Tag archives: Eric Holder

With Contempt, from Attorney General Holder

by Leanna Baumer

April 8, 2014

Since it’s been almost a year since the last appearance of Attorney General Eric Holder before the House Judiciary Committee, Members had no shortage of topics to probe today in an often contentious Committee hearing that lasted close to four hours.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) opened the hearing with remarks focused on the “extraordinary level of Executive overreach by the Obama Administration”. Members followed up with particular grievances, including IRS targeting of conservative groups and individuals, Administration disregard for statutory requirements in the Affordable Care Act, Justice Department failure to answer countless Congressional requests for information and documents, dismissal of state marriage laws, and the end to enforcement of the federal marijuana ban. 

Importantly for those concerned with the Administration’s ongoing disregard for state marriage laws, Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) drew attention to troubling remarks made by the Attorney General in late February of this year. In addressing a gathering of state attorneys general, Attorney General Holder had voiced his skepticism of state policies that recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman, declaring that “I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation.”

Remarking on the very unusual step of advising state attorneys generals to disregard constitutional measures enacted by wide-margins of voters, Congressman Chabot asked why the top law enforcement official in the country would urge his state counterparts to abandon their legal obligations (a posture some conscientious state attorneys general such as Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers have condemned publically). General Holder attempted to deny his use of the particular phrase “suspicious” and offered the qualified response that usually a decision to defend a law “can’t be based on politics or policy.” While appealing words, in practice, the Justice Department’s posture has been one that elevates rank partisanship over fair defense of the law.

In a personal anecdote, Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) later brought up the view that bound he and a fellow lawyer together in friendship despite political differences — the profound “hope that the law will trump politics.” He went on to describe the powerful role the rule of law plays in America as “the greatest equalizing force in our country” and “the greatest unifying force in our country.”

Unfortunately, for Members of the Judiciary Committee and more significantly the American public, this Administration’s politicization of the rule of law on many fronts means that the public’s views on marriage — even their ability to simply express those views as participants in civil society — rests on increasingly shaky ground. The Attorney General’s condescension and refusal to answer most Member questions left little of Congressman Gowdy’s “hope” and more mere “politics.”  

Bork-NRO piece on Holder Non-Defense of Doma; Illinois Doing the Same

by Chris Gacek

June 18, 2012

Looking through some old issues of National Review I found an excellent opinion piece by Judge Robert Bork (3/21/11) destroying the Obama Administrations Feb. 2011 decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) in court. It may be that the institutional support of the Solicitor General’s office would still have helped, but Speaker John Boehners decision to defend DoMA using former Solicitor General Paul Clement has certainly minimized any damage. Bork’s powerful history lesson is worth reviewing as DoMA heads to the Supreme Court.

More recently, it should be noted that the Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan, is pulling a maneuver similar to Holders (and California Jerry Browns) that is, refusing to defend that states marriage law. See article.

Chicagos Thomas More Society’s June 14 press release on the decision of the Cook County States Attorneys office to also not defend the states valid marriage law states in part:

We are disappointed in the Cook County States Attorneys office for not defending this valid law, passed with broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly. While the plaintiff couples in the case are from hundreds of miles outside of Chicago, Lambda Legal and the ACLU sued only the Cook County Clerk and excluded from the case the local clerks for these couples. Todays announcement by States Attorney Alvarez makes it clear that this lawsuit was an inside job from the beginning, a crass political move to force same sex marriage on all Illinoisans without providing the residents of the other 101 counties an opportunity to be heard. The Thomas More Society is preparing legal papers to defend the law and prevent this collusive end run around the will of the people of Illinois and their General Assembly.

 

Hope and Human Trafficking

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 25, 2012

American Christians, who understand the incomprehensible scandal and moral horror of sex trafficking must recognize that this is an issue of high moral priority.” So says Al Mohler in his latest op-ed, “The Ugly American - Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation.”

Aptly said: What Dr. Mohler rightly calls a scandal has become so widespread that, according to the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder is “designating a coordinator to oversee the Justice Departments efforts to combat human trafficking, describing it as modern-day slavery that has reached ‘crisis’ proportions on a global scale.”

