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President Obama in 2007: Bush Tends to 'Hide Behind Executive Privilege


"I think the American people deserve to know what was going on," Obama added.

President Obama's decision to assert executive privilege regarding Fast and Furious documents is seemingly at odds with his previous stance on the Bush administration's use of the power.

Obama went on Larry King's show in CNN in 2007 and accused the Bush administration of "hiding behind executive privilege" after King asked him for his opinion on its utilization.

"I think we will determine over the next several weeks how this administration (President Bush) responds to the very appropriate call by Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to have these individuals come in and testify, Obama said in 2007. "There's been a tendency on the part of this administration to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taken place. I think the administration would be best served by coming clean on this. There doesn't seem to be any national security issues involved with the U.S. Attorney... There doesn't same to be any justification for not offering up some clear, plausible rationale for why these U.S. Attorneys were targeted when by all assessments they were doing an outstanding job."

"I think the American people deserve to know what was going on," Obama added.

Further Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Wednesday pointed out that the president has claimed multiple times to be an advocate of transparency and against invoking executive privilege without a good reason.

During a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, Chaffetz quoted a number or previous quotes from President Obama on transparency:

2008: "Let me say as simply as I can, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency. I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness...But the mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should always use it."

From a 2009 memo: "The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure. because errors or failures might be revealed or because of speculative or abstract fears."

2011: "There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made and if that's the case we will find out and hold someone accountable," Obama said about Fast and Furious.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday President Obama had not addressed his decision to assert executive privilege to Holder in Fast and Furious case.

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