Obama’s DOJ Advocated Lying to Judges in June 2009

Back in 2006, a bunch of Islamic groups FOIAed the FBI to find out what kind of records the FBI had on them. The FBI blew the request off, so in 2007, the groups sued. When the groups got their data, they complained the FBI had improperly labeled much of the files as outside the scope of their request and in the case of CAIR, clearly not provided all the documents it had. Upon review, Judge Cormac Carney realized the government had lied to him about what was in the documents and the reasons they withheld information. His opinion in response, first written in 2009, was just rewritten in unclassified form and released. It’s a remarkable glimpse into the government’s disdain for separation of powers.

Much of Carney’s ruling responds to a government brief dated June 19, 2009 that remains sealed. But Carney’s ruling makes it pretty clear what the government argued. It suggests the government took Subsection 552(c) of FOIA–which allows the government to withhold information on ongoing criminal investigations, informant identities, or national security–and argued that it permitted the government to lie not only to plaintiffs in a FOIA suit, but also to the judge overseeing the suit.

Subsection (c) thus applies in the rare circumstance in which identifying the basis for withholding information or even disclosing the existence of a record could itself compromise an ongoing criminal investigation, the identity of a confidential informant, or classified foreign intelligence or international terrorism information. Id. In this limited context, the FOIA authorizes an agency to withhold information from a requester without disclosing its basis for doing so. Id. Nothing in Subsection (c), however, allows an agency to withhold information from the Court.

Carney’s ruling goes on to make clear that the government used a 1986 Ed Meese memo interpreting this exemption–stating that the government could tell a FOIA requester that no responsive records exist–and argued that Meese had condoned telling a court that no responsive records exist.

The Government’s policy is to inform a requesting party that there are no records in instances in which the agency determines that “disclosure of the very existence of the records in question ‘could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,’” or “the mere act of invoking Exemption 7(D) in response to a FOIA request tells the requester that somewhere within the records encompassed by the scope of his particular request there is reference to at least one confidential source,” or “the very existence or nonexistence, is itself a classified fact.” Id. at 20–21, 23, 25.

Despite its broad interpretation of the law enforcement exemptions and the new Section 552(c) exclusions, the Attorney General’s Memorandum does not condone lying to the Judiciary. To the contrary, the Attorney General’s Memorandum prohibits such conduct.

And finally, Carney’s ruling makes it clear that the government argued that even filing an in camera filing telling the judge that it had withheld records under this subsection would compromise national security.

Filing an in camera declaration concurrently with its public filings would not have compromised national security, and the Government’s argument to the contrary is simply not credible.

All of which leads to this true, but seemingly outdated, conclusion from Carney.

The Government argues that there are times when the interests of national security require the Government to mislead the Court. The Court strongly disagrees. The Government’s duty of honesty to the Court can never be excused, no matter what the circumstance. The Court is charged with the humbling task of defending the Constitution and ensuring that the Government does not falsely accuse people, needlessly invade their privacy or wrongfully deprive them of their liberty. The Court simply cannot perform this important task if the Government lies to it. Deception perverts justice. Truth always promotes it.

Now, aside from the fact that this ruling makes it clear that the Obama DOJ wrote a filing in June 2009 that advocated lying to judges, the suit is interesting for several reasons. As EFF notes, the revelation that the FBI lied on this FOIA response may suggest it has done so in other FOIA suits. And who know? We know Obama’s DOJ submitted several versions of revised declarations in the al-Haramain case in 2009; so it’s possible they were advocating lying to judges in that case, too.

But it’s also interesting for what it says about the underlying case. As I noted, the most obviously incomplete response that led to this suit came in the case of CAIR and Hussam Ayloush, the Executive Director of CAIR in LA. Originally, the FBI gave them a single document each, which was simply not credible given the amount of FBI surveillance of CAIR that had already been made clear.