The millions of victims of human trafficking deserve the help and support of Christians, especially as this problem grows here at home. As Attorney General Holder noted: “As incomprehensible as it seems, trafficking in girls is an increasingly prevalent part of gang activity. These crimes are seen as ‘low risk and high reward.’ They bring in more profits and often result in less prison time than dealing drugs. As one journalist who was covering instances of human trafficking here in Arkansas explained it: ‘You can only sell a drug once, but you can sell a human being over, and over, and over.’ Today, these transactions can be executed quickly, conveniently, and anonymously over the Internet and many of them involve young children.”

Eric Holder is not the Attorney General many of us would like: His refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, his commitment to defending the constitutionally indefensible Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), and his allegiance to an agenda that would erode religious liberty as our Constitution understands it make his tenure at Justice a dubious one. Yet on this issue, he’s getting it right - so much so, that in his speech he even praised pro-life, conservative Republican Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), whose longtime championship of the most vulnerable (born and unborn) elicits the praise even of his philosophical opponents (read more about his recent work here).

Earlier this month, just across the Potomac from FRC, “Two associates of a Fairfax County-based Crips gang pleaded guilty … to charges of running a prostitution ring that recruited and trafficked local high school girls, authorities said … At least 10 underage girls from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia were lured into prostitution and were forced to continue working through threats and violence, including rape, court records say.”

This gruesome phenomenon is occurring nationwide: From New York City to Odessa, Texas, this moral cancer is widespread throughout our country.

Thankfully, a number of wonderful ministries have stepped up to help those trapped in this modern-day slavery. FRC’s RealCompassion.org features links to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s “Servant Match” site and to the Catholic Charities homepage. Visit these sites to learn about ministries that, both here at home and abroad, are rescuing women and girls from the grip of involuntary sexual servitude and helping them move forward with hope and dignity.

Same-Sex Marriage Is Not Legal Under Federal Law. Ever. At Any Time.

by Peter Sprigg

May 17, 2011

Christianity Todays Politics Blog featured an article on May 13 by Tobin Grant with the unfortunate headline, Is Same-Sex Marriage Legal Under Federal Law? Maybe. Sometimes.

This headline is entirely wrong. Same-sex marriage is absolutely, unequivocally not legal under federal law. Ever. At any time.

That is because of a federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (usually abbreviated DOMA). Public Law 104-199 was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress (342-67 in the House, 85-14 in the Senate), and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.

One part of the Defense of Marriage Act provided that states could not be obligated to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.

The other key provision of DOMA (found in Section 3 of the bill), now under challenge in several courts, defines marriage for all purposes under federal law. It states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word spouse refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

This statute (now codified in Title I, Chapter 1, Section 7 of the United States Code) has never been repealed. It has never been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the law. And it is unequivocal in forbidding federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

What Grant actually describes is not any ambiguity about the state of the law, but rather the duplicity of the current administration under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. It is no secret that Obama would like to see DOMA repealed, but Holder has stated that in the meantime, Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch.

Holders actions, however, have belied those words. The latest example, described in Grants blog post, was Holders decision to overturn a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which had ruled against an application for resident status by an Irish man who entered into a civil union with an American in New Jersey. Holder asked the Board to consider the case again, and determine whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondents same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a spouse under the Immigration and Nationality Act. This is irrational, given that the requirements of DOMA are not absent, and it is utterly hypocritical when viewed in light of Holders promise to continue enforcement of DOMA.

In addition to the misleading headline, there is one other part of Grants blog post that requires some careful fact-checking. It is this paragraph:

One reason for the controversies is that the Department of Justice is opposed to the law. The opposition, however, only applies in certain jurisdictions. Contrary to headlines, the Department of Justice will defend DOMA in some courts. In February, Attorney General Eric Holder informed the Congress that the Department of Justice is opting out of defending DOMA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In other words, the DOJ will no longer defend the act if a gay couple appeals a decision in New York, Connecticut, or Vermont, but it will defend the act in other states.

Really? I have not hesitated to accuse the Attorney General of hypocrisy with regard to DOMA, but not with quite such a level of hypocrisy that they would argue in one court that a law is unconstitutional while simultaneously arguing in another court that it is not. Yet that is what Grant appears to be stating is the current stance of the Justice Department.

I think Mr. Grant has mis-read (or perhaps not read all of) Mr. Holders letter to Congress on February 23. The very opening sentence of that letter reads,

After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.

