Obama, Russia, the Election, and a Visitor From Mars
So, as chance would have it we are currently hosting a newly arrived visitor from Mars, who has been avidly following the headlines. Having studied our world for some time, he is intrigued by the news, as reported first by the Washington Post on Friday: "Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House."
This is the story in which U.S. "officials" told the Post it is "now 'quite clear' that electing Trump was Russia's goal." Earlier in the week, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz, President Obama "instructed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of the pattern of malicious cyber activity related to our presidential election cycle." Obama wants this report completed and submitted to him before the end of his term, Jan. 20 -- now less than six weeks ahead.
Since this story broke, we have been trying to field questions from our inquisitive Man from Mars, who seems oddly disinclined to take things at face value. (We think our visitor is a he, so I'll proceed on that assumption, though we have not inquired about gender identification).
I'm sharing below some excerpts from our chat. For convenience, I've abbreviated "Man from Mars" as MFM. Our replies, I am attributing simply to "Us."
MFM: This is shocking news about Russia, but surely meddling in America's elections is not new. What were the findings of the deep-dive report produced at speed by the Obama administration, its concerns leaked in advance to the press, over the effects, starting early in his first term, of the IRS targeting conservative groups?
Us: There was no such report. There were congressional hearings in which a prominent witness from the IRS took the Fifth. There were tussles over destroyed hard drives, emails not turned over, or some turned over long after the deadlines, and this year brought news that the targeting may still be going on -- see Kim Strassel's May 19 column in the Wall Street Journal on the "The IRS's Ugly Business as Usual."
MFM: But wasn't Obama deeply worried that this targeting might silence a lot of conservatives, skew public debate and warp America's political process?
Us: Nah. In 2014, Obama in a TV interview dismissed it all as nothing worse than "bone-headed decisions," saying there was "not even a smidgen of corruption." So much for that.
MFM: OK. But what about the deep-dive report Obama demanded, urgently, prior to the 2012 presidential election, to shed light on his own administration's lies about the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. You remember, all that "messaging" about an ad hoc mob, and blaming the "video." That sure looked like Obama was trying to mislead the American public in order to bolster his campaign line that "the tide of war is receding," plus his administration's claims that leading-from-behind in Libya was a success. I mean, there were four Americans murdered, including -- as I discern from your Earth records -- the first American ambassador killed on the job in 33 years. Obama, who had the authority to send help directly to Benghazi, never did. What does Obama's urgently ordered, in-depth and surely impartial report tell you about what Obama himself was doing that night?
Us: Get real. Obama was hardly likely to order an all-out urgent investigation of himself and his team, especially during the final weeks of his reelection campaign. He was already booked to go to Vegas, he needed his sleep. Anyway, by the morning after the Benghazi attack, the damage was already done. So -- as somebody-or-other told Congress -- "What difference, at this point, does it make?"