Eric Holder’s time is up at the Justice Department.
It’s not that he’s done a bad job, or that he’s a bad lawyer, or that he’s corrupt – that he’s committed an actual crime.
It is, however, time for him to go in the face of a growing controversy involving the procuring of phone record from reporters.
President Obama’s got a tough call to make. He and the attorney general are good friends. Holder is a historic AG, the first African-American to hold that job. Holder, though, is facing a nearly impossible task of extricating himself from the controversy while clinging to his job. It will dog him for as long as he stands at his post.
When that happens, all else gets pushed into the background.
Holder’s Justice Department in May 2012 got hold of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors after the news agency reported on the foiling of a botched terror attack. It was thought that the attack was meant to commemorate the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan. The Justice Department seems to think some classified information was used to report on the story, so it seized the phone records to look for evidence of a national security breach.
It’s understandable that DOJ would be concerned. But it has this little problem called the First Amendment to the Constitution which says quite clearly that the government cannot interfere with a free press.
AP news executives have been quite alarmed at what they call an “unprecedented” search for phone logs.
This has happened on Eric Holder’s watch at the Justice Department.
The media are outraged, as are politicians of both parties. They want answers. So far, the AG hasn’t given them.
It’s time for him to leave. It’s also time for the president to get involved actively in assembling a new leadership team at the Justice Department.