Just as importantly, even as the government told CAIR it had just one document on it, CAIR was getting increasingly involved in a suit representing the Islamic Center of Irvine (that Center was not a party to this FOIA, though the Islamic Centers of San Gabriel Valley and Hawthorne were, and the suit makes it clear the informant reported on eight other mosques in Orange County and that Monteilh was part of a “broader surveillance program”) in a suit regarding an FBI informant’s violations of their civil rights.

An ex-con, Monteilh began working for the FBI in 2003. In 2006, he was asked to infiltrate the popular Islamic Center of Irvine, where he started attending prayers five times a day and donning an Islamic robe.

In May 2007, Monteilh recorded a conversation in a car with two worshipers, in which Monteilh suggested blowing up buildings. In the tape, one man agrees with Monteilh. But a few days after the conversation, the two worshipers contacted the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and reported Monteilh as a potential terrorist. Other worshippers told mosque leaders that they were scared of Monteilh and felt as though he was trying to entrap them. In June 2007, the mosque obtained a restraining order against the informant.

His relationship with the FBI deteriorated shortly afterwards and, after threatening to go public, Monteilh says he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000. In December 2007, Monteilh was arrested on a grand-theft charge and went to jail for 16 months.

Monteilh’s role as an informant was exposed in February 2009. Cormac Carney is the judge assigned to this suit.

In other words, back in 2007 when the government was withholding information on informants from CAIR and a bunch of southern California Islamic Centers, another Islamic Center and CAIR were exposing the offensive actions of what would turn out to be a FBI informant. And by the time the government claimed it could lie to Judge Carney in 2009, details of Monteilh’s informant activities were already becoming clear. And by the time Judge Carney ended his revised opinion last month with the sentence,

By disclosing that there are other documents that are responsive to Plaintiffs’ request, Plaintiffs will not learn anything they do not already know.

Groups affiliated with the plaintiffs in the FOIA case had already submitted a complaint to Carney laying out the type of information the FBI used an informant in one Islamic group to collect and stating that the FBI told the informant that “every mosque in the area” was under surveillance.

Not only did the government claim it could lie to Article III judges. It did so to hide information that was already being exposed as improper.

Update: I’ve reread the complaint on the informant, and note that they discovered Monteilh through the arrest of Ahmed Niazi in February 2009. (See PDF 42-43) At his bail hearing, the FBI testified to information collected via a confidential informant, who was Monteilh. But what’s particularly interesting is that when Monteilh was trying to elicit comments about violence, he did so with Niazi, who reported them to the cops and Hussam Ayloush. Ayloush reported him to the FBI. So Ayloush is actually named in this suit.

Also note: the reason Carney is presiding in the Monteilh suit is because it was determined to be a related case. The FBI subsequently tried to have this case transferred to the judge in Monteilh’s suit against the FBI, but the judge in that case declined.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. zapkitty says:

    Typo, needs rephrased:

    It did so to hide information that were already being exposed as improper.

  2. radiofreewill says:

    So, this case highlights a hole in the three-piece suit of the Constitution where the magic underwear of the unitary executive’s superpowers is showing through…

  3. harpie says:

    Executive lies to Judiciary.

    Judiciary doesn’t like it.

    It might be helpful, [as I’ve also said about Obama’s, Holder’s and Clinton’s pronouncements about Bin Laden supposedly having been brought to “Justice”], to know how…exactly…The Executive defines that term.

    • BlueFloridian says:

      As I watched the news clip of Holder’s pronouncement that the Osama Bin Laden assasination was lawful, I was just wondering if he had been placed under oath before testifying. But I see now that does not matter with the likes of Holder.
      If the DOJ under Holder advocates lying to a Court to justify an administration policy decision, then I am going to assume he takes the same care in regards to his statements to Congress. After this revelation, his statements are not worth the oxygen expenditure that is undertaken to make the statements.
      Lying to a Court as a strategy basis is a very grievous act that has personal implications for the lawyer that makes a determination that it will lie to the Court as part of its advocacy. It usually is a sure ticket to disbarment. Lying as a witness is a sure ticket to never being found credible in any Court of law again. And the advocacy of lying to a Court or to Congress to promote a policy is straight out of the Nixon presidential handbook. Wow. It is just amazing the absolutely depths of lawlessness that this administration has sunk to .

    • bobschacht says:

      I’ve been bothered by Obama’s repeated insistence that OBL has been “brought to justice,” too. But it is important to remember that OBL had criminal charges pending. This puts him on about the same legal footing as Bonnie & Clyde, and Jesse James, doesn’t it? Whether or not it rises above Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral, I’m not sure. But shoot-outs with “most wanted” targets seems to be a peculiarly American way of “doing justice.”

      I’m coming around to the POV that this belongs in the category of “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”

      Bob in AZ

      • harpie says:

        It may well often be the case that “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”, but that isn’t a definition of “Justice” as far as I’m concerned.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Such “justice” as OBL received, harpie, if bob has placed the act and the “philosophy” of such living in the proper category, is, of course, a two-edged sword.

          What nation most “lives by the sword” today?

          DW

          • bobschacht says:

            What nation most “lives by the sword” today?

            That would be us. As in, U.S. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

            That is exactly what I am worried about.

            My first wife and I had a cat with regal bearing that I called a boss cat. He made sure that all the other cats knew who was boss. This worked pretty well as long as he was fit. But as he grew older, I started to notice that when he came home, he steadily got more knicked up than before. His attitude didn’t change, but his abilities waned. Finally, there came a few episodes where we had to take him to the vet’s. It was about then that we decided that he had to be an “inside cat.” No more outside adventures.

            The trouble with being a boss cat is that sooner or later, you meet up with another boss cat who is bigger, younger, stronger and quicker than you are.

            One more illustrative tail: In all likelihood, King Arthur’s Excaliber (if both were historical) was probably a bronze short sword. Those worked fine, for a while– until the Germanic peoples who had settled in SE England started coming after them with long Iron broad-swords. Things got a bit more dicey for King Arthur and his Round Table after that.

            Actually my most important point is the one Rachel Maddow began her show with on Tuesday night. Osama Bin Laden’s real strategy was to bankrupt us, by drawing us into expensive wars (see especially 3:00 minutes into a 17 minute segment) and ruining our economy. He saw his great victory after 9/11 not in the casualties, but in the cost: He bragged that it cost us a trillion dollars. The financial costs– ours!!!– were on the top of his mind. See also Ezra Klein’s article in the NYT the same day, “Bin Laden’s war against the U.S. Economy.”

            So, who’s winning that one?

            Bob in AZ

            • DWBartoo says:

              My sense is that you’ve fairly laid out the future, Bob, if the looky forwardy, perpetual war, “we claim the right to kill anybody we want to, anytime, anywhere …” vision of US domination continues to hold sway.

              Though I suspeculate that rather than another Top Cat, our tiger will be thumped by a “committee” of lesser cats, individually intimidated by the striped one’s swager, but all realistically and reasonably aggrieved, annoyed, or down-trodden oppressed as the case might be …

              America once had the opportunity of being an influence for the good, but she early succumbed to the siren song of money and eventually left her people all behind … and then, in a fit of mindless fear, created and boldly stoked by a clever and remorseless few, she declared war against reason, behaved as if her own people were plotting against her and rushed off to engage an endless battle on an everywhere-battlefield, raining death and destruction as she pretended to frantically seek out the devil …

              And the war? It came home.

              With a vengence.

              Peace, when it finally came … found a very different land

              a land of ruin and desolation.

              And the people … those who remained, had not imagined that such a thing could happen to them… they were forever changed.

              That is the way of some empires, perhaps of all, utimately … they can’t help themselves.

              A sad tale, signifying precious little …

              And oft repeated.

              Perhaps, one day human beings will seek a better understanding of the wonderful place they have the very good fortune to inhabit … between Mother Nature and Father Time?

              DW

  4. DWBartoo says:

    Good on U.S. District Judge, Cormac J. Carney.

