Executive Privilege – Abuse of Power or Necessary Evil

Bing Dictionary defines Executive Privilege as

“government right to secrecy of documents. The right of the president and other government officials in the executive branch to refuse to reveal confidential material if this would interfere with the administration’s ability to govern.”

Why is Executive Privilege necessary for the President of the United States? With three branches of government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, should each have the ability to deny information to each other. I am not a lawyer, but in some instances yes. However, having said this, there are times this privilege could protect corruption between the Executive Branch and other governmental agencies.

How do we combat this misuse of power? Are there enough checks and balances on the books to rectify this? Apparently not, as Executive Privilege invoked to hide corruption during the Watergate scandal and President Nixon. Thanks to super sleuthing by two reporters, Nixon eventually resigned.

Executive privilege occurred throughout history all the way back to George Washington according to Executive Privilege History. In FindLaw’s example, George Washington in 1796 refused to comply with a request by the House for documents relating to the negotiation of the Jay Treaty with England; although, Washington did give them to the Senate.

FindLaw goes on to say that

“Presidents often assert executive privilege even if the information or documents sought are not matter of national security.”

Even the Supreme Court recognized

the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties.”

CBS news broke out the executions of Executive Privilege over the last five presidents this way:

President Barack Obama


President George W. Bush


President Bill Clinton


President George H. W. Bush


President Ronald Reagan


So why are so many up in arms about President Obama exerting Executive Privilege for the “Fast and Furious” case? If it was just running guns over the border and losing track of the guns due to botched tracking mechanism, I don’t think the general public, Democrats or Republicans would care as much that President Obama exerted Executive Privilege.

However, two border agents have died as a result of this botched operation; Brian Terry and Jamie Zapata, not to mention hundreds of Hispanics across the border in Mexico. And that my friends’ why claiming Executive Privilege at this juncture is an outrage. The White House had eighteen months to claim Executive Privilege.

Now we know how Democrats love to demonize the actions by Congressman Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as a “witch hunt” to bring down AG Holder. In addition, Democrats like to claim political posturing due to the upcoming Presidential elections.

I find this ironic, because they were always trying to “witch hunt” V.P. Cheney or find ways to “stick it to” President Bush all through his presidency. Had this all happened under Bush’s watch and AG Gonzales, the Democrats and their little committee would be doing the exact same thing? So their “fake outrage” and whining is falling on deaf ears, not only to me, but anyone in America who thinks the families of the slain deserve an answer and those accountable of this botched operation be held responsible.

It is true that under the Bush administration similar tracking of guns occurred under the program “Wide Receiver”. The main difference was the drug cartels were hiring “straw-men” with clean records that had the ability to purchase guns legally from gun shops in the United States and then transport them over the border into Mexico. The ATF agents would allow the “straw-men” to take the purchase across the border in order to track where they go in hopes of arresting the “big dogs”. As alarming as this sound, sometimes it is necessary for some items go through in hopes it does lead to the bigger fish. I think where the whole operation goes wrong is when agents lose track of those guns, no arrests made.

So if “Fast and Furious” is an extension of “Wide Receiver” that came from the Bush Administration, why the new name under the Obama Administration? Is this common practice when a new administration takes over? What was different? Was a new agency conducting a different sting operation, thus the name change? Department of Homeland Security and ICE have a similar program called “Operation Armas Cruzadas“. Why are so many agencies conducting nearly the same operations? One could also conclude with so many hands in the pot that perhaps the drug cartels are so big, so complex, so interwoven that it takes many agencies just to stay on top of the situation that some things, many things fell through the cracks. I am beginning to think the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, that “Fast and Furious” under the DOJ got out of hand, and they tried to do too much at one time.

With this said why are Holder and the White House shouting Executive Privilege now after eighteen months. Did the DOJ go too far in their effort in tracking guns going across the Mexican border that they themselves broke the law or skirted the law too much and the President signed off on the actions? There are a lot of questions that need answering, of which we may never know.

One thing we do know, many border agents have lost their lives in the line of duty, and tracing guns going over the border to Mexico is big business.

Let’s give Brian Terry and family some closure and hold those who botched this sting accountable.