A Freedom of Information Act request from watchdog group Judicial Watch has pried a few more documents from the clutches of the Most Transparent Administration In History, and confirmed something long suspected: the Obama Administration directly instructed law enforcement to go easy on Occupy Wall Street.
In its salad days, the Occupy movement was embraced by Barack Obama and the Democrat Party, hailed as the Left???s answer to the Tea Party ??? despite Occupy being, in essence, the violence-prone rabble that Democrats always falsely caricature the Tea Party as. It???s as if the whole party lost its mind and embraced its darkest fantasies, because it thought Occupy would be far more influential and long-lived than it turned out to be, and class-war Democrats loved the idea of having some shock troops in the streets.
But that was all a thousand broken windows, assaults, rapes, ???black bloc??? actions, bombing attempts, and police car defecations ago. The Tea Party, a legitimate grassroots movement of serious citizens, quietly went back to working at their day jobs and getting candidates elected. Occupy Wall Street ended up becoming the villains in the new Batman movie.
Judicial Watch gained access to emails from the Obama Administration explicitly instructing law enforcement to ???stand down??? and not arrest Occupy protestors. As an added bonus, this little scandal involves everyone???s favorite black-comedy example of government agencies run amok, the General Services Administration.
Robert Peck, who was later fired just as full details of the GSA???s amazing million-dollar taxpayer-funded bacchanalia in Las Vegas were revealed, got an email from National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich, of the Department of Homeland Security, on November 6, 2011. Durkovich apologized for bugging Peck on a Sunday night, but she wanted him to know about eleven Occupy protestors who had chained themselves to a drum full of concrete at the Terry Strunk Plaza in Portland, Oregon. The GSA controlled permits related to the plaza, which had an explicit curfew against overnight protests.
Reporters were asking if the Occupy crew would be arrested for violating the curfew, but as Durkovich related, ???Our FPS Commander in Portland says they are standing down and following GSA???s request to only intervene if there is a threat to public safety.???
Peck confirmed that this was indeed the official GSA position. ???It???s been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH, which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issue,??? he explained. He was actually somewhat miffed about an earlier group of 25 Occupy protesters getting arrested the previous week, after defying lawful orders from the police to disperse, and forcing a tense standoff.
???WH??? stands for ???White House,??? in case that wasn???t obvious.
Judicial Watch offers a little more background on Peck, ???who has donated thousands of dollars to Democrat candidates, including Barack Obama, was previously implicated in an unrelated GSA scandal for reportedly brokering a controversial lease deal for a Democratic donor and friend of former Vice President Al Gore.??? The scandal in question involved extraordinarily high rent extracted from the Federal Communications Commission for office space in a building owned by a Democrat Party donor. Peck was instrumental in working out this arrangement, and has also found himself on the business end of a Judicial Watch lawsuit for allegedly retaliating against a GSA whistleblower.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton declared, ???We now have a new GSA scandal ??? one that involves the Obama White House. These documents clearly show that federal agencies colluded with the Obama White House to allow the Occupy Wall Street protestors to violate the law with impunity. These documents tell us that the GSA and DHS can???t be relied upon to protect federal workers or property.???
When the Washington Examiner followed up on this story, they were told Peck had mis-represented both the GSA and White House positions in his email exchange with Durkovich, and it was claimed that all of the decisions regarding the Occupy Portland protests were made by local law enforcement personnel. How curious that National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich, who works for a Department expressly created to coordinate national security at all levels, seemed to think Peck and his agency were calling the shots, and Peck seemed think the White House had something to say about it.
Judicial Watch???s Fitton isn???t buying the spin: ???The documents speak for themselves and detail, in black and white, high level communications within the Obama administration. If there are additional documents that show these Obama administration documents are false, they should be produced. Throwing Peck under the bus won’t fix it.”
From its very inception, the Occupy Wall Street movement was premised on violating the law. They didn???t just hold some rallies and marches. They illegally commandeered public spaces, and ignored lawful orders from the police to cease their ???occupation.??? This was the basic operating theory of the movement. They weren???t entering the arena of ideas for a round of fair intellectual combat. They were seeking to compel attention to their complaints, through the theft of public property. Indulging them resulted in numerous threats to public health and safety, including the health of the Occupiers. Laws are meant to be enforced impartially, not suspended by politicians to coddle groups they find temporarily useful.