    From Carney’s decision:

    “Courts cannot determine what the law is without accurate facts. For this reason, judges must fiercely protect the integrity of the legal process.”

    (The rule of law …)

    “The Government has no legitimate basis for deceiving the Court …”

    (Or Congress, or even “the people” for that matter … if truth actually matters … and, as it is the essential basis of civil society itself, the truth does matter, always.)

    “Contrary to the Government’s assertion, disclosing that the Government lied to the Court … does not compromise national security.”

    (Even if it takes several years for the truth to be known, judicial “deference” to Governmental Authority always must be limited to reason, justice and the timely provision of truth from the Court, anything else is a form of complicity, and, ultimately, tyranny, and is fundamentally destructive of the trust necessary between a people and their government, that civil society and the “ordered liberty” of the rule of law which permits and sustains such a principled society, may actually flourish and endure.)

    DW

    • NMvoiceofreason says:

      Unfortunately, it is worse than that. The official DOJ position is that they are entitled to lie to the court whenever state secrets are at issue in a case. Think about that. Al-Haramain, Jeppessen, Padilla – every case that touches state secrets the DOJ has lied to the courts BY POLICY.

      • DWBartoo says:

        Yes, NMvor.

        Those are the “patterns” which the judiciary is bound, by principle, as well as by intitutional and personal “need” to assert the “checks” which the Constitution gives ONLY to the judiciary, to recognize, stand “fiercely” against, and institute “Consequence” in terms of unconstitutiional and illegal usurpation evidenced by EITHER of the other two branches of this allegedly constitutional government.

        It is not sufficent, nor reasonable for the Court to say that it cannot do its “job” without the truth, the Court MUST insist upon the truth. Doing so does not create a Constitutional crisis … the crisis ALREADY EXISTS, and the Court has the obligation of two things. First, revealling the truth of the crisis, the implications attendent to such crisis and then, IN THEIR PERSONS, with the powers constitutionally vested in the judiciary must do the second thing. The Court or Courts, the judiciary, must, by constitutional decree and intent, as well as by the simple and necessary power of honest reason, challange and seek, plainly, clearly. and very publicly, to thwart those, by now clear, usurpations of the Executive, by such means as may required. The Court(s) cannot evade this responsibity without dire consequence to the Court’s own continued legitimate existence.

        Congress has every obligation, sacred and practical, by virtue of the powers constitutionally invested in that branch, to join with the actions of the Court(s) and not hinder, in obvious fact or through hidden agenda, the needful and necessary application of “consequence” to an executive branch that claims ALL power, save acquiescence.

        The high comfort and public acclaim of Judicial or Congressional office must be earned, not by semantic evasions and or cunning complicity disguised as deference, but ONLY by rising to principle and the courage of decent conviction.

        DW

  5. MadDog says:

    …Not only did the government claim it could lie to Article III judges. It did so to hide information that was already being exposed as improper…

    This is not surprising given the decades of stuffing the DOJ with acolytes of the Edwin Meese school of lawyering, and in particular, those 8 years of the Bush/Cheney regime.

    Some might think my comment has been done in jest, but I’m most serious.

    If there is a Repug who has been, and is, more influential in directing the course of this country’s federal lawyering over the last 20 years, and in that, I include the judicial branch, it is Ed Meese.

    If there is a person who truly believes that the ends justify the means even more so than even Dick Cheney, it is Ed Meese.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Totally agree, MadDog. Meese’s “influence” is pervasive to the point of being totally ubiquitous, and destructive beyond imagining … if it is not soon halted and reversed, an utterly perverse “expediency” will tyrannize this nation, such as there is left of it, and plague all of humanity …

      DW

      • MadDog says:

        Neither Obama nor Holder have done anything to attempt to clean house. In many ways, both seem content to go along to get along, or even worse, they don’t really disagree.

        It may strike some as too fatalistic, but I really do wonder if we as a country haven’t already crossed a bridge too far.