This amounted to a reversal of position for the Justice Department, which had defended DOMA, in the past, in other cases. For example, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts last year declared DOMA unconstitutional in a pair of cases, which are now on appeal to the First Circuit. The Justice Department filed briefs defending DOMA in those cases as recently as January 13 of this year.

To understand why the administration reversed its position, you must understand the different standards for deciding equal protection casesrational basis vs. heightened scrutiny.

When a law creates a classification that treats some individuals or groups differently from others (in this case, treating opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex couples), it may sometimes be challenged as violating the constitutions guarantee of the equal protection of the law. However, most laws are judged under a rational basis test, meaning that a legislative enactment will be upheld as long as there is any conceivable rational basis for the classification.

However, heightened scrutiny usually applies to classifications based on characteristics considered immutable and irrelevant to legitimate policy objectives, possessed by groups who are minorities or politically powerless and have been subject to a history of discrimination. The classic examples are race and sex. Use of a heightened scrutiny standard increases the chances of a court striking down a legislative enactment.

Earlier cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA (such as the Massachusetts cases mentioned above) had been filed in federal court circuits in which there was controlling precedent saying that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject only to a rational basis test. The DOJs briefs had argued that DOMA was constitutional by this standard.

The new lawsuits challenging DOMA in New York and Connecticut, however, were filed in federal courts located in a circuit (the 2nd) without any such precedent. Mr. Holder claims that this caused the DOJ to re-examine the question of the appropriate standard of inquiry, and that in turn led him to declare that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny. (It could be argued that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman actually does not classify on the basis of sexual orientation at all, but that would require a separate blog post.)

Holder wrote, Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen (the two new Second Circuit cases).

What if the Second Circuit rejects the administrations heightened scrutiny argument? Holder stated,

If asked by the district courts in the Second Circuit for the position of the United States in the event those courts determine that the applicable standard is rational basis, the Department will state that, consistent with the position it has taken in prior cases, a reasonable argument for Section 3s constitutionality may be proffered under that permissive standard.

Here, Holder appears to stand by the Departments previous arguments under the more lenient standardbut he could hardly have done otherwise without appearing utterly foolish. But to say this means the Department will defend the act at all, as Grant states, seems a stretch. Note, for instance, the use of the passive voicea reasonable argument … may be proffered, not that we will proffer such an argument.

Even before making the statement above, Holder declared, This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute.

Still, the focus in Holders letter on the newer Second Circuit cases might be seen as still leaving some ambiguity about the DOJs defense of DOMA in other courtsuntil you reach the penultimate paragraph of the letter. Here, he states,

I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation [emphasis added] of the President’s and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

The reason for the primary focus on the Second Circuit cases in Holders February 23 letter to Congress was one of timinghe concludes by warning Speaker Boehner (as the likely new defender of DOMA), A motion to dismiss in the Windsor and Pedersen cases would be due on March 11, 2011just sixteen days after the letter was sent. But courts in other pending DOMA litigation would be given the same statement.

The position of the administration on the defense of DOMA is now clearthe law violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. As a result, the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

Tobin Grants claim that DOJs opposition [to DOMA] only applies in certain jurisdictions and that the DOJ … will defend the act in other states must be rated as incorrect.

The Future of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

by Peter Sprigg

March 4, 2011

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted in 1996 by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It ensured that states would not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, and that the federal government would recognize only the union of one man and one woman as marriage.

Yet now, DOMA is under the sharpest attack in its historydespite the fact that four federal courts have already upheld its constitutionality, and no federal or state appellate court has ever said that it violates the U.S. Constitution. In July 2010, however, a single federal District Court Judge in Boston, Joseph L. Tauro, ruled in a pair of cases that the federal definition of marriage in DOMA is unconstitutional. In November 2010, two more federal court challenges to DOMA were filed in New York and Connecticut. In total, there are no less than ten currently pending federal court cases which involve some form of challenge to DOMA. Here are some key questions and answers about the current status of this law:

Q: What did Attorney General Eric Holder announce on February 23 about the administrations position regarding the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

A: In a press release and in a letter to Congress, Mr. Holder said that he and President Obama have concluded that one of the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Actthe one which limits the federal government to recognizing only marriages between one man and one womanis unconstitutional. This marked a sharp reversal, since the Department of Justice has submitted several briefs defending the constitutionality of DOMA in previous court cases.

