The Campaign Spot

All of Obama’s Scandals Are Ultimately About Information Control

There’s really no reason for the press to suggest that the recent slew of scandals involving the Obama administration — Benghazi, the AP phone-record seizure, the snooping in James Rosen’s e-mail, the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and so on — are a confusing jumble. There is a very clear thread running through all of the administration’s actions:

* The U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya, Gregory Hicks, says that he was told not to speak to a member of Congress about Benghazi without a State Department lawyer present, that he received a phone call from Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff disapproving of his discussion with Representative Jason Chaffetz, and that he was “effectively demoted” afterwards.

* The controversy over the editing of the “talking points” revolves around the steady deletion of factual information from the explanation to the American people, leading to the emphasis of a protest that the U.S. personnel on the ground did not report.

* In an effort to ferret out leaks, the Department of Justice secretly reviewed the phone records of at least 20 phone lines of Associated Press reporters — their work, home, and cell-phone lines. The move is unprecedented and has journalists up in arms because it means that a journalist can no longer guarantee the confidentiality of any phone conversation with a source that wishes to not be publicly identified.

* The Department of Justice went before a judge and alleged that Fox News reporter James Rosen was a criminal “co-conspirator” in leaking classified information, in order to access his personal e-mail accounts. No reporter has ever been prosecuted as a co-conspirator under the Espionage Act; in all previous cases, it has been used to prosecute the leaker of classified information, not the recipient. The classified information in question was an analyst’s assessment that North Korea would respond to new U.N. sanctions with another nuclear test.

* In another bit of punishment for whistleblowers, the Department of Justice Inspector General determined that former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke leaked a document smearing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Dodson, an Operation Fast and Furious whistle-blower. The IG concluded that “his explanations for why he did not believe his actions were improper were not credible.”

* Despite all these ruthless efforts to stop leaks elsewhere in government, the Cincinnati office of the IRS leaked unapproved applications for nine conservative groups to the media web site ProPublica. The IRS separately released confidential information about the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS asserted, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded, the releases were “inadvertent.” The problem with the “inadvertent” explanation is that the Human Rights Campaign said they were sent the private IRS filing from NOM via a “whistleblower.”

* The Environmental Protection Agency waived their fees for Freedom of Information Act requests from “green” or environmental groups while keeping them in place for conservative groups.

All of these actions involve an effort to control information.

Some parts of this administration focus on preventing information that is contrary to the administration’s agenda from getting out, or hindering its distribution, and making sure that the only information that goes out supports the perspective of the administration. Other parts leak confidential information designed to attack the reputations of those holding perspectives the administration opposes (NOM, the nine conservative groups) or other whistleblowers (ATF agent Dodson).

This administration prefers to keep the inconvenient parts of the story obscured in darkness.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More
PC Culture

Changing Reality with Words

The reinvention of vocabulary can often be more effective than any social protest movement. Malarial swamps can become healthy “wetlands.” Fetid “dumps” are often rebranded as green “landfills.” Global warming was once a worry about too much heat. It implied that man-made carbon emissions had so ... Read More