  6. bmaz says:

    Well, here is the thing. There is a freaking formal process available for just these types of situations; it is recognized and does NOT involve lying to the court.

    It is called a Glomar Exception. From Wilner v. NSA:

    The NSA and DOJ served and filed so-called Glomar responses—neither confirming nor denying the existence of such records—pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 1 and 3. Whether, as a general matter, agencies may invoke the Glomar doctrine and whether, in particular, the NSA may invoke the Glomar doctrine in response to a FOIA request for records obtained under the Terrorist Surveillance Program (“TSP”) are both questions of first impression for our Court.

    We affirm the judgment of the District Court upholding the NSA’s Glomar response and hold that: (1) a Glomar response is available to agencies as a valid response to FOIA requests; (2) an agency may issue a Glomar response to FOIA requests seeking information obtained pursuant to a “publicly acknowledged” intelligence program such as the TSP, at least when the existence of such information has not already been publicly disclosed; (3) the NSA properly invoked the Glomar doctrine in response to plaintiffs’ request for information pursuant to FOIA Exemption 3; (4) the government’s affidavits sufficiently allege the necessity of a Glomar response in this case, making it unnecessary for us to review or to require the District Court to review ex parte and in camera any classified affidavits that the NSA might proffer in support of its Glomar response; and (5) we find no evidence in the record that the NSA invoked Glomar for the purpose of concealing activities that violate the Constitution or are otherwise illegal. We agree with counsel for all parties that we need not reach the legality of the underlying TSP because that question is outside of the scope of this FOIA action.

    Now, to be fair, the 2nd Circuit decision in Wilner was not issued until December of 2009, likely after Carney’s initial opinion; however, the Glomar doctrine and response have been around since the mid 1970s, and is well known and very established in FOIA circles. In fact, other Circuits had upheld its validity prior to the 2nd in Wilner.

    So, in a nutshell, there was an established path of FOIA response and exception for this situation; the Obama/Holder DOJ simply decided lying was easier.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Certainly, the Obama/Holder DOJ was aware of the Glomar Exception.

      Raising the question of WHY the O/H DOJ was convinced that the far easier “effort” of lying would “work”?

      Were they merely, good-naturedly, testing the “limits” or are they assured, when push comes to shove, so far as the law (and those who practice and decide the law) “goes”, that there will be, and are, no meaningful limits?

      (All is now quiet on the co-equal branch front, in the stiffening breeze, two branches do not even sway or wiggle around, and, as the perfect storm swiftly approaches, both remain appallingly still … making hardly a sound.

      What will the world hear, when the overgrown bush (for it is decidedly not a noble, stately tree with its roots growing on the moral mountain-top) hits the ground?)

      DW

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That assumes the DoJ still cares to know and follow the law; it seems possible there are quite a few holdovers who still think they can create their own reality, at least after they get caught doing something suspicious in the real one.

    • liberaldem says:

      I worked with FOIA during my career in the federal bureaucracy. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the FBI’s abysmal handling of countless FOIA requests has led to mucho litigation, and FOIA caselaw.

      In government seminars on FOIA law, it was quite common to cover cases in which the FBI routinely submitted boilerplate affidavits, etc., and couldn’t be bothered to actually read request letters, search or otherwise competently process those requests.

  7. Mauimom says:

    What’s sad is how few judges like Carney there are on the bench.

    Truly terrifying. Who will protect us?

    • NMvoiceofreason says:

      No one. The courts have no troops, no JSOC.

      All we have left is their clear, unambiguous moral authority.

      From a court, which when lied to BY POLICY, does nothing. No sanctions, whatsoever.

      Not likely to be protecting your rights or anyone elses anytime soon.

  8. thatvisionthing says:

    I’ve posted here before about Jesse Trentadue and his longstanding FOIA court battles trying to get information released about the Oklahoma City bombing. In August 1995 Jesse’s brother Kenney was apparently mistaken by the FBI for John Doe No. 2 when he was picked up for a parole violation at the Mexican border coming into San Diego, and he was transferred to an Oklahoma federal prison, where he “suicided” a few days later. See James Ridgeway’s article in Mother Jones In Search of John Doe No. 2: The Story the Feds Never Told You About the Oklahoma City Bombing for example.