This decision represents a shocking abdication of the Attorney Generals, and the Presidents, constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and sets a dangerous precedent for future executive refusals to defend existing law.

Q: What motivated this change of position?

A: Politics likely played a major role, as the Obama Administration has been under intense pressure from pro-homosexual activists to stop defending DOMA. There is also evidence which suggests collusion between the Justice Department and attorneys who are challenging DOMA and the definition of marriage in court. Attorneys in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, who seek to overturn Californias marriage amendment (Proposition 8) and establish a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage, filed a Motion to Vacate Stay with the Ninth Circuit, containing detailed citations from the Attorney Generals letter, just hours after the letter was released.

Family Research Council has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any communications between the DOJ and litigants and attorneys in this case or in the cases challenging DOMA in other courts.

Q: Hasnt President Obama opposed DOMA all along?

A: Yes, Mr. Obama favors the repeal of DOMA. However, it is possible to believe that a law represents bad public policy, while at the same time believing that it does not violate the Constitution. This had been the position of the Obama administration until February 23, 2011.

QHow can the Administration justify such an about-face?

A: Earlier cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA (such as the Massachusetts cases decided by Judge Tauro) had been filed in federal court circuits in which there was controlling precedent saying that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject only to a rational basis testthe most lenient level of scrutiny, under which legislative choices are accorded the greatest deference. The DOJs briefs had argued that DOMA was constitutional by this standard.

The new lawsuits challenging DOMA in New York and Connecticut, however, were filed in federal courts located in a circuit (the Second) without any such precedent. Mr. Holder claims that this caused the DOJ to re-examine the question of the appropriate standard of inquiry, and that in turn led him to declare that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny.

Q: What does heightened scrutiny mean?

A: When a law creates a classification that treats some individuals or groups differently from others (in this case, treating opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex couples), it may sometimes be challenged as violating the Constitutions guarantee of the equal protection of the law. However, most laws are judged under a rational basis test, meaning that a legislative enactment will be upheld as long as there is any conceivable rational basis for the classification.

However, heightened scrutiny usually applies to classifications based on characteristics considered immutable and irrelevant to legitimate policy objectives, possessed by groups who are minorities or politically powerless and have been subject to a history of discrimination. The classic examples are race and sex. The Supreme Court has never said that this standard applies to sexual orientation. It would increase the chances of a court striking down laws which limit marriage or its benefits to the union of one man and one woman, such as DOMA.

Q: How did the Attorney General justify this call for heightened scrutiny.

A: Mr. Holder asserted that a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable. However, he cited only one source in support of this contentionone dated 1992. In a footnote, he further claims that discrimination has been based on the incorrect belief that sexual orientation is a behavioral characteristic that can be changed.

In fact the theory that there is a gay gene or that people are born gay has been largely discredited by science since the early 1990s. Studies of identical twins, such as one in the American Journal of Sociology in 2002, support the hypothesis that less gendered socialization in early childhood and preadolescence shapes subsequent homosexuality. And evidence that homosexuals can change has come even from Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who led the effort to remove homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders. In a 2003 study, Spitzer found that changes [in sexual orientation] … were not limited to sexual behavior and … self-identity. The changes encompassed sexual attraction … the core aspects of sexual orientation.

Q: Who can defend DOMA if the Justice Department refuses to?

A: The courts have long recognized Congresss vital interest in defending the constitutionality of its Acts in the rare circumstances that the Justice Department refuses to provide such a defense. This happens as recently as 1983 in INS v. Chadha. The Supreme Court made clear in the 1997 case Raines v. Byrd that individual members cannot assert these interests, as Congress can only act through resolutions passed by the majority. Either chamber may do so individually.

Q: What would it mean if DOMA were struck down by the courts?

A: The immediate result would be federal government recognition of same-sex marriages that are already legal in the state where they occurred. However, if the federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is found unconstitutional, it would be only a matter of time before the same definition at the state level would be struck downincluding in the 29 states that have put that definition in their own constitutions. This is exactly the remedy sought by the plaintiffs in Perry (the Proposition 8 case), which is now before the Ninth Circuit.

Q: What should be done now?

