Cabinet & Agencies

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  • Fox News strains to revive its phony New Black Panthers scandal

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Fox News is attempting to breathe new life into the phony New Black Panthers scandal it mercilessly and intensely hyped throughout the summer. National correspondent Catherine Herridge reported today on what she herself called "a routine meeting" at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where "what we anticipated is a status report on their investigation" and "a draft report of somewhere between 25 and 30 pages, with the final report" expected "several months down the road." Given the fact that the Republican vice chairwoman of the commission has said the investigation is nothing more than an effort by conservatives on the commission to "topple" the Obama administration, Fox News' continued coverage should be seen as nothing more than its political activism masquerading as journalism.

    Herridge reported live outside the Civil Rights Commission and said the commissioners "opened the meeting with a brief update," and then "began to discuss a letter that was sent by the Justice Department on August 11 to the commission, about whether the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is even handed in its application of the law, in this particular area. And then, the meeting quickly began to spiral out of control." Herridge explained:

    Well, there are a number of frustrations. Members of the panel want to speak to personnel within the Justice Department about the investigation, and the handling under Eric Holder, the Attorney General, of the particular case in Philadelphia in November of 2008. They would like to talk to members, what they have told each other at the meeting, also in a number of written communications, is that they are not getting good cooperation and they have issued subpoenas but those subpoenas have not been enforced to date.

    Of course, members of the commission have spoken to personnel within the Justice Department about the "handling under Eric Holder" of the New Black Panther Party case.

  • Megyn Kelly sure loves "allegations" against the DOJ

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    On her Fox News show this afternoon, Megyn Kelly continued her innuendo campaign against the Obama Justice Department, promoting a discredited 11-day-old "accusation" by Republican activists that the DOJ isn't enforcing a law on military voting. Kelly introduced the topic by saying, "Well, two former DOJ attorneys now alleging that the Department of Justice is not enforcing the law that protects the voting rights of military men and women serving overseas. The DOJ denies that accusation, but Senator John Cornyn of Texas is demanding answers and is set to meet with officials from the Department of Justice about the matter this week."

    This is totally in character for Kelly. She was the No. 1 promoter of the phony "scandal" created by J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney who left the DOJ to press his ridiculous allegation that race motivated the Obama administration to take it easy on New Black Panther Party members accused of intimidating white voters.

    The accusation about military voting is being made by Adams and Eric Eversole, former DOJ attorney and adviser to the McCain campaign. They claim that the Justice Department is encouraging states to ask for a waiver of a rule that requires states to ship ballots to troops overseas at least 45 days before an election.

    And that's it. That's the entirety of the evidence. Two GOP activists say that that's what the Justice Department is doing, so that's what Megyn Kelly says. (In fact, the Department of Defense must also approve waivers for delays in ballot delivery, not just the DOJ.)

  • Drudge again launches bizarre (and false) attack on Napolitano over body scans

    Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    A headline posted on Drudge yesterday and today claims that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "admits storing naked body scans":

    Drudge headline

    But the article Drudge links to doesn't say that Napolitano or the Department of Homeland Security is "storing naked body scans." It says:

    For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they're viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded."

    Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.

    So it's the U.S. Marshals Service that allegedly stored images from a courthouse checkpoint, not DHS or its TSA, which is using these scanners in airports. The Marshals Service isn't part of the Department of Homeland Security, nor is it under the direction of Napolitano. So she "admitted" to no such thing. In fact, the same article notes:

    TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told CNET on Wednesday that the agency's scanners are delivered to airports with the image recording functions turned off. "We're not recording them," she said. "I'm reiterating that to the public. We are not ever activating those capabilities at the airport."

    If Drudge's beef is with the Marshals Service, why is he targeting Napolitano? Given that Drudge used this same image in January, with the headline, "Big sis wants to see under your clothes," it seems reasonable to ask, what exactly is Drudge trying to say about Napolitano? And why?

  • Spakovsky hopes hearsay and conjecture will breathe new life into completely discredited DOJ smear job

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    In an effort to salvage the discredited allegations of racism in the Justice Department, Hans Von Spakovsky now claims that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigation is "no longer primarily about" the phony New Black Panther Party scandal. Instead, he claims, it's about "sworn testimony" that DOJ official Julie Fernandes "instructed Voting Section lawyers that no cases would be brought against any black or other minority defendants no matter how egregious their violations of the law."

