The following is an excellent article that was originally published on the Huffington Post website on May 14, 2013 by Richard Eskow which was republished in “The Progressive Populist” on June 15, 2013 on page 12 under the title “Holder Aggressive on Leaks, Not Banks” and I quote:
“Apparently it never occurred to Attorney General Eric Holder that the Associated Press might be “too big to fail.” If it had,then his Justice Department probably never would have investigated it.
The AP isn’t just any news agency. It’s the largest one in the United States and one of the three largest in the world, along with Great Britain’s Reuters and Agence France-Presse. And it is, understandably enough, angry.
So are journalists who work for other outlets, along defenders of a free press and supporters of an informed citizenry. Journalists must be free of direct or implied intimidation if democracy is to work properly. And yet, correspondents who cover this Administration will often admit privately that they do feel intimidated.
“Twice as much as all previous administrations combined”
A free press sometimes makes powerful people uncomfortable. It can even cause them considerable inconvenience. Actions against journalists must be very carefully weighed against democratic principle and fundamental freedoms. Instead, this White House has been as zealous as its Republican predecessors – in many ways, more so – both in its pursuit of low-level officials who leak information to reporters, and in its pursuit of reporters themselves.
The AP investigation, which seems quite broad, is only one example of that. As The New York Times reports: “Under President Obama, six current and former government officials have been indicted in leak-related cases so far, twice the number brought under all previous administrations combined.”
Even the Bush Administration didn’t find it necessary to pursue journalists and truth-revealing Americans as fiercely as the Obama White House.
“Too big to jail”
Holder said today that investigators were pursuing a “very serious” leak which “put the American people at risk” and therefore required “very aggressive action.” That approach stands in stark contrast to his comments about bank prosecutions this past March, when he said: “the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them (because) if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” Holder’s comment appears to be disingenuous on its face, since he fails to explain how prosecuting individual wrongdoers at those institutions would threaten the national or world economy. That’s the primary demand of those who criticize his failure to investigate or prosecute Wall Street criminals.
Subpoena these records
It’s also why the Home Defenders League has announced a week of action starting May 20 to demand an end to the Obama/Holder “too big to jail” policy. That policy has led to extraordinary prosecutorial passivity in the face of overwhelming evidence. There’s certainly no sign that the Justice Department has ever sought the phone records or emails of America’s top bankers.
That’s not for a lack of promising leads to pursue, including:
Which bankers conspired to rig LIBOR pricing or fix other rates?
What discussions were held among MERS users about using the database and shell company to conceal the identity of mortgage lien holders or evade local taxes and fees?
What conversations were held between accounting firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and executives at AIG, Goldman Sachs, or other institutions about concealing their true financial status?
How frequently was JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in touch with the “London Whale” and his office, and how aware was Dimon of the extent of losses when he told investors the six-billion-dollar blunder was a “tempest in a teapot”?
When and how did CEOs and other senior bank executives learn of widespread fraud in the foreclosure process at their banks, and to what extent were they accessories after the fact in these crimes?
But instead of pursuing these crimes, the Obama/Holder Justice Department chose to aggressively pursue the phone records of journalists — including those who weren’t involved in the story they were investigating.
A time for skepticism
Holder said that story “put the American people at risk.” But experience with other civil-liberties-unfriendly administrations should teach us to treat such warnings with some skepticism. The AP piece which apparently triggered the investigation reported that the CIA thwarted an attempt by al-Qaeda in Yemen to blow up an American airliner.
But another story filed the same day as the AP’s, and credited to “NBC News and msnbc.com news services,” begins as follows:
“The CIA foiled a plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner this month, senior U.S. officials told NBC News.”
Sounds like a promising lead — if you really want to find the leaker. Were reporters at the administration-friendly NBC/MSNBC operation subject to the same level of scrutiny as AP’s?
Motivation becomes a key factor when considering the targets a Justice Department chooses to pursue — or ignore. Deputy Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who was charged with investigating Wall Street crimes and whose inaction became a national disgrace, has already cashed in with a specially-created senior position at Wall Street defense firm Covington & Burling…
… which happens to be the firm that employed Eric Holder when he defended Wall Street bankers.
