I’m not saying that our Republic is unraveling. However, we cannot miss yet another example of what appears to be a dangerous case of arrogance.
Remember arrogance? Edward Snowden exposed the last great example of self-righteous arrogance when he exposed – albeit illegally – the NSA’s sense of self-righteousness: “we’re protecting you, ergo, we are not bound by constitutional questions.” In fact, in the NSA’s view, it is not even bound by congressional inquiry and can justifiably lie – yes, Clapper either lied or is so uninformed about what his agency is doing that he should be immediately replaced – to Congress. Lie to Congress.
Why Congress is not literally freaking out, I don’t know, although that is a symptom of another large problem for another discussion.
We should remember that same sort of arrogance we endured during the Bush years, when the reigning administration leveraged 9/11 attacks to justify an unjustifiable attack on a sovereign nation that had done nothing to provoke our ire. And, within that drama, we saw the incredible arrogance of people like Don Rumsfeld and his sidekick Paul Wolfowitz, who chose to disregard contrary voices from those most experienced in diplomacy, strategy, operations, and tactics in favor of their own flawed notions of warfare from 40,000 feet.
Remember, aside from discounting the advice of our military chiefs, Rumsfeld and company marginalized the Department of State’s extensive planning for Today, anyone still interested in Iraq – since the topic has long lost its place in headlines, even though we are squarely responsible for the essential civil war that continues on there – is witnessing the ongoing fallout of dismantling the Iraqi government, as distasteful as Saddam Hussein was, without a realistic plan, both for the attack and the Phase IV operations. Then, as now, Congress refused to hold the administration accountable and, instead, issued a carte blanche.
Meanwhile, a literally innumerable number of veterans, our nation’s most precious, valuable resource, still suffer – from multiple amputations, brain injuries, PTSD, and other illnesses. They are bearing the brunt of that administration’s arrogance.
Now, another example. Apparently, the Drug Enforcement Agency – partnered with the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security in a sub-agency called SOD, or Special Operations Division (yes, the IRS is among them) – has decided to misrepresent their investigations to the courts and defense attorneys in order to hedge their bets on convicting the accused. In the DEA’s view, according to Reuters’ exclusive “U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans,” August 5, 2013, “DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.”
Documents that Reuters reviewed “specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use ‘normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.’”
In other words, DEA directs other organizations to fabricate the details of their cases against some Americans, or at least to withhold information from defense counsel and even prosecutors. I’m no lawyer, but according to Reuters, James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association responded, “’That’s outrageous . . . . It strikes me as indefensible.’”
Arrogance: “we’re doing it to protect you, to get the bad guys off the street. The law is irrelevant.”
Again, Congress should be up in arms. The President should be up in arms. Those responsible should be held accountable, held in contempt, prosecuted. It is a civil rights issue that deserves the most ruthless scrutiny by Congress.
It’s the Constitution, people. It’s not a set of guidelines. There are no “exceptions to policy” in Constitutional Law.
Let’s please get with it.