Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the announcement yesterday that the administration will assert executive privilege to keep certain Department of Justice documents from disclosure to Congress:

And it has several immediate effects. The first is there is no way that the mainstream media, which have studiously tried to ignore this, can do that anymore. In fact, NBC, which has shown exactly 10 seconds of coverage of this [Fast and Furious] on the evening news in the last year-and-a-half, is now going to have to explain the whole thing — since the viewership has no idea what it’s about. So, number one, it becomes a huge national issue.

Secondly, it involves the president. Not that he was involved in the actual communications, but he is the one that has to issue… the claim of executive privilege. Once he does that, clearly he is connected…. Nobody is saying it was… communications with the president which are now being protected. It’s being claimed on a second level of “executive deliberation,” meaning something happened inside the Justice Department.

But the final effect could be one that could hurt Republicans, because as you have already heard from the talking points of Democrats in Congress, this will be characterized as another case of [Republican] overreaching, obstructionism, opposition, blind opposition to the administration, and distraction from real economic legislation or activities. And that is the line that the Democrats will take. It could, in fact, hurt the Republicans among some of the electorate.

On the importance of investigating Fast and Furious:

What makes what would ordinarily be — and there are many — ordinary Washington scandals, potential cover-ups, into a tragedy is that there are [allegedly] two American agents, honorable men in the service of their country, who are dead in part at least as a result of this operation. So I think it gives added valence, emotional impact. When the family says we want to know, it does make the administration look like it’s covering up.

Remember, the documents that it is refusing to reveal — the Justice Department itself says are not documents about the operation [Fast and Furious itself] but about the communication within the Department [of Justice] on how to respond to the investigation — which sounds like cover-up.

On the political fallout of the escalating Fast and Furious investigation:

I think A.B. touched upon the disconnect between what Democrats said about this kind of investigation under Bush and what they are saying now. There is a second one, more recent disconnect, which is in the Holder statement — he says: I’ve cooperated with the request [for documents], except that I won’t make disclosures that would endanger the American people or agents in the field.

Well, this is an administration that has just leaked everything you want to know about Stuxnet, the secret war against Iran, just leaked details about the drone war, the double agent in Yemen — including, this morning in the Washington Post, [disclosures about] the Flame virus, the other one [cyber attack] now active.

It’s not a leak, but a flood. What does all that [public disclosure of foreign policy secrets] have in common? It’s a way to show how strong and assertive this administration is in foreign affairs. This [Fast and Furious] might show negatively on the administration. That is the only difference. If it’s national security, then they have no regard for secrets — and here [with Fast and Furious] all of a sudden they are extremely guarded.

It makes you wonder what they’re hiding.

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