The PJ Tatler

Timely Questions for Tonight's Debate

I was asked in advance by a program host to provide a question for tonight relevant to my new book’s revelations. Here is what I provided:

Mr. President:

The administration is defending its shifting story on Benghazi as the product of developments in available intelligence. This is most applicable with its defense of the protracted assertions of something that no intelligence supported — that the attack was a spontaneous result of a YouTube video clip.

This changing story given to the public appears to be more an effort to mold the public’s views — particularly as regards the administration’s performance — as opposed to inform them (to be a thermostat, not a thermometer, to tweak one saying).

This is at odds with your campaign’s emphasis in 2008 on being “the most transparent administration, ever” — something no one made you emphasize, but you most certainly did. As is so much else, for example, the refusals to turn over enormous volumes of documents relating to legitimate scandals (Solyndra, Fast and Furious) to Congress, the politicization of FOIA and even basic failure to comply with requests to produce public records as is legally required, as some in the media (Bloomberg) have now discovered. In fact, several left-wing groups have called your administration the “worst” when it comes to transparency, “ever”.

Meanwhile, your administration stands credibly accused of leaking classified or sensitive information for political purposes, while conducting the most aggressive campaign against whistleblowers in our history. Yet your campaign has also emphasized demands to know about private individuals who support speech it does not like, or the candidate it opposes.

Why is the record so starkly different than the rhetoric? Is it because the promise of transparency was something that polled well? Is transparency in government really a good thing, as liberals insisted for decades, or a threat? Does it depend on the possible use of the information, or whether the information is helpful to you?