    Von Spakovsky did not say what "sworn testimony" established this, but in his testimony, DOJ activist and so-called "whistleblower" J. Christian Adams testified that he "was told by Voting Section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants for the benefit of white victims." Adams' accusation, however, is based entirely on conjecture and hearsay:

    DAVID BLACKWOOD (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights general counsel): That is extremely important -- these instructions. Were you there when they were given?

    ADAMS: I was -- I was present at one instance when the statement was made, and Mr. Coates gave me a recollection of a second time that instructions were given in a management situation.

    BLACKWOOD: Okay. The first time, when you were present, who made the statement?

    ADAMS: Okay. Two things. The statement was that we were in the business of doing traditional civil rights work, and, of course, everybody knows what that means, and helping minorities -- helping -- litigating on their behalf.

    That statement was made by Julie Fernandes, who is the DAAG.

    This is nowhere near establishing that Fernandes ever said that "cases are not going to be brought against black defendants for the benefit of white victims." And in fact, the Obama Justice Department has twice pursued injunctions against black defendants for voting law violations.

  • Breitbart flounders as his Sherrod story collapses

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    As his story about former Obama administration official Shirley Sherrod has disintegrated, Andrew Breitbart has desperately tried to maintain his credibility. Media Matters chronicles Breitbart's shifting stories, lies, and attempts to spin the story and pass the blame to others.

  • UPDATED: Manufactured scandal: Right wing's phony allegations against the Justice Department

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    J. Christian Adams' accusations that President Obama's Justice Department engaged in racially charged "corruption" in the New Black Panther Party case do not stand up to the evidence. Adams is a right-wing activist tied to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department who has admitted he lacks first-hand knowledge of the events he is discussing, and his claims fall apart given the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one defendant, while the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations in 2006.

  • J. Christian Adams' intellectually dishonest thought exercise

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Earlier today, J. Christian Adams called on readers to "ponder" how the Justice Department's handling of voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party could "restrain future enforcement activity against intimidation." Imagine, Adams asks, if the allegations involved white men harassing minority voters:

    Think about this -- even taking the facts in the most favorable light for the defenders of the dismissal, ponder how it restrains future enforcement activity against intimidation. There may come a day when two skinheads are in front of a poll, say, in suburban Atlanta. The precinct is 90 percent white, but about 10 percent African-American. One has a baseball bat, but the other does not. They are dressed identically in skinhead uniforms with swastika insignia. They work together and shout racial slurs we all know and hate. Worse, the week before, the national skinhead party had announced a nationwide deployment of skinheads, and these clowns show up on cue. NAACP poll monitors there to aid voters see voters turn away upon seeing the skinheads. The skinheads try to block the NAACP staff from entering the polls, and brandish the bat. The NAACP staff swear this all happened under oath. Then days later the national skinhead leader admits they were indeed deployed as part of the party activities and the use of the weapon was an "emergency response."

    Worse, after claiming to banish these two skinheads, video emerges with the national leader standing on stage with the two at a rally, praising them and welcoming them back into the skinhead nation.

    Every American knows what should happen on these facts. Sadly, these facts are precisely identical to what happened in Philadelphia, except the races are reversed.

    Someone with some intellectual honesty please explain to all of us something. In the future, how can the DOJ stop the behavior I described above? The dismissal of the case against the New Black Panthers harms future efforts to stop voter intimidation, especially on any fact pattern less egregious than what happened in Philadelphia.

    The only thing devoid of intellectual honesty here is Adams' argument. Adams joined the Bush-era Justice Department voting section in 2005. According to Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, the Justice Department in 2006 declined to bring charges against members of the Minutemen, one of whom reportedly carried a gun while they allegedly attempted to intimidate Hispanic voters outside a polling station in Arizona. By contrast, the Justice Department under the Obama administration successfully obtained default judgment against Samir Shabazz, the member of the New Black Panther Party who carried a weapon outside a polling station on Election Day 2008. The Obama DOJ has also requested additional judgment against black leaders in Mississippi who were found to have discriminated against white voters.

    Of course, in 2006 Fox News never told the media to cover the alleged voter intimidation.

  • Media reported New Black Panthers "controversy," not conservative's statement that it's a right-wing effort to "topple" administration

    ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    After reporting on the right-wing accusation that racial bias motivated the Justice Department to drop charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, major print outlets have not reported that the Republican vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has stated that conservatives on the panel are using the issue to try to "topple the [Obama] administration."