Americans at Risk
Every law enforcement agency needs to worry about keeping its citizens safe. But “too big to jail” leaves the administration with a black mark in that category, too. Our nation’s bankers “put Americans at risk” before 2008 and continue to do so every day. Their misdeeds have deprived Americans of wealth, health, and even their lives. (The suicide rate has risen four times faster since the recession began.)
But bank crime doesn’t seem to appear on the Obama Administration’s radar, and it doesn’t seem to interest the Holder Justice Department. That means local law enforcement spends a lot more time evicting homeowners — including the victims of illegal foreclosure — than it does arresting lawbreaking bankers. They’re wiretapping reporters and jailing leakers,while letting executive-suite criminals go free.
Apparently leaks which keep the public informed require “very aggressive action” — but crimes which shatter the economy, leaving millions without homes and millions more without jobs aren’t worth lifting a finger to investigate.
Follow Richard (RJ) Eskow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rjeskow”
(THE STORY BY RICHARD ESKOW IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT WHEN HE WROTE THIS ARTICLE FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST AND IT WAS PICKED UP BY THE JUNE 15, 2013 ISSUE OF THE PROGRESSIVE POPULIST TITLED “HOLDER AGGRESSIVE ON LEAKS, NOT BANKS” ON PAGE 12. THE MAJOR MEDIA WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS, HAS BEEN DOING A MISERABLE JOB ON THE STORIES THEY SHOULD COVER AND THAT IS ARTICLES ABOUT WHY OUR ECONOMY IS IN A DOWNWARD SKID, PaRTICULARLY AFTER OUR INVESTMENT BANKERS GOT INTO ALL THOSE SUBPRIME LOANS. AND THE WAY AIG AND COUNTRYWIDE USED MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES AND CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. THESE ARE DERIVATIVES THAT ARE UNREGULATED AND HAVE NO VALUE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN INVESTIGATED. I FEEL IT IS ABOUT TIME THE IRS INVESTIGATES THEM. I ASLO READ AN ARTICLE IN THIS SAME ISSUE ON PAGE 13 TITLED “IRS WAS DEAD RIGHT TO SCRUTINIZE TEA PARTY” WRITTEN BY PETER GOODMAN, WHO IS THE BUSINESS EDITOR OF THE HUFFINGTON POST AND WROTE THE BOOK “PAST DUE: THE END OF EASY MONEY AND THE RENEWAL OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.” IT DOESN’T TAKE ANY GENIUS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN CONGRESS WHEN THE HIGHEST RANKING DEMOCRAT IN THE U.S. SENATE, SENATOR DICK DURBIN OF ILLINOIS BLURTED OUT ON A LOCAL RADIO STATION IN APRIL 2009: “THE BANKS–HARD TO BELIEVE IN A TIME WHEN WE’RE FACING A BANKING CRISIS THAT MANY OF THE BANKS CREATED–ARE STILL THE MOST POWERFUL LOBBY ON CAPITOL HILL. AND THEY FRANKLY OWN THE PLACE.”” THIS TIES IN WITH BOOKS I’VE READ WHERE THERE ARE 3,000 BANKING LOBBYISTS ON PAGE 110 IN THE BOOK “WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR SOME: HOW THE LAW IS USED TO DESTROY EQUALITY AND PROTECT THE POWERFUL” BY GLENN GREENWALD. THERE ARE DOZENS OF GREAT BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT WHY OUR ECONOMY IS GOING BANKRUPT AND YOU CAN READ THEM THROUGH YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. THE HUFFINGTON POST IS ALSO DOING A GREAT JOB OF GETTING THE WORD OUT, CONCERNING THE GROWING WEALTH GAP BETWEEN THE BILLIONAIRES AND THE 99 PERCENT. YOU THROW THIS IN WITH SOME BI-WEEKLIES (THE PROGRESSIVE POPULIST) AND WEEKLIES, SUCH AS THE NATION, WHO EVEN HAS A BLOG SITE (THE NATION BUILDERS) MAKING IT EXCEPTIONALLY EASY FOR THE PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO BECOME FRIENDS.
LaVern Isely, Overtaxed Independent MIddle Class Taxpayer & Public Citizen & AARP Members