    Jesse was just interviewed again on Antiwar Radio April 21 about a FOIA case of his that will be heard May 11. He’s trying to get videotapes. He earlier had won release of 26 videotapes but somehow the cameras all quit when the Ryder truck went by. I posted a longer excerpt from the interview here, but here’s a shorter quote:

    JESSE TRENTADUE: But, anyway, they didn’t produce those tapes. And so– and their excuse to the judge was, “We looked real hard, your honor, but we just can’t find those tapes.” And the government takes the position, especially the FBI, that when anyone makes a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents or records or materials that are embarrassing or harmful to the government, that all the FBI has to do is look for those records or documents or materials; it does not have to find and produce them. That’s an incredible position to take, that all the law requires is that you look. And you go wink and nod, “We can’t find anything.” And that’s what this hearing is about on the 11th is whether or not they have to do more than that, whether or not they have to go back and actually do a manual search and turn those tapes over.

    As part of his court filing (PDF), Jesse is including a sworn affidavit (PDF) by an ex-FBI agent outlining how the FBI handled information they did not want to see brought up in court:

    Oklahoma City Bombing Videotapes Subject of Federal Court Hearing in Salt Lake City May 11

    The FBI also kept “zero files,” which were reports containing information that the FBI would not generally want disclosed to the defense and which were kept separate from a specific case file. These files were kept internally within the Bureau and typically were not turned over to the prosecution or the defense. Files would be assigned numbers bases on the type of offense or investigation involved, for example, a bank robbery would be assigned a particular number. A letter A after that number would mean highest importance. A zero after that number would mean that the report should go into the “zero” file.

    I started reading Jesse’s court filing and it has detailed information about FBI filing and evidence procedures — how to keep information out of public searches and legal disclosures. Totally wish the lawyers and analysts and excavators here would read them, I’m sure it would mean more to you all than me. IANAL. But THIS I get:

    The American public has a right to know what happened in Oklahoma City on the morning of April 19, 1995 and, more importantly, why? Yet, it is obvious that for some reason FBI Defendants do not want the truth about the Oklahoma City bombing made public. Perhaps the reason is as simple as: the Federal Government’s prior knowledge of that planned attack and failure to prevent it, or that there were others involved whom the Federal government chose not to expose and/or prosecute. But whatever the reason, that is precisely why the FOIA became law: to protect the right of American citizens to know their own history and, more importantly, their government. And that is why the Court should reject the FBI Defendants’ claim that their only obligation is to search their computerized records for this evidence knowing that it is not there and once that search they knew would fail has been concluded, they need do no more.

    — Jesse Trentadue, Memorandum in Support of Rule 56(f) Motion for Continuance Pending Discovery

  9. rugger9 says:

    Truly a sad state of affairs, and the consequence of the GOP packing the justice system (DOJ and courts) with ideologues and true believers. To them, “justice” is the GOP world order based on the love of money. The Constitution is toilet paper to them if it says they cannot do something.

    Unfortunately, “justice” systems like that, even the long lived ones, don’t end well.

  10. lsls says:

    The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control.

    JFK, 1961

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Worked out well for him, didn’t it. His general approach to governing seems to have pissed off a lot of crazies: American mining companies in Indonesia, the mob, his own military (Maxwell Taylor especially); and guys who liked to wear bedsheets south of the Mason-Dixon line. Obama’s studiously careful approach to not pissing off anyone with power – only his base – seems to be one lesson learned from that experience, and not a good one.

