Law & the Courts

The Shameless Obama Administration

(Photo Illustration: NRO)
The State Department lies, covers up the lie, and admits it, but no one loses his job.

The State Department lied to the American public to sell the Iran deal. The State Department acknowledged this lie, in public, during a press conference. The State Department destroyed video evidence of its having done this, and then admitting doing so.

None of this is in dispute.

Nobody is getting fired.

Jen Psaki, the witless Pippi Longstocking of the American diplomatic project, admitted under questioning from James Rosen of Fox News that the State Department had lied — flat-out — about the fact that secret talks had been under way between the United States and Iran over the Islamic terror state’s nuclear-weapons program. Psaki attempted to justify this lie, insisting that “diplomacy needs privacy,” which is true enough. But this wasn’t private, or a question of discretion: The facts were out there, and the State Department lied about them.

Is it any wonder that Mrs. Clinton, to whom deception is an instinct, felt so at ease in the State Department that she went to extraordinary, illegal lengths to conceal her communication as secretary of state from the public and from ordinary oversight?

This being an official State Department press conference, Rosen’s question and Psaki’s attempts at justifying her department’s dishonesty were caught on video. Eight minutes of that video has been destroyed, including the relevant parts.

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But, oh, hear the lament of John Kirby, State Department spokesman. This sort of thing is unacceptable, he says, “not in keeping” with the State Department’s “commitment to transparency.” That same State Department had been, five minutes before his confession, suggesting that a technological “glitch” had destroyed the video.

The State Department has no commitment to transparency. It has a commitment to deceit, a deep and vigorous one. And, as is usual, these things go all the way to the top. If the secretary of state — who already was in all but the most formal sense a presidential candidate — could, in direct violation of federal law, conspire to keep her communication insulated from ordinary oversight, and if her office could basically tell Congress and investigators to buzz off when they demanded access to that communication, then why can’t some peon edit a video?

The State Department has no commitment to transparency. It has a commitment to deceit, a deep and vigorous one.

Which peon, though? Psaki says she has no knowledge of the episode, and Kirby says that, despite the vast intelligence operation at the disposal of the State Department, he doesn’t know who the naughty party is. Funny how the best and brightest and most highly informed people on Earth (so they tell us, endlessly) can’t find their asses with both hands when they’re afraid that somebody might lose his job. If we believe Barack Obama — and I do not — he has learned about practically every controversial event in his own presidency from television news shows, as though he were a spectator in his own administration.

We found Osama bin Laden, but we can’t find a vandal in the State Department?

Eighteen minutes of deleted audio got Richard Nixon impeached. Eight minutes of missing video? Well, diplomacy and all that.

#share#From Lois Lerner’s weaponizing the IRS on behalf of Democrats before the 2012 elections to Mrs. Clinton’s toilet-server shenanigans to gross abuses of prosecutorial power among Democratic state attorneys general, the lesson of the Obama years is clear: If you are close enough to power, you can do anything, and there is never a price to pay.

If you are close enough to power, you can do anything, and there is never a price to pay.

That video is our property, and the event it documents is of some concern to us as a people, inasmuch as some of us (not many, but some) retain sufficient self-respect and resent being lied to, with malice aforethought, by our own employees, and might be inclined to make a public issue about it in this election year. But of course that gets harder to do when the evidence is destroyed, which is why somebody in the Obama administration — and it would not be too hard to find out who — destroyed that video.

Get six months behind in your child-support payments, and you’ll go to jail. Lie about conducting secret negotiations with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism as it goes about working to acquire nuclear capabilities, and then destroy the evidence of your lie, and what happens? We won’t even bother to make public who the guilty party is.

Yes, of course they know.

Lois Lerner, the IRS inquisitor who targeted the president’s political opponents for official harassment, is currently enjoying a fat federal pension and got some nice bonuses before she went on her way. Whoever destroyed the video will probably get the same thing.

Every now and then, a politician will start a sentence by saying, “The American people will not put up with . . . ” whatever it is that the politician wants to abominate. But the fact is, the American people keep proving over and over that they will put up with anything.

— Kevin D. Williamson is the roving correspondent at National Review.

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