Did Kagan cover up leak that endangered Forest Service personnel?

posted at 9:34 am on May 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If the Obama administration expected Elena Kagan to slip quietly into her seat on the Supreme Court thanks to a cipher of a track record, at least one issue has managed to get through decryption.  While serving in the Clinton administration, Kagan either refused or neglected to track down a leak that endangered enforcement personnel from the Forest Service during a standoff with a radical environmental group in Oregon in 1996.  Byron York has the details:

In 1995 and 1996, future Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was involved in a bizarre controversy in which the Clinton White House was accused of siding with an eco-terrorist group locked in a standoff with federal agents deep in the woods of Oregon.  The incident led to an investigation by House Republicans, who concluded that a staffer on the White House Council on Environmental Quality tipped off the environmental radicals to impending action by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agents — a leak that Forest Service officials believed endangered the lives of their agents on the ground.

Kagan, at the time an associate White House counsel, had no role in leaking the feds’ plans to the radicals, but House Committee on Natural Resources investigators concluded she shirked her responsibility by not searching for the source of the leak or pushing for punishment of the leaker.

“Nothing was ever done by Elena Kagan to learn the details about the leaks, or to identify the leaker and ensure that proper punishment occurred,” the committee’s 1999 report concluded. In fact, investigators found evidence suggesting that Kagan, in internal White House discussions, defended the alleged leaker.

First, the use of the term “eco-terrorist” is probably too strong.  While the group commandeered a road and refused to move for months, no violence ever actually took place.  The Forest Service believed at least one of the activists were armed, but in the end they cleared the road and the protest came to a quiet end.  Furthermore, after Ruby Ridge and Waco, the Clinton administration had good reason to be reluctant to engage in a high-profile attack on political protesters.

That does not excuse the Clinton administration from pursuing the leaker, nor give a reason to ignore the law.  Had the activist group been armed, the leaks would have put law-enforcement personnel at greater risk.  The blockade of the forest road was illegal, and the executive branch exists to enforce the law.  Whoever leaked to the activists not only put the lives of officers at risk, he or she also undermined the entire reason for having an executive branch.

This goes to competence and honesty.  If Kagan failed to pursue the leaker out of incompetence, that’s bad enough.  If she actively refused to enforce the law, that’s worse — especially for a Supreme Court nominee.


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Isn’t that a crime? Tipping off the subject of a police action?

Jaynie59 on May 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM

I’m sure there’s more to come.

Cybergeezer on May 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM

“They were just trying to help the trees!!!”

Akzed on May 13, 2010 at 9:40 AM

The implications of her lack of judgment concerning Harvard Law School plagarism are much worse than this, I think.

chaswv on May 13, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Time to peruse Kagan’s judicial record for applicable decisions related to this sort of issue.

Bishop on May 13, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Imagine if a Bush or Palin staffer leaked info to right wing militia or helped violent Minutemen on the border.

IlikedAUH2O on May 13, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Clinton was more concerned with other leaks in 1995.

Jocundus on May 13, 2010 at 9:42 AM

I’m sure there’s more to come.

Cybergeezer on May 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM

indeed….she could end up being dear leader’s ‘harriet myers’

cmsinaz on May 13, 2010 at 9:43 AM

chaswv on May 13, 2010 at 9:41 AM

There is more decadence, vice and general dishonesty in Cambridge Massachusetts than in Las Vegas Nevada.

IlikedAUH2O on May 13, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Was Kagan in this group somewhere, perhaps the woman wearing the slouch hat? You decide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFUDEmMjC-c

Bishop on May 13, 2010 at 9:46 AM

So the very bare minimum we know of her is that she kept out military recruiters against existing law, turned a blind eye to plagarism and now this.

Too bad she still won’t be opposed by the Republicans.

DrAllecon on May 13, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Clinton only concerned himself with leaks, that can be plugged with a cigar.

anikol on May 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Joe Wilson anyone. Scooter Kagan?

Mr. Joe on May 13, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Given that virtually all ecoterrorists like to talk tough, but generally only engage in vandalism and arson (not to make light of that but they tend to burn buildings without people in them too)–I would not equate them with other terrorist groups. They are criminals but not murderers.

Still, Kagan should be called on leaking the same as the Bush Administration was. But hey, she has no “R” after her name. So she will not.

