President Obama has ordered that if the official tasked with investigating corruption in the Department of Justice wants access to sensitive files, he’ll have to get permission from — the Department of Justice.
That directive was part of a 58-page ruling delivered by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and it makes it very hard for the inspector general to get access to wiretaps, grand jury, and credit information necessary to expose fraud and other misdeeds perpetrated by the Justice Department.
“Without such access, our office’s ability to conduct its work will be significantly impaired, and it will be more difficult for us to detect and deter waste, fraud, and abuse, and to protect taxpayer dollars,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement published by the Washington Post.
“Congress meant what it said when it authorized Inspectors General to independently access ‘all’ documents necessary to conduct effective oversight,” he added.
In a statement published on his website on July 23, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined three of his colleagues in condemning the Obama administration’s attempt to block the inspector general investigation: