Attorney General Eric Holder has huge responsibilities as the nation's top law officer. But he doesn't know anything about what his huge chunk of government is doing - so he claims. He answered "I don't know" time after time (someone counted fifty seven times) yesterday to the House Judiciary Committee.
"I don't know."
It was so bad that one of Obama's chief cheerleaders in the media, Dana Milbank, noticed:
Why didn’t his Justice Department inform the Associated Press, as the law requires, before pawing through reporters’ phone records?
“I do not know,” the attorney general told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon, “why that was or was not done. I simply don’t have a factual basis to answer that question.”
Why didn’t the DOJ seek the AP’s cooperation, as the law also requires, before issuing subpoenas?
“I don’t know what happened there,” Holder replied. “I was recused from the case.”
Why, asked the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), was the whole matter handled in a manner that appears “contrary to the law and standard procedure”?
“I don’t have a factual basis to answer the questions that you have asked, because I was recused,” the attorney general said.
On and on Holder went: “I don’t know. I don’t know. . . . I would not want to reveal what I know. . . . I don’t know why that didn’t happen. . . . I know nothing, so I’m not in a position really to answer.”
Why such a massive claim of ignorance from one of the most powerful people in Obama's government? Milbank again:
Milbank shows clearly that the magic is gone:
Holder seemed to regard this ignorance as a shield protecting him and the Justice Department from all criticism of the Obama administration’s assault on press freedoms.
But there would be more sympathy, and support, for Holder if he took seriously the lawmakers’ legitimate questions about his department’s abuse of power in the AP case. He may have recused himself from the leak probe that led to the searches of reporters’ phone records (a decision he took so lightly that he didn’t put it in writing), but he isn’t recused from defending the First Amendment.