A: Congress must continue to defend DOMA in court, since the Justice Department refuses to do so. Bills to legalize same-sex marriage must be defeated in state legislatures, and additional state marriage amendments must be adopted defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These make it hard for any court to find that there is an emerging consensus in favor of same-sex marriage. Finally, pro-family groups actively involved in the defense of marriage in court, such as the Alliance Defense Fund, and others involved in filing and coordinating amicus briefs, such as Family Research Council, need financial support for these efforts.

It is quite possible that the issue of same-sex marriage will reach the U. S. Supreme Court in 2012 or 2013. Pro-family citizens and office-holders must speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Are you Up All Night?

by Robert Morrison

October 8, 2010

Laura Blumenfelds excellent story was run by the Washington Post on Sunday, July 4th. Was that a way of burying it? It was, after all, right there on the front page. But there arent many people who race to read the Post on the nations birthday. In her report, Miss Blumenfeld details all kinds of interesting information about our national security team. Its filled with the kind of portentous sentences (Headlights approach on an empty road. A government agent steps out of an armored SUV, carrying a locked, black satchel…) that give Tom Clancy readers their sense of being in on really big events.

Why did this story appear at all? Was it a good idea to splash all over the front pages specific information on who is briefed by whom, where, and about what?

We are led to believe by the weighty headlineUp All Nightthat some very important people are very serious about our security. Why, Attorney General Eric Holder is described as occupying the loneliest perch among the Presidents nighthawks. Here he is at 1 a.m., munching Chips Ahoy and deciding that the 9/11 terrorists should be tried in a civilian court in Lower Manhattan. His late-night deliberations are so important that hes even left his Jay-Z and Tupac music back at his massive office in the Justice Department. Here, we are told in ponderous tones, Holder is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States and the Presidents good friend. The tension is to be independent, yet part of the administration, he says. Chip Chip Ahoy!

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cant quite get her antiquated FAX machine to function reliably. But shes dead sure that the borders have been secured. Shes depicted fussing in a matronly manner over her midnight cup of tea. Tea party, anyone?

Most indelible of all the impressions in this longish holiday article is the portrait of retired Marine Gen. James Jones. Hes the Presidents National Security Advisor. And he just resigned today.

He should be remembered well. It is with Gen. Jones that we get inside the White House Situation Room. The story is worth quoting here:

12:35 a.m.

White House Situation Room

The night duty officer can’t hear his own voice. A White House maid is vacuuming. “Can you wrap it up?” He plugs a finger in his ear and presses his mouth to the classified, yellow phone: “This is the Situation Room. We are going to try to connect Gen. Jones with his Russian counterpart.”

Yes, sir,” replies a communications officer at the end of the line, cruising with Jones on the C-40 toward Pakistan.

The national security adviser is 37,000 feet over the Atlantic, bunking with Leon Panetta. Jones has changed out of charcoal pinstripes into a Georgetown sweat shirt. He checked an e-mail update about his pregnant daughter-in-law. “No baby yet,” his son said. There are complications, and Jones is concerned.

Before he can sleep, Jones also needs to talk to Kremlin foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko, to help negotiate a tougher stance on Iran’s nuclear program. The Situation Room officer who handles secure calls for the West Wing is trying to locate Prikhodko, who’s traveling in Kiev.

All most impressive, perhaps even reassuring—-if you didnt know anything about national security. While I thank Gen. Jones for his service and revere his Marine Corps, I am not comforted by the fact that he felt the need to connect with his Russian counterpart.

Gen. Jones does not have a Russian counterpart. The general serves a constitutional republic. The leaders of this republic, ever since that first Fourth of July in 1776, have been chosen by our free people.

Segei Phkhodko serves the regime of Vladimir Putin. Putin spent a career in the Soviet KGB before making a quick transition to become Prime Minister to the last democratic leader in the Kremlin, the only freely chosen leader in Russias thousand-year history of tyranny. That was the heroic, but drunken Boris Yeltsin.

It was Putin who gave President Yeltsin the heave-ho on New Years Eve, 2000. While the West was distracted by Millennium celebrations and absorbed with Y2K jitters, Yeltsin doubtless woke up on Jan. 1, 2000 with a hangover, a pension, and a security detail whose purpose it was to keep him closely guarded. Interesting, isnt it, that no one ever saw ex-President Yeltsin anywhere in the West?

President George W. Bush gushed early in his administration met President Putin. It was then that he looked into the Russian rulers eyes, had seen into his soul, and pronounced him a good man.

