CONGRESS LACKS ACCOUNTABILITY
PART 2 of 2
By Betty Freauf
January 18, 2009
FBI Director Louis Freeh had the guts to back LaBella’s judgment. Of course, removing the FBI Director is a bit more challenging than squashing one Justice lawyer. Ever since Freeh’s recommendation, the Clinton Administration has lain in wait. Now, the revelation that Justice covered up evidence of the Waco attack has provided an opportunity to pounce. Never mind the fact that Freeh was not even in office when Janet Reno presided over the assault that resulted in the April 1993 death of 80 American men, women, children and babies in Waco.
Never mind that Freeh, not Reno, was reportedly the driving force behind plans for an independent investigation that culminated in former Senator John Danforth’s appointment. By sending federal marshals to seize evidence from the FBI, Reno publicly hung her own director out to dry. In a seamless political ballet, President Clinton leapt to praise Reno’s “determination” to “get to the bottom” of Waco, while pointedly stinging Freeh with silence. In the days following Clinton loyalists in Congress continued the dance by taking to the airwaves and pinning blame on Freeh.
Political hacks doubtlessly admire the speed with which the White House turned lemons into lemonade by using its own blunders to undercut a powerful enemy. Those of us who care about the rule of law take a much dimmer view. Other enemies of the regime have also earned the enmity of Justice. When Government Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Dan Burton was the subject of flimsy allegations by a Democrat lobbyist in the press, the Department leapt into action and started investigating him within three days. Two weeks later. The Department had already empanelled a grand jury to heat testimony from Burton’s accuser. As a matter of law, the Burton case was ridiculous. However, Justice’s goal was a political one, not a legal one. The chairman was temporarily distracted, his credibility was damaged, and the Committee’s investigation was impeded. Mission accomplished, again.
III - Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was the target of an even more concerted obstruction effort. At every opportunity in that process, the Attorney General worked to block his investigation by asserting bogus claims of privilege so frivolous that they were roundly rejected all the way up the judicial food chain to the U. S. Supreme Court. Failing in that effort, Justice moved to discredit Starr by investigating him for leaks that clearly originated with the Clintons’ defense team at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Department of Justice had become the President’s personal defense law firm, the largest and most costly in history.
In addition to obstructing the work of the Independent Counsel she appointed, Janet Reno’s Justice Department has obstructed the work of her own FBI when it wandered into politically sensitive areas of investigation. The most prominent example of this is Reno’s denial of an FBI wiretapping application for Wen Ho Lee, the nuclear scientist suspected of passing top-secret information to the Communist Chinese.
To me and others who have worked at Justice, this move was unprecedented. FBI wiretap applications for national security are never denied by the Attorney General. Approval of such applications by Justice is typically a rubber-stamp process because they must also be approved by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court before they can be implemented. According to experts, this is the only such denial that has ever occurred. The results of Justice’s failure to prevent Wen Ho Lee from passing classified information to the Chinese are obvious. Not only our criminal law but our national security itself, may have been seriously damaged.
IV - The politicization of the Department is not limited to the Criminal Division. A decade ago, the assertion that the Antitrust Division would become a hotbed of politics would have been greeted with open laughter. After all, antitrust law has traditionally been the province of lawyers’ lawyers, people who love the technical world of law and wouldn’t think of dirtying their hands in politics. No one is laughing now. Today, Antitrust is engaged in unrestrained and legally incoherent bashing of one of America’s most prominent capitalists, Bill Gates. The technology sector represents the best American ideas. Our western frontiers have been replaced by new electronic frontiers that offer a historic opportunity to maximize freedom, privacy, choice, and knowledge.
chief Joel Klein, infect with Washington’s fixation on regulating
technology, has pointed the clumsy blunderbuss of federal antitrust
power at the chests of those most responsible for making the fruits
of the information age available to the average American.
V - The Department’s political forays into other areas of civil law have been no less restrained. Attempts by Justice and other departments to launch crusades against tobacco companies, gun manufacturers, and health care providers have been every bit as zealous and legally flawed. The new test of whether an industry should be the target of a lawsuit is not the facts or the law. All that matters is whether the company or its product is politically unpopular or can be made to appear so. Under this view, Justice may as well stop hiring lawyers and start hiring pollsters.
VI - The really troubling thing about this theory is that it rejects the wisdom of our founders that one of government’s most important tasks is to protect a politically unpopular minority from unfair attacks by the majority. If current policy had been prevalent in the 19th century, the Attorney General would have been filing suits against abolitionists on behalf of slave owners.
VII - The infection of the Department has not stopped at Main Justice. Even the Department’s law enforcement agencies have been politically abused. For example, under the Citizenship USA program, the Vice president directed the Immigration and Naturalization Service to naturalize massive numbers of foreigners, many of whom had criminal histories in their native countries. Gore’s hope was that the new citizens would vote for the President who orchestrated their citizenship. In this case, political abuse of the immigration system endangered the lives of American families by putting criminals on our streets.
- To be sure, Congress shares some blame for the politicization
of the Department of Justice. As former Attorney General Edwin Meese
reminds us, it is Congress that has spent the past several decades federalizing
crimes that should be the province of the states. In the process, two
things have happened. First, Justice has acquired the statutory power
and enforcement resources to engage in political games. Second, the
Department has the incentive to engage in political grandstanding to
justify existing authority and strengthen its pleas for even more laws
and funding, which Congress is frequently eager to grant in order to
appear “tough on crime.” Every major terrorist act, or every
event that might possibly be a terrorist attack, provides a vehicle
for more Department of justice power with no real regard for whether
it is necessary or proper.