  11. tambershall says:

    yes the judicial branch is dirty. nice little rebuke but no consequence for those that thwart justice and truth. oh well, just another day in america.
    yes the executive branch is dirty. oh well, just another day in america.
    yes so is the legislative branch. oh well, just another day in america.
    and yes the FBI and the CIA, and most of these a type of agencies are dirty. oh well, just another day in america.
    heck, so are many of the govt. agencies. EPA, FDA, etc …
    all have corporate pawns in key positions. or ideologues.
    EPA? total joke. they’re on par with the MMS (or whatever they’re called these days). a little coke party. a few orgies there. it’s bloody Caligula.
    and who’s in the EPA? ah yes, our fellow americans. poisoning america while they take their cut on the side.
    FDA? revolving door with bigPharma? no. never. I’m shocked I tell you. the FDA is more concerned with the wishes of their future employers, ie. bigPharma, than safeguarding americans. thank you fellow americans for selling us out.
    thankfully neither agency is responsible for anything important. so I can see why the Rs want to gut them.
    BTW, the FDA has been very naughty. they literally work for bigPharma. research their track record. they don’t even hide it anymore.
    the EPA? do NOT under any circumstances look into this. because you will never ever look at water the same way again. rocket fuel? are you FIng kidding me? only the imbeciles and gullible focus on that. because focusing on the things that do a little harm vs those that do tremendous harm, is what the gullible do. rocket fuel? as far as I’m concerned if that was it, I would be a very happy person.
    hormones and other waste in drinking water? no, never. I’m shocked I tell you. and we all “know” hormones have absolutely NO effect on humans. none.
    and we all “know” that heavy metals have absolutely NO effect on humans. there is no such thing as heavy-metal poisoning. and heavy metal poisoning has absolutely NO effect on the nervous system. we all “know” that.
    I could go on, but what’s the point.

  12. Cynthia Kouril says:

    Wow, I remember the Meese memo, which was pretty controversial around the water coolers (we din’t actually have water coolers, but hung out around a little mini dormitry fridge on the corridor) at the US Attorney’s Office.

    I had been a FOIL (NYS version of FOIA) officer in my first job and got asked a lot of questions about the relevant case law, b/c lots of people had ethical issues with the Meese position.

    How the world has chenged since then.

    Anyway, the judge is right, the Meese memo allowed you conceal the existance of the record from your opponent, not from the court. And any decent lawyer can find a way to camoflage an in camera filing so as not to spill the beans.

    • spanishinquisition says:

      Before too long Bush’s extreme right wing policies will be called “left of the left” by Obama.

  13. Bobster33 says:

    I hoped the judge would just issue a contempt citation and throw the government’s lawyers in jail until the requests were complied with.

  14. matthewj says:

    I think we need a constitutional amendment making lying about state matters by the government or any of its agents a top tier crime with punishment including lifetime banishment from public service in addition to any strictly punitive measures. How in the world can we ever hope to have a just society if we can’t expect the most basic level of truth and honesty from the government?

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    His relationship with the FBI deteriorated shortly afterwards and, after threatening to go public, Monteilh says he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000. In December 2007, Monteilh was arrested on a grand-theft charge and went to jail for 16 months.

    I’m sure that was not an extended double cross, aren’t I?

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When faced with an possibly violent ex-con in a small space – a car – who proposes committing a remarkably violent act, it seems reasonable to appear to agree with him, calm and control the conversation sufficiently so that you can get out. A little reflection about what to do and what it would mean, and these two guys reported the incident to authorities.

    That sounds like a very responsible action, indeed, a textbook example of civilian crisis management: control the situation, extricate yourself safely, consider and report the facts to authorities.

    The exception to that seems to be the possible fallout for the FBI.

  17. marcusreno says:

    The major problem I have with this post is that you state Obama’s lawyers advocated lying to judges. No advocating, they flat assed did it. I’m sorry, but I think that the attorneys who did this and those lawyers who counseled this approach need to be disbarred and put in prison. The first rule of a litigator is that the truth (as he understands it) is stated to a judge-no half truths; quarter truths or any other garbage. If you cannot speak the truth, then keep your mouth shut. Once you lie, you are a criminal and there is no other way to express it.