Our law-instructor president just doesn’t seem to be good at law at all (or perhaps he just doesn’t care):
Speaking at a White House press conference about government surveillance, terrorism, and other topics, the president was asked about his past statements that the people who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year would be brought to justice.
“We have informed, I think, the public that there’s a sealed indictment. It’s sealed for a reason. But we are intent on capturing those who carried out this attack, and we’re going to stay on it until we get them,’’ Mr. Obama said.
While the president of the United States can declassify top secret intelligence information on his own say-so, disclosing secret grand jury material is a different matter. Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure clearly states: “… no person may disclose the indictment’s existence except as necessary to issue or execute a warrant or summons.’’
Naturally, the White House tried to cover for him, explaining:
A White House official said the president “was simply referencing widely reported information and was not asked about, nor did he comment on any specific indictment.’’
But this explanation doesn’t jibe with Obama’s actual statement: “We have informed . . . the public that there’s a sealed indictment.” According to his own words, he, or his administration, disclosed the indictment.
POSTSCRIPT: Our law-professor president being bad at law has become a persistent pattern. For example, he recently blundered in such a way as to severely impede the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in the military.