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MY VIEW: Dennis Ross: Remove Eric Holder from office
The Department of Justice has forced journalists to hand over its records and has allowed broad seizure of phone records of all Verizon customers. And we’re now reading reports of the Department of Justice allowing the National Security Agency to broadly collect records of Internet history.
These reports are frightening. We are a government of the people and by the people. Why is the Department of Justice allowing at least 121 million Americans — which is also one-third of the population — to be subjected to this overreach? Common decency says this shouldn’t happen.
I agree America needs to be safe, but this is too far. Is the Department of Justice suggesting it suspects every Verizon customer of terrorist activities?
Some will argue that President George W. Bush and the Patriot Act started this. The Patriot Act requires the records be relevant to the investigation. Conducting surveillance on all records from every Verizon subscriber goes far beyond the scope of the Patriot Act.
Congress has the responsibility and authority of oversight of the federal agencies. As a member of Congress, I take my job seriously. The president should, as well.
The president appointed Eric Holder as attorney general, and the president can remove him. My colleagues and I have asked for his resignation several times and have even voted to hold him in contempt, all of which he has ignored. We are now asking Obama to remove Eric Holder from his position as attorney general.
As the chief law-enforcement officer of the U.S. federal government, the attorney general is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of all federal laws. The attorney general is also responsible for representing the United States in legal matters and generally provides advice and opinions to the president and to the heads of the executive departments.
Unfortunately, however, Holder has failed to uphold his important duties to the American public on numerous occasions.
Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice’s seizure of phone records of reporters within The Associated Press and Fox News, and the most recent report of the FBI’s intrusion into Americans’ phone records, are just a few examples of the disturbing actions taken by the Department of Justice while under Holder’s direction.
The attorney general has either overseen a rogue agency, one he cannot control, or directly played a role in allowing these unacceptable actions to take place.
In any case, under Holder’s leadership, the American public has lost confidence in the attorney general’s ability to fulfill the responsibilities of his office.
Now is the time to remove the country’s chief law-enforcement officer to restore the much-needed trust of the American public. A government created by the will of the governed should not govern by fear and intimidation. It is contrary to our founding principles.
America must be a country of opportunity, not fear. To move forward and feel safe once again, it’s time Obama removes Holder as attorney general.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, represents District 15.