Mr. Joe on May 13, 2010 at 9:57 AM

If Kagan failed to pursue the leaker out of incompetence, that’s bad enough. If she actively refused to enforce the law, that’s worse — especially for a Supreme Court nominee.

this is pretty concerning if it is true. If it seems that Ms. Kagan would not enforce laws when she had a responsibility to do it, then it should be made known. Jack Cashill has a stunning revelation at the american thinker.

Since it is now known that Harvard professors have plagiarized, copycatted, and pretty certainly have had stuff ghostwritten for them, the bona fides and reputations of nearly everyone at Harvard is called into question, especially people in the law school.

ted c on May 13, 2010 at 9:57 AM

The progressive movement has been entrenched at Harvard for decades. Their dedication to transforming our system to the type of government that history has repeatedly proven is not compatible with individual freedoms and moral values is proceeding at a rapid rate. Kagan is obviouly not competent enough or has clearly the background to serve on the Supreme Court. She will be a rubber stamp for the progressive movement that she has been a tool for the majority of her life. Nothing more, nothing less. She is no more qualified to be a Supreme Court justice than Obuma is to be president.

volsense on May 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Tax cheats, plagarists, terrorists, assorted lawbreakers.

MackDaddy’s world.

When will people say, “Enough”?

davidk on May 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Since it was (heart) Bill Clinton (heart) who did this despicable deed, I will give him a pass.

/AnninCA

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM

This woman is a terrible pick for SCOTUS. She obviously is incompetent in her current job but it is not an appointment for life.
This is analogous to having obama as POTUS for life.
Although on the flip side, she prevents a more competent liberal which could be a good thing.

ORconservative on May 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Bishop on May 13, 2010 at 9:46 AM

These people would have been stoned, not in the smokey way, in the Old Testament…and rightfully so.

Inanemergencydial on May 13, 2010 at 10:14 AM

I heard that Sarah Palin said last night ” don’t go to the middle, let the middle come to you”.. The GOP just have to stand firm and explain to the American people, they will come to them.

I also heard Kagan might have an issue with gun rights…. of course..

shar61 on May 13, 2010 at 10:21 AM

The Forest Service believed at least one of the activists were armed, but in the end they cleared the road and the protest came to a quiet end.

What the heck is the point of saying this, Ed, when you follow it up in the next paragraph with,

“That does not excuse the Clinton administration from pursuing the leaker. Had the activist group been armed,the leaks would have put law-enforcement personnel at greater risk.”

Isn’t that the whole point of why she’s considered to have really screwed up? The fact that the situation didn’t turn out as serious as it could have is COMPLETELY irrelevant and only serves to confuse and demogague the issue.

I hate this kind of apologetic RINO-babble squishy-ness. Man up dude. Kagan’s dereliction of duty put law enforcement in a potentially dangerous situation. That’s the offense and that’s it!

beselfish on May 13, 2010 at 10:22 AM

We don’t need a SCOTUS justice who is selective about which laws should be followed. Geez.

hillbillyjim on May 13, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Competency & honesty? From this administration?

The only thing to save us from their dishonesty is their incompetence.

rbj on May 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM

My guess is….since this was never pursued by Kagan, the leaker was of a higher level. The last thing they wanted was a senior admin, or the Presidents name coming out, that they were the leaker.

If it was just some aid, or member of the staff, or whatever, they could easily sell them out, to make the presidency look competent. I’d bet dollars to donuts it was a high level official who leaked the info.

capejasmine on May 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

If the President and Speaker of the House can call me a Nazi, terrorist and one who engages in perverted homosexual acts because I went to a rally to listen to someone talk about the role of the Constitution,

Then these guys were Eco-terrorists.

barnone on May 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

If the President and Speaker of the House can call me a Nazi, terrorist and one who engages in perverted homosexual acts because I went to a rally to listen to someone talk about the role of the Constitution,

Then these guys were Eco-terrorists.

barnone on May 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

It is all projection. At the root of sco-terrorism and eco-naziism is the desire to drastically reduce the human population on the planet. The ones that will be spared have their minds right.

Make no mistake.

Inanemergencydial on May 13, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Why we need to see those Clinton documents…From the article(My bolding)

At the same time, around July 1996, Kagan and other administration officials learned of the leaks to the protesters and of suspicions that Dinah Bear was the leaker. But nothing happened. “None of these officials did anything with this information,” the report says. “None contacted law enforcement officials running the operation, or the Forest Service to inform them about the leaks, or to ensure the matter was investigated.”

