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Ed Driscoll

It Was 40 Years Ago This Week

May 15th, 2013 - 8:20 am

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“The burglary occurred in 1972, the climax came in 1974, but 40 years ago this week — May 17, 1973 — the Senate Watergate hearings began exploring the nature of Richard Nixon’s administration,” George Will writes in the Washington Post, appropriately enough:

Now the nature of Barack Obama’s administration is being clarified as revelations about IRS targeting of conservative groups merge with myriad Benghazi mendacities.

This administration aggressively hawked the fiction that the Benghazi attack was just an excessively boisterous movie review. Now we are told that a few wayward souls in Cincinnati, with nary a trace of political purpose, targeted for harassment political groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their titles. The Post has reported that the IRS also targeted groups that “criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution .” Credit the IRS operatives with understanding who and what threatens the current regime. The Post also reports that harassing inquiries have come from other IRS offices, including Washington.

Jay Carney, whose unenviable job is not to explain but to explain away what his employers say, calls the IRS’s behavior “inappropriate.” No, using the salad fork for the entree is inappropriate. Using the Internal Revenue Service for political purposes is a criminal offense.

At his Campaign Spot this week, Jim Geraghty writes, “The Mask Is Ripped Off of ‘Hope and Change,’” an open letter to the MSM:

SCANDAL ONE: Dear Media: Obama’s Indignant Benghazi Response Revealed a Lot Yesterday!

Dear friends in the media.

Come on.

I mean, come on.

You and I know what’s going with the Benghazi thing. Let me share something that I first put into play during the “was Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account hacked” debate, but that comes from watching the Lewinsky scandal, the where-did –Mark-Sanford-go scandal, the why-is-David-Wu-dressed-in-a-tiger-suit scandal, and a wide variety of wrongdoing committed by politicians:

When there is evidence of scandalous or bizarre behavior on the part of a political figure, and no reasonable explanation is revealed within 24 to 48 hours, then the truth is probably as bad as everyone suspects.

Nobody withholds exculpatory information. Nobody who’s been accused of something wrong waits for “just the right moment” to unveil information that proves the charge baseless. Political figures never choose to deliberately let themselves twist in the wind. It’s not the instinctive psychological reaction to being falsely accused, it’s not what any public communications professional would recommend, and to use one of our president’s favorite justifications, it’s just common sense.

So…

You and I both know, in our guts, and based upon everything we’ve seen in Washington since we started our careers, that there’s no innocent explanation for the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the Benghazi attacks.

That’s just one of three scandals Jim breaks down in his post.

Regarding another, the Obama Administration tapping the AP’s phone records, Ace of Spades’ co-blogger Drew M writes that it’s the least of the Jokers in the ever-growing Obama scandal deck (to mix playing card references)…

Keep in mind, it doesn’t appear that the AP is the subject of the investigation. What the DoJ knows is someone leaked information to the AP. The number of people who had access to that information may be relatively large but it’s not infinite. By taking the AP’s phone records and matching them to the list of people who called them with the list of people who had access to the information, you can develop a universe of potential suspects.

The AP says it’s a “roadmap” to their reporting operations. I’m more worried about people who leak a “road map” to intelligence operations.

Politically this could be a loser. People tend to not like the press and they do like catching terrorists. When people find out this is about getting to the bottom of who leaked damaging national security information to the press, I think most people we say, “go get the bastards”.

One caveat…we know this administration is power hungry and doesn’t recognize any legal or traditional limits on its powers. Might they have abused the information they gathered? Obviously. So this could turn out to be a bigger deal. But based on what we know now, it’s only a big deal because the press loves to protect themselves and their assumed privileges more than anything. Even more than they love Obama.

….But if it’s the one that p.o.’s the MSM the most, to the point where the scales fall from their eyes — even temporarily — so be it:

One of the more tense and interesting exchanges during Tuesday’s White House briefing occurred when NBC’s Chuck Todd exposed White House spokesman Jay Carney as not exactly being honest regarding a talking point involving a piece of legislation that might have protected the Associated Press from the Department of Justice seizing the phone records of 20 reporters.

Throughout the briefing, Carney kept reminding reporters that, as a United State senator, President Obama had been in favor of this “press protection” legislation, but Republicans had killed it.

Todd, who had obviously done his homework, then dropped a nuke on Carney by revealing that, in 2009 as president, Obama changed his mind and “killed” the legislation, even though at the time it likely would have easily passed through both chambers of Congress, which were then controlled by Democrats.

The video at the link is pretty astonishing to watch, as Todd, smelling blood in the water, continually lays into Carney, considering that Todd worked for the 1992 presidential bid of fellow Democrat Tom Harkin (he of the phony Vietnam combat record), and works for DNC house organs NBC and MSNBC.

But then, Carney’s been having quite a rough patch all around:

Carney insisted, was his claim that there were anti-video demonstrations outside the Benghazi compound on September 11 last year. Besides, he continued, Republicans are wrong to accuse the White House of “playing down an act of terror and an attack on the embassy,” because “the president himself” took to the Rose Garden on September 12 and told the country that the attack was an “act of terror.”

This was quite an astonishing thing for Carney to repeat, not just because the CBS transcript is available to anyone who cares to look it up but also because Carney himself claimed on September 14 that the attack “was a response to a YouTube video.” Worse, five days after that, he told the press:

Our belief based on the information we have is it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped — that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other factors were involved is a matter of investigation.

This line was repeated at least once by Hillary Clinton, many times by Susan Rice, and, on September 26, by President Obama in his speech to the United Nations. We are thus supposed to believe that the government was so concerned about “the integrity of the investigation,” to use Carney’s peculiar words, that it removed all the suspects from public discussion while simultaneously blaming the attack on a video.

Among their many claimed sins, Republicans also drew Carney’s ire for “leaking” information “for political reasons.” “That’s their prerogative,” he sniffed. But this disgust at leaks struck a false note, given that the White House had held a secret meeting just a few minutes earlier in which it passed — “for political reasons”? — unattributable information to reporters. Just a few minutes before Carney’s on-air press conference, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported:

The White House held a “deep background” briefing with reporters on Friday afternoon to discuss recent revelations about the Benghazi investigation, sources familiar with the meeting tell POLITICO. . . . I asked [White House spokesman] Earnest to explain the meaning of “deep background,” as defined by the White House, for my readers. He emails: “Deep background means that the info presented by the briefers can be used in reporting but the briefers can’t be quoted.”

And we all know there are serious consequences when this White House is angered:

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