In 20 years or so of editorial writing, I’ve rarely suggested Cabinet members resign. And as I contemplate calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to step down over the seizure of phone records from the Associated Press, I hesitate just a bit.
Not that a newspaper editor has to follow some strict standards in making such a call. We aren’t a body of government, sworn to follow legal procedures or base our opinions on statutory reasoning. But I like to think these things through.
For instance, I’ve been angry at Holder for some time for things that have nothing to do with the AP leak investigation. I think his department railroaded Tarek Mehanna and a number of other innocents caught up in “war on terror” entrapment and over-zealousness. I fault Holder for prosecuting marijuana distributors licensed to do business by their states.
More to the point, on the AP case, I expect Holder was probably right to recuse himself from involvement in supervising the leak investigation – though he should have done it in writing and he shouldn’t have been so cagey in his testimony before Congress Wednesday. If he legitimately recused himself, should he be held personally accountable for it?
All the facts aren’t in, but it seems to me the deputy AG who did supervise the case should be fired for what is clearly a violation of the DoJ’s own guidelines. The responsible party in the FBI should be punished as well. And maybe Holder should go as well, if only because he’s responsible for a department where such a flagrant violation of its guidelines was able to occur.
But for whatever reason, Holder should go.