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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

U.S. Attorney General Holder: "No One is Above the Law"

New Attorney General Promises To Restore Justice Department's Reputation
The National Law Jourman by Joe Palazzolo and Devlin Barrett - February 4, 2009

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder, on his first day on the job, signaled a clean break with past policies of the Bush administration and promised to hold Wall Street accountable if any major financial institutions engaged in fraud that contributed to the global financial crisis. Vice President Joseph Biden swore in President Barack Obama's choice - the first black to hold the post - in a ceremony yesterday before dignitaries and employees at the Justice Department. The lanky, 58-year-old former prosecutor, federal judge and No. 2 official during the Clinton administration promised the start of a new era at the department, which was wracked by Bush administration scandals over politically motivated hirings and firings.

Mr. Holder has pledged to restore its reputation. "This is a place that has, I think, been hurting, but I think it's ready to heal," he told reporters. "I am determined to ensure that this shall be a new day for the dedicated career professionals that I am so honored to call my colleagues," Mr. Holder said after taking the oath. He said he was committed to remaking the department "into what it once was and what is always should be." Mr. Biden said the department, under Mr. Holder, would return to a past standard of "no politics, no ideology. Only a clear assessment of facts and law." Mr. Holder was confirmed Monday evening by a 75-21 Senate vote, with all the opposition coming from Republicans. Shortly after the swearing-in yesterday, Mr. Holder was questioned about Wall Street, reviled by some Americans for extravagant company bonuses while seeking taxpayer dollars to remain solvent. "We're not going to go out on any witch hunts, and yet we'll drill down and see" to what extent the economic troubles are the result of fraud or misconduct, Mr. Holder said. "We'll find it and hold people accountable."

However, Mr. Holder faces the challenge of balancing his goal of fighting financial fraud and the department's ever-increasing national security efforts. The FBI has been plain about the dearth of agents to investigate financial crimes, as the bureau has reconstituted itself to deal more effectively with terrorist threats. Mr. Holder will immediately take a leading role in shaping a new regime for detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists. He will also be at the fore of an effort to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year. That undertaking will include a review of each of the 245 detainees held there, and ultimately, resolving the thornier problem of whom to charge and how. The president has assigned Mr. Holder to lead two multi-agency groups to sort through these issues. A team of Justice Department lawyers has already begun the work in Mr. Holder's absence. National security will remain the department's top concern, and Mr. Holder has voiced support for most, if not all, of the tools created in the last eight years, including the Patriot Act, the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and new guidelines that give FBI agents uniform rules for assessing threats in both national security and criminal investigations.

Early Challenges

The new attorney general will face early tests that will reveal the president's notion of his own powers and the extent to which the Obama administration intends to stray from legal policies of the past eight years. In a case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, four men being held at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan are seeking to challenge their confinement under habeas corpus, as detainees at Guantanamo can. The Bush administration argued that Bagram was far outside the reach of U.S. courts. Judge John Bates has given the Justice Department until Feb. 20 to state its position. The department also has asked for more time to consider its stance in the case of Ali al-Marri, a Qatari national legally in the United States, held as an "enemy combatant" in a U.S. military brig. The Bush administration asserted broad powers to detainee him indefinitely. Earlier this month, acting Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a delay until March 23. Mr. Al-Marri's counsel could then file a reply brief in time for oral argument during the week beginning April 27, Mr. Kneedler added. In a case in San Francisco involving the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which alleges that it was victim to an illegal warrantless wiretapping program, a federal judge last month ordered the government to hand over classified documents to the foundation's lawyers. The judge explicitly rejected the Bush administration's invocation of the state secrets doctrine to block the lawsuit. The Justice Department has until Feb. 13 to file a brief stating its position. If the department relents, the case could supply the fullest picture yet of the Bush administration's warrantless spying program.

'No One Is Above the Law'

Mr. Holder's unequivocal statement that waterboarding is a form of torture - voiced during his confirmation hearings - could lead to an investigation into the CIA's use of the tactic and its legal underpinnings. But Mr. Holder runs the risk of alienating factions in the CIA as the fledgling administration tries to form a more cohesive national security apparatus. He has been vague about his intentions in this regard, and his aides have refuted reports that Mr. Holder promised Republicans he would not prosecute individuals for their roles in authorizing or carrying out the now-banned interrogation method. "No one is above the law," Mr. Holder said at his Jan. 15 confirmation hearing. "We will follow the evidence, the facts, the law, and let that take us where we should." Days later, in a written response to a question from Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Mr. Holder wrote: "It is, and should be, exceedingly difficult to prosecute those who carry out policies in a reasonable and good faith belief that they are lawful based on assurances from the Department of Justice itself."

Mr. Holder will also inherit ongoing investigations into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos and the firings of nine U.S. attorneys during President George W. Bush's second term. John Durham, the prosecutor handling the CIA matter, has indicated in court filings that his investigation is nearing an end, perhaps as early as February. Mr. Holder will have final say over charging decisions in both probes. The department's credibility, was badly bruised in four joint reports by the Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility released over the past year. The department's internal watchdogs concluded that former appointees violated Justice Department policy and civil service law by dragging partisan considerations into the process of hiring career lawyers. Now, Mr. Holder must decide how to advise Mr. Obama on the order by Mr. Bush that three of his former top aides - Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten - should not testify before Congress about firings of U.S. attorneys. Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers were former aides when Mr. Bush gave his order. If Mr. Obama reverses Mr. Bush's policy, it would create a new legal issue: whether a former president's order against testifying would still be valid.