Kagan, the report says, went even further. Investigators found an email from Bear to another official of the CEQ in which Bear wrote, “Elena went out of her way to go to bat for yours truly, which was quite decent of her.” When House investigators asked the White House for Kagan’s notes of her discussions with Dinah Bear, the White House refused to provide them.

Deanna on May 13, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Great piece on ObaMao’s hypocritical (and meaningless) rhetoric:http://spectator.org/archives/2010/05/13/obamas-hackneyed-hypocrisy

onlineanalyst on May 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM

A group of activists took over the road leading into the forest and blocked it with large rocks and chunks of concrete. They dug trenches, some six feet deep, to prevent trucks from passing, and in one trench they embedded a car in concrete. They built a fortress and settled in for a showdown. More ominously, Forest Service officials believed at least one of the protesters was armed.

To coin a favorite phrase of Joe Biden’s: This is a Big Effing Deal. And Kagan should not be confirmed.

This should not be downplayed by pooh poohing the idea that they were “eco-terrorists”. Note that the non-terrorist terrorists got what they wanted: The logging (which was to clear up a previous arson fire!) never did proceed.

What happened here is an absolute disgrace (I think it’s fair to label the leak a “conspiracy”), and using fear of what had happened at Ruby Ridge and WACO is no excuse. But Ed is right to say that by allowing leaks to happen the Clinton White House, with Kagan’s help, made it more likely that it would end in a standoff, not less.

ted c on May 13, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Thanks for that link. I have long held a theory that Obama not only had Bill Ayers write his books, but also had people go to class for him and write his papers. No one remembers him being at Columbia. His speeches are filled with borrowed or plagiarized phrases. Even the disgusting poem “Pop” which was published by Occidental college was probably not written by him (Frank Marshall Davis is theorized to have been the author) and I can believe it. If Obama did write Pop, then he’s one freaking weirdo.

Buy Danish on May 13, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Thinking that the 1st and 2nd amendments go too far is more troubling. The R’s better decide to filibuster at least to get more of her past in the spotlight.

Kissmygrits on May 13, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Anti-1st Ammendment, Anti-2nd Ammendment and sympathetic to ecoterrorists…what a wooonderful “main street” pick by our President…

EasyEight on May 13, 2010 at 11:25 AM

So what’s the point? She refused to take a leak?

Daggett on May 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Like Scalia says, a Living Constitution judge is a happy judge, because they’re never forced to act in ways that go against their personal views. Magically, the law and constitution always agree with them. They’re very “lucky” that way.

RBMN on May 13, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Funny how Kagan was just sailing along under the radar while the Republicans were worried about her potential activisim, but all of a sudden when some lefties start worrying she might not be the wrecking-ball they want, all this stuff starts popping up.

Sure helps to have the media in your pocket, don’t it? Of course, Obama thinks he has it in his pocket, but if anyone could lure it away, it would be other lefties that think he’s going soft on them.

drunyan8315 on May 13, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Clinton and his pal Kagan smoked cigars and chased chicks together. Move along.

seven on May 13, 2010 at 12:15 PM

The Forest Service believed at least one of the activists were armed, but in the end they cleared the road and the protest came to a quiet end.

What the heck is the point of saying this, Ed, when you follow it up in the next paragraph with,

“That does not excuse the Clinton administration from pursuing the leaker. Had the activist group been armed,the leaks would have put law-enforcement personnel at greater risk.”

Isn’t that the whole point of why she’s considered to have really screwed up? The fact that the situation didn’t turn out as serious as it could have is COMPLETELY irrelevant and only serves to confuse and demogague the issue.

I hate this kind of apologetic RINO-babble squishy-ness. Man up dude. Kagan’s dereliction of duty put law enforcement in a potentially dangerous situation. That’s the offense and that’s it!

beselfish on May 13, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Ed’s too nice sometimes, but I’m with him on this one. The first paragraph quoted references an actual fact rather than an unsubstantiated talking point from the left, so I think it adds to the story.

tom on May 13, 2010 at 3:04 PM

In case people haven’t figured this out, BO is following a GWB strategy of putting out a throwaway judge to draw fire. We can’t sustain a two SCOTUS battle back to back.

This took me about 20 seconds to figure out.

elfman on May 13, 2010 at 5:52 PM

“Furthermore, after Ruby Ridge and Waco, the Clinton administration had good no reason to be reluctant to engage in a high-profile attack on political leftist protesters.”

FIFY!

TugboatPhil on May 13, 2010 at 8:18 PM