Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

Will Someone Please Leak This?

Pretty please?

Remember the Barret Report? Its a heavily censored report detailing abuse of the IRS for political purposes by the Clinton administration. Six months ago, Robert Novak noted:
According to people with access to Barrett's draft, it goes into intense detail about this obstruction and on the unprecedented seizure of the Cisneros tax case by the IRS in Washington. That much in the 400-page report has survived the three senior federal appellate judges with supervising authority over the independent counsel.

Nevertheless, the question remains what three judges -- David Sentelle (D.C.), Thomas Reavley (Texas) and Peter Fay (Florida) -- blacked out in 120 pages worth of redactions. Even after the report is released, Barrett and his lawyers would face judicial sanctions if they disclosed anything that was redacted.

The three judges have lawyer-like arguments in favor of suppressing so much material. For example, they claim the Barrett report on Cisneros should not contain evidence that was collected after the plea bargain with Cisneros.

However, the judges have established an exception, or rather 535 exceptions, to the rule that nobody can see what has been redacted. Any member of Congress can read it merely by asking. Any such lawmaker, who believes American taxpayers should see the product of $23 million in expenditures, presumably could then publish the material without fear of legal sanction.

But will any senator or House member do it? Nobody is interested in further prosecution of Henry Cisneros, an exceptional public figure who might well have become the first Hispanic-American governor of Texas and perhaps even president of the United States. Rather, an unredacted Barrett report is an opportunity to observe how the Internal Revenue Service decides when to prosecute, a place where Congress until now has feared to venture.
Rather than being redacted, the those passages should have been classified. That way the information they contain would be guranteed to become public knowledge.

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