Nice to hear it. Vladimir Bukovsky, the great Russian dissident, said he had looked into the eyes of many a KGB agent. He didnt find the experience especially souful. Nor did he pronounce any of his jailers and torturers good men.

On the same day Gen. Jones has resigned, the Post reports a memorial service in Moscow. Four years after the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politikovskaya, there have been no breakthroughs in the investigation of her killers. Brave Russians gather to remember this wonderful woman. Does anyone think Sergei Phikhodko would be among her mourners? Or that he and Putin would stir themselves to find her killers? Politikovskaya is one of fifty-two Russian journalists murdered since 1992.

It is deeply depressing to learn that our emperors are naked, that they have no idea what they are doing to render us safe from espionage and foreign attack. I never had the chance to meet anyone so powerful as Vladimir Putin or Sergei Prikhodko. I operated at the lowest level, dealing with Soviets as a Russian language interpreter for the Coast Guard.

We were doing fisheries patrols in the Bering Sea, boarding the floating garbage scows they call trawlers. Very low level stuff. But I learned then not to trust the Soviets. I saw their newly printed postersapproved by the state censors at Glavlit in Moscowthat showed nothing but a violent hatred of the United States of America.

I did not hate the Russians. I felt compassion for them in their cheap, shoddy clothing, their cardboard shoes, and their ill-fitting uniforms. I tried always to respect their human dignity. I could feel their resentment, though, their wounded sense of inferiority that made them a dangerous adversary.

Never for a moment did I forgot that I was a representative of the Great Republic. My authority came from a good and free people whose liberties and constitutional government are the wonder of the world. I never doubted American Exceptionalism. And I had no Russian counterpart.

Gushing all this sensitive information to the Washington Post is unwise in the extreme. Has anyone in this administration ever heard of the spetsnats, the Soviet-era assassination teams whose function it was to decapitate the governments of Western democracies, to render them incapable of responding to a Soviet assault? Do we seriously think that all those spetsnats units have been disbanded? If were not worried about Russians, do we think jihadists in nearby Falls Church, Virginia, cant read the Post?

Winston Churchill explained Russias behavior to us at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, back in 1946. It was that famous speech in which he described an Iron Curtain, giving that phrase currency for the first time. He said the Russians did not want a war. What they wanted was the fruits of war without war.

They wanted all they could get through espionage, deception, and Western naivety. And now, with this administration, they are getting all they want. The Post article, Up All Night, has had me up all night on a number of occasions. I find myself praying late nights that our unprepared, irresolute leaders learn what we need to know before a tragedy strikes.

Robert Morrison served as a Russian language interpreter and Top Secret Control Officer in the Coast Guard, when we had top secrets.

Is Obama Caving on the Manhattan KSM Trial?

by Chris Gacek

January 29, 2010

The New York Daily News reported last night (Thursday, 1/29/2010):

The White House ordered the Justice Department Thursday night to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.

The dramatic turnabout came hours after Mayor Bloomberg said he would prefer that they did it elsewhere and then spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Well, the dam appears to be breaking on ostensibly what is the easiest of the Jack Bauer War issues facing the Obama Administration: that is, where to try KSM. I say ostensibly because the matter of where to try KSM will not be as easy it may seem.

All this being said, there are all sorts of conflicting stories about whether or not this will happen. See Jack Fosters piece at NRO.

According to the Daily News account four options are being considered all in New York State: 1) Governors Island (near Manhattan and Brooklyn); 2) West Point, N.Y.(U.S. Military Academy); 3) Newburgh, N.Y.(Stewart Air National Guard Base); and 4) Otisville, NY (Federal Correction Institution).

Why wont this be so easy? First, leaving aside Governors Island, these communities will go crazy in opposition. Even Governors Island may not leave New Yorkers feeling warm and fuzzy. Second, a civilian trial will still be a disaster. Think Slobodan Milosevic turning the Hague into a circus for a year. Enormous damage will be done to the national security. Third, the cost will still be enormous. Fourth, what civilian will risk his or his familys well-being to sit on the jury? Can the jurors identity be protected?

I guess the good news is that they can always move the trial back to Guantanamo. Didnt KSM already plead guilty before a military commission down there and ask to be executed? Oh, I forgot, he was given the mass-murdering-jihadist-criminal-procedure-do-over-and-mulligan.

So, how long does Eric Holder have left as Attorney General?

Archives