Furthermore, ill-advised laws like the Independent Counsel statute have helped turn the legal process into a political one. From Teapot Dome to Watergate, the Department did a generally good job of handling sensitive political matters. Then, after Watergate, Congress told the Department it could not be trusted to handle politically tough cases. In many ways, this became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Department of justice has now become the very kind of politicized agency post-Watergate reforms were designed to prevent.
In my opinion, however, the greatest failure of Congress in recent years has been our failure to conduct effective, consistent and aggressive oversight of the executive branch generally and the Department of Justice specifically. When executive branch employees make decisions without any real public and congressional scrutiny, and without fear of any meaningful follow-up, political games become part for the course.
For example, when we subpoenaed the Freeh and Laflella memos urging the appointment of an Independent Counsel on campaign finance, Janet Reno refused to turn them over. Not only did she refuse to allow congressional review, she failed to offer any coherent explanation for refusing. That left Congress with a choice: hold Reno in contempt or live with her decision to thumb her nose at the legislative branch. Lacking courage, Congress chose the latter, even after our Government Reform Committee passed a Resolution holding the Attorney General in contempt. This failure told every official who would withhold information or lie to Congress that there would be no consequences for doing so. In this environment, it is not at all surprising that federal law enforcement officials have blatantly and continually lied to Congress on Waco and other matters.
The failure of Congress to protect people with the courage to blow the whistle on corruption has also been enormous. When Linda Tripp was illegally smeared with confidential government personnel information, Congress offered only lukewarm words of support. Allowing Tripp and others like her to suffer the unchecked wrath of the administration will ensure critics silence in the future.
At best, these and other failure have emboldened Justice officials to play politics. At worst, they have helped fuel the process. As college students once learned, a basic trait of American governance is our tendency to enshrine everything in black – letter law. Our law libraries are bursting at the seams with the detailed rulebooks we’ve written for ourselves. However, the character of the people and institutions enforcing the rules is as important as the words themselves, a fact clearly understood by the Founding Fathers.
Fortunately, our Department of Justice is not hopelessly lost. When I served at the Department, there were men and women of integrity at all levels. They may have been silenced and top managerial slots may have been filled with political hacks like former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell or unconfirmed ideologues like Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lan Lee, but good men and women are still there.
No matter who wins the next Presidential election, it is absolutely essential that his very first and top commitment be returning integrity to the Department. No task is more essential to the long-term health of our republic, not even restoring our military strength. Because without Justice to enforce our laws, including those protecting against espionage and foreign corruption of our political system, the best military forces in the world would be vulnerable to compromise from within. Americans like to believe our Founding Fathers set into motion a governmental machine that will work no matter who operates it, even imperfect human beings. The very perfection of our Constitution may well be its greatest flaw, lulling us into the complacent view that our laws alone are sufficient to maintain freedom and security. Our Constitution is indeed an awe-inspiring document. It is a magnificently complex symphony of government capable of making the triumphant sound of freedom leap from its pages. But, like all good symphonies, it demands competent and honest players who can bring its notes to life. – The End.
In a 1992 Wall Street Article, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. wrote, “How I learned to love the New World Order.” We first heard about the New World Order under former president George H. W. Bush. Barack Obama and Joe Biden may not hold membership in the elite groups called the Trilateral Commission or the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the secret elite groups promoting one world government, but Barack is being advised or is appointing many to his administration who do have such membership such as George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Both Obama and Biden have been closely associated with the CFR, writing for its journal, Foreign Affairs, and speaking at its programs. (1)
To put the final touches to this lengthy article, let me remind you that former president Bill Clinton’s mentor was Georgetown Professor Carroll Quigley and in his book Tragedy and Hope he notes that the Republican and Democrat parties have converged on many of the most important issues, particularly concerning the adoption of internationalism and big government as central features of their programs regardless of their rhetoric to the contrary. He urged continuation of the practice of insuring that the two major political parties in America would remain virtually indistinguishable and continue to work toward full achievement of CFR goals. He expressly urged the two major political parties to be almost identical “so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.” (1) That, of course, is what has happened, with predictable, cyclical regularity. The Republicans and Democrats at the national level have become the flip sides of the same CFR coin; they both promote the steady growth of big government and internationalism while placating their core constituencies.
The Republicans are allowed to cater to the right on a few issues (pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, pro business) while the Democrats cater to the left (pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-gun, anti-war, pro-union). (1) This devious Hegelian dialectical materialism is also known as communism. The secret brotherhood has always used a system of conflict of opposites to promote their goals. Crisis after crisis, conflict after conflict has been deliberately caused by the system as elaborated and adapted by Karl Marx and being used by the former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev now residing in the U.S., who has never renounced Communism. And while our lickspittles in Congress fiddle, Gorby uses this manipulative “consensus process” at his annual “State of the World” gatherings in America with the heads of giant corporations and many elected officials.
Subscribe to the NewsWithViews Daily News Alerts!
And now some may ask, “So what’s the solution?” Perhaps Acts 5:38 and 39 has the answer. If the works of these evil leaders is not of God, then it will come to naught. I know that to him that is given much, much is expected and we should continue to try work through and to educate our elected leaders but I, for one, am growing weary as I know others are likewise. These evil leaders count on wearing out the saints. Ultimately, it is in God’s hands. For part one click below.
here for part -----> 1,
(1) New American 12/8/2008 P. 16
© 2009 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved