Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.
— By now, we are used to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s
nonsensical testimony to Congress.
Holder testified that he opposed Arizona’s illegal immigration legislation but had not read the new law.
|Holder gives testimony to Congress on the ill-fated Fast and Furious operation.
Holder testified that he believes the CIA’s enhanced interrogation methods such as waterboarding constitute “torture,” but he said he had not read the classified reports detailing what those techniques entail.
After reopening Justice Department investigations into the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation, Holder said that he had not read the memos of his own department’s lawyers explaining why no criminal laws had been violated.
Holder then gave misleading testimony on when he knew about problems with the “Fast and Furious” operation.
Last week, Holder testified that he found newspaper reports of the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey “disturbing,” and he launched a review by the Justice Department.
Now he is challenging a Texas law requiring those who vote to show photo identification. Thirty-four states already have such laws or are considering them, and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of one such law passed by the state of Indiana.
Anyone who has needed a photo I.D. to buy beer, enter a public building, rent a movie, board a plane, open a bank account, or check into a motel knows how absurd it is to object to showing identification to vote. The government has an obligation to prevent voter fraud by making sure those who vote are who they say they are.
If George W. Bush’s attorney general Alberto Gonzales had carried out his job in such a cavalier fashion, the press would have run him out of town. But Holder and President Obama are darlings of the media and will never be held to the same standards as Bush and his appointees.
Holder’s criticism of the New York City police based on newspaper reports is particularly troubling. As he could have learned by picking up the phone and asking FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the FBI is fully aware of New York City’s practices. Through Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the FBI and police work closely together and share information and techniques.
If the New York City police were indeed conducting indiscriminate surveillance of Muslims, the FBI would have known about it. Instead, as New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said, the police look for and follow specific leads that might pinpoint possible terrorists and plots.
The FBI engages in the same practices. As described in my book “The Secrets of the FBI,”
undercover FBI agents enter mosques, which are prime gathering places for terrorists, to gather leads. Yet before 9/11, because of political correctness, FBI agents were barred from entering mosques, even though they are open to the public.
Under the guidelines in place before 9/11, FBI agents could not even look at online chat rooms to develop leads on people who might be recruiting terrorists or distributing information on making explosives.
“We were told before 9/11 that we were not allowed to conduct investigative activity on the Internet, even though it’s public,” Art Cummings, who headed FBI counterterrorism investigations until last year, told me for the book.
“Same thing with a mosque. It’s a gathering open to the public, but we were absolutely precluded from going into a mosque as an FBI agent. And precluded from having a source in a mosque report on anything in the mosque, or look at anything in the mosque, unless we had a specific target within the mosque.”
Those shackles helped to make the FBI blind when it came to uncovering the 9/11 plot.
As my friend Asra Nomani, a Muslim journalist who was a friend of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, told Fox News, “We’re [Muslims] saying that you can’t go into our mosques, you can’t look at our Muslim organizations, you can’t even look at Muslims because that’s to target us. But the truth is, we do have a problem in our Muslim community.”
Ray Kelly and the New York Police Department “have been targeted in this larger campaign to try to show that people are picking on Muslims,” she courageously said.
Thus, Holder’s comment was not only baseless, it gave Muslims who oppose legitimate surveillance an excuse to stir up fear of law enforcement, undercutting the war on terror. And it provided ammunition to those on the extreme left and the extreme right who oppose measures that are needed to uncover plots and protect us.
Clearly, Holder is more interested in appealing to Obama’s liberal base than he is in honestly addressing the issues. In the same way, Holder subjected former CIA officers to the chilling prospect of going to jail even though Justice Department lawyers had previously cleared them.
As seven former CIA directors who served under Republicans and Democrats said publicly, the probe sent a message to CIA officers that if they take risks in defense of their country, they may suffer consequences. Ultimately, Holder decided that the career lawyers were right all along, and no charges were brought.
Eric Holder may head the Department of Justice, but the fact is he represents a travesty of justice.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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