The freedom of the press is a right essential to the persistence of American democracy. Our Founders enshrined the press' autonomy in the First Amendment, but today Eric Holder has seen fit to violate that amendment and threaten the underpinnings of our democratic system. Glenn Greenwald's recent column in The Guardian is a particularly good summary of the AP scandal. In short, the AP in 2012 revealed the the CIA had thwarted a terrorist plot against the United States. This article contained leaked information, and the CIA, intent on locating the source of the leak, secretly seized the phone records of AP journalists. Whether the DOJ had a subpoena remains unclear. I'll let Greenwald explain the significance of the incident:
What makes the DOJ's actions so stunning here is its breadth. It's the opposite of a narrowly tailored and limited scope. It's a massive, sweeping, boundless invasion which enables the US government to learn the identity of every person whom multiple AP journalists and editors have called for a two-month period.The DOJ took possession, it seems, obtained the phone records - not just the office lines, but also home and cell phones - of AP journalists for a two-month span, possibly without any sort of judicial authorization. This sort of action evokes memories of Bush's wiretapping policy, universally maligned by liberals. The DOJ's actions are essentially no different, and they may actually be worse, since the press is among the entities most vital to the preservation of democracy, and ought to be provided with additional safeguards against violations such as this one.
Eric Holder presides over the Department of Justice. He is entrusted with the fair and just application of the law. And he has massively failed in his duties in this regard. The White House claims that it had nothing to do with the seizure and was unaware that it even happened. If this is true, then Holder must take full responsibility for the violation of civil liberties, and ought to resign, or else be justly impeached by the House and convincted by the Senate. Holder claims that he had little involvement with the seizure, since he recused himself from the investigation in the early stages. Even if this is true, he ought to resign or be impeached. He claims that it was a matter of national security, but this point bears little weight. Regardless of the gravity of the situation - and it is clear that the AP report was not horribly important, and would not have dramatically hurt the state's ability to keep secrets - the liberties of the press must be protected. And if it was indeed a matter of national security, then why was the Department of Justice the furthest extent of the matter - in short, why was the President not involved? After all, it is in him that we place our trust to protect the security and safety of our country.
Impeach Eric Holder. He and his department conducted a massive breach of democratic rights He violated the First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom of the press and infringed upon the civil liberties of private citizens. He should resign from his post, and if he does not do so, then the House should take it upon itself to impeach him, and the Senate should follow through with a conviction.