The new USA Today series on prosecutorial misconduct in the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) seems to have Holder a bit worried, as it makes his department look bad. However, before there was USA Today, there was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which published a devastating series in 1998 on DOJ misconduct.
What is significant here is that Holder was Deputy Attorney General under Janet "Waco" Reno, one of the most dishonest and venal prosecutors ever to hold any position of authority in this country, and much of the PG's series deals with the wrongdoing of the Reno DOJ. Reno's conduct as a prosecutor in Florida (even before she ordered the biggest U.S. Government massacre of civilians since Wounded Knee a century before Waco) made Chris Arnt and Len Gregor look to be honest professionals. I'm not kidding. Reno was so bad that Dorothy Rabinowitz actually won a Pulitzer Prize writing, in part, about Reno's lies and prosecutorial misconduct.
Bill Moushey, a hard-working son of a police officer, is a blue-collar sort of guy who has a good moral compass and a real heart for people wrongly charged. The opening paragraphs to his series says it all, not only about the series, but how Moushey sees the substance of wrongdoing:
Hundreds of times during the past 10 years, federal agents and prosecutors have pursued justice by breaking the law.What is the fundamental problem here? Lies. It is NOT somehow a lack of "ethical" training on behalf of federal prosecutors.
They lied, hid evidence, distorted facts, engaged in cover-ups, paid for perjury and set up innocent people in a relentless effort to win indictments, guilty pleas and convictions, a two-year Post-Gazette investigation found.
Rarely were these federal officials punished for their misconduct. Rarely did they admit their conduct was wrong.
New laws and court rulings that encourage federal law enforcement officers to press the boundaries of their power while providing few safeguards against abuse fueled their actions.
Victims of this misconduct sometimes lost their jobs, assets and even families. Some remain in prison because prosecutors withheld favorable evidence or allowed fabricated testimony. Some criminals walk free as a reward for conspiring with the government in its effort to deny others their rights.
Prosecutors don't lie because they missed a half-day seminar on ethics. No, they lie for one of two reasons:
- They are fundamentally dishonest, or are pathological liars;
- They know that (1) they probably won't get caught and if they ARE caught (2) nothing will happen to them.
Second, the "go along to get along" culture of the DOJ assures that people who actually have a conscience either will capitulate and become what they have hated or they will leave (or be driven out by the bad guys). Thus, the bad people are left and they dominate the system.
For that matter, one does not have to be a federal prosecutor to be abusive. Like the feds, state prosecutors have absolute immunity, so they really don't have to worry if they lie, hide evidence and the like, even if they are caught. Hey, they're just "doing their jobs," right?
Anyway, when faced with Mr. Moushey's series, Holder took a much different view of things, writing a letter to the P-G. You can read Holder's missives, but I like what the P-G said at the end of his letter:
Editors' note: The Justice Department was repeatedly given the opportunity to express its views on these and other cases before and during publication of the series. In every case cited here, the department refused.This is quite significant, for Mr. Moushey knew that these particular cases were problematic and he wanted to make sure he had the right information. However, Holder's strategy was to stonewall all requests, and then afterward claim that the series was defective because it had some "wrong" information.
In other words, Holder was not interested in getting at the truth. Instead, he gave the usual platitudes such as:
Federal prosecutors work around the clock putting criminals behind bars. Their work has helped reduce the national crime rate for more than six years in a row. And they are among the most respected and trusted lawyers in the nation.I read something like that, and say to myself: What crap! It reminded me of a question and answer session I once had with the former Sen. Jim Sasser of Tennessee.
I asked Sasser why it was that Congress exempted itself from laws it imposes on the rest of us. (There actually was a Constitutional reason for it -- to keep Congress separate from the control of the executive branch, but Sasser didn't know that answer.) In reply, Sasser told me that members of Congress were great people, some of the greatest people he had known.
The translation: "We don't have to obey laws because we are great people." Sorry, folks, that dog won't hunt.
So, while I am glad to see (once again) the exposure of crimes committed by federal prosecutors, nonetheless, Holder's response leaves me cold. The guy has NO INTENTION at all of doing what is right. Instead, he creates an illusion that the feds finally have learned their lessons and they will do better next time.
Yeah, all it takes is three hours in an "ethics" seminar. I'll believe THAT when I see it.