Mr. Holder comes to the job after seven years in private practice at Covington & Burling, where he was a sought-after figure for companies, nonprofits and government agencies caught up in criminal or ethical investigations. Mr. Holder, who met Mr. Obama at a dinner party in 2004, advised the candidate on legal issues and led the team that vetted Mr. Obama's potential running mates. There never seemed any doubt Mr. Holder would be confirmed, but Republicans signaled early on that they intended for the job to come at a high price. Led by Senator Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans sought to rekindle controversy surrounding his role in the pardon by President Bill Clinton of fugitive financier Marc Rich and members of the violent Puerto Rican rebel group, FALN. But their concerns never gained enough purchase to inflict any real damage, and Mr. Holder emerged from his confirmation hearings with the support of all but two of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Republicans. Mr. Specter, his harshest questioner, voted yes. Joe Palazzolo is a reporter at Legal Times, a New York Law Journal affiliate in Washington. He can be reached at Joe.Palazzolo@ incisivemedia.com. Devlin Barrett is an Associated Press reporter.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Holder apparently has never been to NY.

Anonymous said...

No one is above the law except those thugs so designated by Robert Tembecjian and Alan "Napoleon Complex" Friedberg. Bob and Alan should be in the same cell together; Bob would be the man, in this case.

Anonymous said...

Or his brother, Pot.

Anonymous said...

Oh, brother. Time for Mr. Holder to spend some time in NY.

Only Time Will Tell said...

I think it's time for Mr. Holder to be apprised of the many crimes that have been committed in NY..or is he going to turn a blind eye, like Mukasey did.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, wake up. The FALN terrorists were pardoned to help Hillary in the NY election.

Eliot Bernstein / Iviewit / Bat Out of Hell said...

Next time he visits NY he should visit his birthplace. Eric H. Holder, Jr. was born in the The Bronx borough of New York City, to parents with roots in Barbados. He went on to attend Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan[8] and attended Columbia University, where he played freshman basketball and was co-captain of his team and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history in 1973. Holder received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Columbia Law School, graduating in 1976. He worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund during his first summer and the United States Attorney during his second summer.
----
In another whistleblower on Keith Olberman, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/vp/28781200#28781200 NSA is exposed as having wiretapped all AMERICAN's and then searched to target specific groups. This story confirms the great story broke by Frank Brady months ago, that many questioned as unbelievable, I did not, about technology being used in a similar way in NY at the First Dept, wonder if the two are synonymous.

Is Holder the Bat that eats Rats in the bowels of NY, only time will tell, until then stay tuned on the back channel.

Best ~ Eliot Bernstein
Iviewit Technologies
Founder & Inventor
iviewit@iviewit.tv

Rodney said...

Can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

I know I was wiretapped by OCA in 2005...but they used the old fashioned method of attaching the 1970's device to the side of my home.

The US Government uses satelite technology..too expensive and not available to OCA..at least they didn't ask Bush for it.

OCA also secretly went into all the banks in my area and Canada..live close to there...to check on funds I had available to fight their crimes in federal court and to obtain some documention that I was sending funds overseas to terrorists...which they knew were outrageous, but it allowed them..through Bush...to investigate my entire personal life without spending a dime on a PI.

The amazing thing about all of this is that OCA knows they did it, and they can't understand how I found out. They now want to see how many people will believe it.

My Proof is in the weakness of their technology...their own methods gave them up and I just had to follow the path...or so I let them think.

But the travesty of all of what they did..is that it was done for no legal or legitimate reason, other than to gather private home conversations and information, as well as to hear what I was doing and where I might be going. They then created their own false statements, while using some of my own words and phrases, attached to names of court workers.

The bank account spying was conducted to see if they could find anything as wild as terrorism, to then negate any federal action they knew I already filed, that would also then benefit their false charges of termination.

Do I live in America? I have been wondering for the past 4 yrs. The NY State Judiciary has invaded my life in every sense that American citizens have the right to believe they are safeguarded from... any and all spying...especially from our own alleged Democratic Government.

I need answers from the FEDERAL government..and I will ask for an explanation and an investigation.

Da Judge said...

I seriously DOUBT whether any district court judge will allow you into his/her courtroom on allegations such as yours. Courts do not allow Americas honorable, and independent third branch to be brought to accountability.

Kate said...

WHAT KIND OF KOOL-AID IS THIS GUY DRINKING? EXHIBIT ONE - BERNARD MADOFF! HE WAS AND IS ABOVE THE LAW AS ANYONE CAN SEE!

Anonymous said...

Already in Federal Court on other related charges...these are just enhancers for the court to request proof and either investigate or negate, but no matter how it is handled..the case becomes public knowledge because it involves a taxpayers' government agency...and OCA is well aware of that!

It will come out in some fashion during the processing of the case.

NI4NI said...

Hey ! Trust me. I am all for you in every regard.

But what good is getting a record of such stuff ONLY to be digitized, filed away and forgotten? The ONLY good is getting it to the attention of citizens who care and will DO SOMETHING about it. That is the most frustrating aspect of OUR cause. We NEED the Public to help us, to support us. And inevitably they fall back asleep an hour later.

Anonymous said...

Don't fret..I have a plan for revealing this information to the public... better than anything called plan"B'.

No one including OCA knows who I know, who wants to help and especially WHO has helped...a litany of some very interesting citizens.

I know full well the pitfalls and suction devices surrounding this court corruption. I choose not to reveal much else, but I thank you for your encouragement and concern for my success.

Sometimes you have to back door things...with front door information..to get where you are going. It sounds confusingly twisted, but that is really how OCA operates within.

Anonymous said...

Good luck?

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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