Putting a Holder on bad news

I have to say, I was surprised to find Fox News regular Jim Geraghty writing in the Guardian. In fact, "surprised" doesn't really cover it. Not only is he writing critically of the Obama administration, he's slamming the first African-American Attorney-General of the USA, Eric Holder:

The initial headlines shouted that the IG report had exonerated Holder. That's one interpretation. But the portrait the report paints of Holder's management is deeply disturbing. Time and again, information and warnings about the operation's enormous risks flow from Arizona to Washington ... and suddenly, mysteriously, stop just short of Holder.
It certainly seems odd that Holder didn't know about an operation of this magnitude and risk. Either his underlings decided not to tell him, in which case he wasn't managing them effectively, or he made it clear to them that they were not to report bad news, in which case he was near-criminally irresponsible and should at the very least be fired.

Geraghty lets the official report tell most of the story:

[Holder] was not told in December 2010 about the connection between the firearms found at the scene of the shooting and Operation Fast and Furious. Both Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler and Counsel to the Attorney General and Deputy Chief of Staff Wilkinson were aware of this significant and troubling information by December 17, 2010, but did not believe the information was sufficiently important to alert the Attorney General about it or to make any further inquiry regarding this development."
There's a general principle among honest people that a boss is responsible for activities that go on during his watch, even if he didn't know that they were happening. Bob Diamond of Barclays found it necessary to resign after the LIBOR rate rigging was uncovered, even though there was no suggestion he knew it was happening. People cheered his departure - why aren't the same people demanding that Eric Holder follow this example? Surely there can't be one standard for private citizens and a much looser one for public officials?

An equally troubling part of the Fast and Furious story is the use of executive privilege by the Obama administration to prevent the release of documents relating to Fast and Furious:

The presidential communications privilege applies to communications involving the president or his staff that immediately pertain to the president's decision-making process. [...] Deliberative process involves a broader scope of executive branch activity: discussions involving White House staff or within other agencies on legal or policy decisions that don't necessarily involve the president or his immediate advisers.
Holder asked Obama to invoke executive privilege over documents having to do with "the Department's deliberative process concerning how to respond to congressional and related media inquiries into that operation."
This seems to be clearly a deliberative process invocation, since the President was not involved in these discussions.

Obama is, as President, entitled to invoke executive privilege where he likes (and he has done so very rarely). However, like any other executive, he can expect the public to wonder what he and his officials are trying to hide when he does so. What exactly were the DoJ officials debating when the lid blew off Fast and Furious and people started demanding answers to why a US border guard had been shot dead by guns given away by the DoJ?

Award for top comment on this story goes to CitizenCarrier referring to treefrog123's snipe:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jim-geraghty Fox news contributor. Righty-ho then.
Ah! The ad hominem fallacy masquerading as a refutation! How refreshingly quaint and unexpected.

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