Obama AG Nom Eric Holder Approves of Bookstore and Library Searches… Where’s Outrage?
By: Warner Todd Huston
Last Thursday, Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder, admitted during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that he supported renewing the part of the Patriot Act that allows for the FBI to seek records from businesses, libraries and bookstores as the policing agency investigates suspects in this country. For years we’ve seen news agencies and opinionists rail against the expanded power of the FBI to search such records. But, now with Obama’s AG announcing in his confirmation hearing that he agrees that the FBI should have this power, all anti-Bush administration voices are silent on the matter that had them so exercised for 6 years.
Since 2002 the debate has raged about the efficacy and Constitutionality of the Patriot Act with the power of the FBI to search bookstore and library records coming in for special condemnation. Even as the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the law, right to privacy groups, the media and anti-Bushies have pointed to this particular policy and cried Orwell or worse.
USA Today talked about the situation in 2002. Not unexpectedly, the American Library Association has been worriedly writing of this business for years. Some librarians have even forced the FBI to jump through hoops to seize computers during investigations. And, of course, the ACLU has fought the provisions, too.
Over the years many challenges to the library and bookstore search power have been made and thus far the law has withstood the onslaught. As a result, the Bush administration has been accused of indulging any manner of imperialist, unconstitutional, Orwellian motives.
Holder publicly announces his support for the hated library search provision yet we are met with silence from the very people that made Bush out to be the most evil man in history for his support of the same power. This is the sort of news that would have made its way around the Internet at least 10 times by now if it were a Bush administration official saying so. Yes, now we get silence.
Where is the condemnation of Eric Holder on this issue? Where is the ACLU to demand Obama ditch Holder? Where are the many Huffington Posters and DailyKossacks railing against this junior Orwell, Holder?
The newspapers are strangely silent, though I did see this reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. Olbermann and Matthews, still nursing their tingles, seem to have turned away from this story. Maddow and the DailyKos seem to have lost their voices over it.
It makes one wonder if their conviction is informed by courage and principle or convenience? Are they only to rail against an FBI that intrudes into bookstore and library records when it is Bushâ€™s FBI? Are they suddenly not so worried about their claims of invasion of privacy and unconstitutionality when they feel the FBI is about to become their FBI?
And where are the multi part stories from the Old Media? Where are the stern voices and grave concerns of The New York Times or the L.A. Times that Eric Holder and Barack Obama are about to continue the Bush outrages against the average Americanâ€™s privacy?
It is, of course, highly doubtful that such stories will materialize. After all, the Old Media are fully prepared to give Barack Obama a pass on the same sorts of things that they claimed made Bush into Bushhitler and Vice President Cheney into the Dark Prince, Darth Cheney.
In the real world is it spelled H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y. In the Democratic Party we call it business as usual.