Crazy Pete Hoekstra Remembers the Separation of Powers

Omigod did Crazy Pete just accuse DOJ officials of lying?!?!?!?!?! But I thought only Nancy Pelosi did that!!!

Actually, he’s absolutely right on this count. (h/t scribe) If DOJ officials refuse to testify under oath that the Bush Administration has already lied to Congress about, then I’d say their testimony should not be considered valid.

A House intelligence committee meeting was abruptly terminated when Justice Department officials refused to be sworn in before briefing the lawmakers.


Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Justice employees "have previously briefed committee staff on this matter and were prepared to provide a similar informal briefing to committee members."


Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the committee, questioned Wednesday why the Justice officials refused to be sworn in. "Why is Attorney General Eric Holder afraid of having Justice Department employees be required to tell the truth?" Hoekstra said.

Obviously, Crazy Pete is a raging hypocrite on this score, having not been bothered in the least by Bush officials’ lies before Congress, to say nothing of their complete unwillingness to testify. 

But it is a fair point.

10 replies
  1. LabDancer says:

    This may not be a worthy hill to take on.

    What are take from this bit in the report from AP reporter Hess?

    “the meeting was billed as an informal briefing”

    When Congress was closing in on AG Algae, Leahy & Conyers & Whitehouse & Schumer & Nadler et al would pop up on msnbc & cnn beforehand & advertise their commitment to force his briefings to be under oath, then we’d watch each ensuing session open routinely with a skirmish, albeit more perfunctory over time, on that very subject.
    In contrast, this stinks of procedural ambush.

    Not that the spidey senses are up by virtue of this involving Crazy Pete or anything.

      • LabDancer says:

        So given the context, you don’t actually mean to invoke ‘formality’ in any literal sense, but as a euphemism [it’s certainly not a synonym] for something that’s different; I gather something in the nature of ‘accountability’. My bad; I guess I’ll have to start appending lists of terms with links which definitions are being referenced from which sources.

        And I suppose I should have hedged on the possibility Congressman Hoekstra may have undergone some mysterious transformation completely coincidental to his impending run to be elected the next governor of Michigan as well. Again my bad; clearly, I’ve so neglected my germanic languages syntactical conditioning muscle it’s melted into a flabby parody of it’s former splendor.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As EW points out, the extreme Hoekstra is a burnt kettle calling the Obama pot black.

    That said, swearing in ought not to have been a credible surprise to executive agency representatives testifying on the Hill. They know that they could be sworn any time they do that.

    Briefing Congress may often seem like a laughing matter – either because of Congress’ behavior or the briefers’ – but it’s a crime to lie to Congress, separate and apart from whether one lies under oath. Which means that anyone an agency sends up to the Hill has been fully briefed and prepared or has been given a poison chalice from which they are expected to drink.

    Given enough weasel words, an agency representative can avoid making any declarative statement of opinion or fact: “To the best of my knowledge, Senator….I have no recollection of that, Senator….Do you mean shall or will….” David Addington and Karl Rove made careers out of such gambits, parsing questions to within an inch of the clock so as to avoid answering them or to avoid follow-up questions.

    If this is gamesmanship on Congress’ part, it’s gamesmanship on the administration’s part, too. It has more to hide, given that its dedication to hiding Bush’s wrongs exceeds its desire to hide its own, wrongs that are fast becoming two sides of the same coin.

  3. prostratedragon says:

    OT note from deepest epuland threads ago:

    Here’s a nice coincidence: An NPR story about health care research in which the exhuastive collection of data on medical treatment in Vermont, over a long period of years, has been used to extract information about trends in medical decisionmaking and their possible causes.

    Thus whichever of the two big domestic policy stories is dancing in your head these days, you can find grist for further thought.

  4. Mary says:

    You know, I’m with Hoekstra on the point, if not the rhetoric, on this one.

    His rhetoric is particulary funny, though, in that the incident they were being briefed on was the CIA’s participation in the Latin American shoot down of a plane carrying a US missionary, his wife, infant child, toddler and the non-US pilot. The result of the CIA *confirming the kill* for the plane was the death of wife and infant and the almost miraculous survival of the husband and toddler, without which we might never have known about the program of CIA targeting planes carrying civilians in non-battle zones for being destroyed in flight. The missionary is a constituent of Hoekstra.

    So it was an incident that occured on Bush’s watch. It was followed by the CIA GC providing what has been elsewhere speculated to be inaccurate or incomplete information to Congress about the CIA’s conduct and operations. This also took place on Bush’s watch. This was then followed by the DOJ refusing to prosecute anyone in the infanticide. This was also on Bush’s watch.

    And now that Bush is gone, Hoekstra is trying to pretend that the problem on this is that Obama is not willing to share information.

    If you didn’t have a dead woman and child and a man and his other child (and the pilot) who went through a horrifying experience, there might be some humor in there somewhere. As it is, notsomuch.

  5. Mary says:

    PS – here’s a link to a NYT story last fall…..038;emc=th

    This is when Helgerson released a report, still classified in parts, that basically said that from 2001 to 2005, while the WH, DOJ and Congress were investigating and while DOJ decided on non-prosecution, the CIA was actively misleading all involved.

    So the upshot was supposed to be that “Obama’s DOJ” would take another look, with the Helgerson report in hand. That should have been in large part what the “informal” briefing was about. With the CIA targeting the plane of a US family for destruction and the deaths of members of that family – someone should damn well expect to be put under oath when they testify. And that’s not to get into how many other innocent people may have died, even possibly other Americans who simply had no survivors to walk away – just bodies and a downed plane in a dense jungle with no rescue efforts.

    Anyway – the NYT article tries to make it sound like from 1995 to 2001, no one in the WH (a lot of the program happened under Clinton) had any clue what was going on bc the CIA was operating “outside” the “boundaries” set by the WH.

    According to Mr. Helgerson’s report, C.I.A. officials “within hours” of the downing explained the accident as a one-time mistake in an otherwise sound counternarcotics program.

    “In fact, this was not the case,” the report said. It said that the C.I.A. repeatedly misled the White House and Congress between 1995 and 2001 about the Peru operation.

    Mr. Hoekstra said Thursday that the inspector general’s investigation specifically named C.I.A. officials responsible for the alleged cover-up, but he declined to name those officers. The Justice Department and the C.I.A. inspector general had been investigating the roles played in the incident by the agency’s field officers in Latin America as well as senior officials at the agency’s headquarters in Virginia.

    The report by Mr. Helgerson says that C.I.A. lawyers from the office of the general counsel “advised agency managers to avoid written products lest they be subject to legal scrutiny” in connection with the downing of the plane

    • LabDancer says:

      Nifty move on the looming OT there, ms fearless [typed with an entirely unintended degree of sycophancy]. Given all his experience & the surge of interest in exploding shoes & detonating shampoo during this millennium, surely Luis must be heading up a ker-plank tank somewhere; kinda surprising FauxNoose hasn’t grabbed him for expert commentary.

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