the local AZ office got a promotion! Somebody had to put their OK on this. That's all we want to know. Who and when did they know. Holder just keeps dancing around the answer.
Tammy Osier June 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM
From the beginning the scheme was to pad statistics on U.S. guns in Mexico in order to be in a strengthened position to call for gun bans and strict gun control at a time when it was politically unpopular. Recall Hillary being obsessed with statistics on guns and gun control. Every president seems to have their "gate'. Obama has had a few of those. Even if other presidents had their scandals, it doesn't mean that all have to. So many secrets and cover ups in the last 4 years. It'd be nice to see a president with integrity for once. Unfortunately the decent guys probably don't want to subject their families to the media crucifixion that they're likely to encounter by running (I'm thinking Sarah palin and her family for one).
Brian Crawford June 25, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Tammy, while I understand this little conspiracy theory has been all over FOX "news", there are no facts to facts to back this up. It is a complete fantasy. The only "gate" here is the one separating FOX's "reporting" of the news from reality.
Tammy Osier June 25, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I don't have cable so haven't had access to FOX news in quite a while. It might have started as something legit, bit when it went bad our government used it to their advantage to legitimize their claims about gun control legislation. Notice how close those two thing occurred. You are very partisan and simply will never be objective enough to believe that your party can do wrong. I beg to differ. We'll see once the investigation is done.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 25, 2012 at 02:14 AM
No Brian, it was probably a mis-edited tape segment of Sean Hannity that you saw on MSNBC, its easy to get confused that way... ( Smiles)
Brian Crawford June 25, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Yeah, I saw that. I expect more from Andrea Mitchell. Her show must have hired a new producer from FOX (Smiles back). I wrote a note of complaint to the show.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 25, 2012 at 03:15 AM
You mean one Fox let go ... (smiles)
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 25, 2012 at 08:11 PM
For those who need a refresher of what has happened to date, please see the link to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show below BEFORE reading the rest of these posts… Even if you are NOT a regular fan of the show, this particular episode is worth your time. And if you have only “heard” about him elsewhere, this is one you NEED to check out. http://www.hulu.com/watch/373627
Peter June 26, 2012 at 01:29 AM
This appears to be a link to Fox News - yet another opinion piece, then.
Peter June 26, 2012 at 01:35 AM
The whole Republic/Democracy thing is a Neal Boortz talking point. The hair is split.
Brian Crawford June 26, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Does it not bother you folks that America's most powerful lobbing group, the NRA, is orchestrating this whole sham?
Racer X June 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Boy, you love some attention don't you. What exactly is a lobbing group? A group that lobs? It is best, for credibility's sake, to think about spelling when your brain farts out an idea, lest people think you are ignorant.
Brian Crawford June 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Sorry I misspelled a word Mike, so shoot me.
Peter June 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Nice ad hominem attack, Mike. Care to address his point?
Racer X June 27, 2012 at 01:47 AM
No, he has no point. He is just doing this for attention. This issue is no sham. It is not orchestrated by the NRA.
Brian Crawford June 27, 2012 at 02:33 AM
The NRA has congress shaking in their boots over the contempt vote. Hardly a fair hearing for Holder. Issa's their boy. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/233737-nra-to-score-house-contempt-vote-on-holder http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/06/26/hoyer-some-dems-will-vote-to-hold-holder-in-contempt-for-fast-and-furious/ http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/issa-peddled-conspiracy-theory-nra-convention-called-fast-and-furious-attack-2nd-amendment
Brian Crawford June 27, 2012 at 07:18 PM
This just out today from Fortune magazine. Looks like you've all been had by the Republican Outrage machine. And this is where I smile and say "I told you so"! You're welcome. http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/
North Georgia Weather June 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
LOL! That "proves" nothing! You've been had by the Democratic media machine! And this is where I smile and say "I told you so"! You're welcome.
Brian Crawford June 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Fortune is the "Democratic media machine"?
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 28, 2012 at 06:09 AM
SO according to you, if I understand both your position and this article the NRA and CBS are at fault ... There are many issues that seem to point disarray within ATF and DOJ but we shouldn't worry. Since the text below describes a COMPLETELY legal function and this example is one of many throughout the article, it seems to be tilted somewhat left of center. "Hurley is an avid gun enthusiast, according to two law-enforcement sources who worked with him. One of those sources says he saw Hurley behind the counter at a gun show, helping a friend who is a weapons dealer." A couple of other segments just for fun below "The ATF is a bureau of judgment calls. Drug enforcement agents can confiscate cocaine and arrest anyone in possession of it. But ATF agents must distinguish constitutionally protected legal guns from illegal ones, with the NRA and other Second Amendment activists watching for missteps." Sounds eerily like immigration enforcement in AZ and the DOJ don't you think?
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 28, 2012 at 06:10 AM
"comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one." "Day after day, they visited local gun dealers and pored over forms called 4473s, which dealers must keep on file. These contain a buyer's personal information, a record of purchased guns and their serial numbers, and a certification that the buyer is purchasing the guns for himself. (Lying on the forms is a felony, but with weak penalties attached.) The ATF agents manually entered these serial numbers into a database of suspect guns to help them build a picture of past purchases." So is this database destroyed somewhere? somehow? AH HUH ... "It was the first time Voth learned that Dodson intended to walk guns. Voth says he refused to approve the plan and instead consulted his supervisor, who asked for a proposal from Dodson in writing. Dodson then drafted one, which Voth forwarded to his supervisor, who approved it on May 28." So the guns grow legs ... AH HUH
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 28, 2012 at 06:14 AM
(A CBS spokeswoman, Sonya McNair, says CBS does not publicly discuss its editorial process but notes, "The White House has already acknowledged the truth of our report.") So the Whitehouse either knows or has NO clue of what they DON'T know... "Sinaloa Cartel operatives and Mexican nationals who were providing the money, ordering the guns, and directing the recruitment of the straw purchasers—turned out to be FBI informants who were receiving money from the bureau. That came as news to the ATF agents in Group VII." Where are Mulder, Scully and the smoking man? "But the public bludgeoning of the ATF has had the opposite effect. From 2010, when Congress began investigating, to 2011, gun seizures by Group VII and the ATF's three other groups in Phoenix dropped by more than 90%." No longer chasing FBI assets Nothing to see here, Now lets just go off and create "jobs" Shall we?
Msgoff July 01, 2012 at 05:43 AM
American Patriot, you are absolutely right, the executive branch has become too powerful; however, it should have been reigned in YEARS ago; probably before many of us were born. We didn't know all of the stuff that was happening because we did not have the media in it's current state and technology to spread the truth and lies in a heart beat. Let's not even talk about Bush's war and all of the lives and money it has cost us. Why?


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