According to the GOP, the Obama Administration directly or indirectly edited selective facts about the Benghazi attack in order to avoid having them appear as "Red Meat" or talking points for the Republicans. Their claim is that by eliminating the language identifying the terrorists and their reasons behind the attack, the Democrats attempted to "soften" it so Republicans could not use it as a sign that terrorism has not been curtailed as Obama had boasted on the campaign trail. You might recall the effort by Mitt Romney to paint Obama into a corner on Benghazi in the last Presidential debate before the Election. By selectively editing the memos/emails, did the folks in the State Department know the culprits behind the Benghazi tragedy would not be immediately disclosed and Obama could effectively diffuse the GOP attacks against his re-election bid? If so, then on a political level, Obama scored huge points by deferring the Benghazi discussion until after his re-election. Do Republicans actually think Obama had our consulate attacked in Benghazi? Certainly not. Do they really want to get into why the security was cut at the consulate when security budgets were slashed in the GOP-led House? Certainly not. But they sure are irate with the notion that Obama got away from dealing with Benghazi and was able to get re-elected so easily as a result. So naturally, they want to use it anyway they can against Obama. Why else are they making such a big deal about it?
Yes, I understand the Obama Administration lied to us about who and why they attacked our consulate in Libya. Did they ignore the attack completely? Did they try to hide the tragedy from us? Did it make any difference in the murder of four Americans? The GOP notion that the Administration rejected the consulate's request for immediate military assistance has been labeled "ludicrous" by the Pentagon considering we had no military assets geographically nearby. Regardless of GOP claims the military "rejected Benghazi calls for help", the terrorists were confronted by the CIA, who were called upon to immediately respond from their secret operations center nearby. At least the location was secret until it was revealed by GOP Representative Jason Chaffetz (Utah). So much for keeping classified information classified.
My point is that I agree with Carl Bernstein. Benghazi was a tragedy described to the American public in a way to avoid having it used as a weapon by Obama's political opponents. The Republicans are only really mad not because of any coverup, but because Obama was able to get away with the "messaged" talking points until only recently, long after his re-election. As far as a coverup? The very emails being used by Darrell Issa (R-CA) to prove language in the communiques were "edited" have come from where? The Obama Administration! So how can one accuse someone of covering up something after they get their information from the person they claim is wrongfully keeping it from them? Only a gullible public would believe such a claim. In fact, the Obama Administration turned over all documents to Congress as early as March, but only now the GOP is using them to further their political "spin." All such efforts are keenly designed to de-legitimize Obama and use it against Hillary Clinton should she run for the presidency in 2016. Like Bernstein, I see plenty of political spin on both sides of the aisle here, but no criminality.
The I.R.S. matter is something all together different. The Internal Revenue Service is required to operate solely in a non-partisan manner. Yet, history has shown that I.R.S. Commissioners, appointed by presidents have been used in an abusive effort to investigate and/or punish political opponents. FDR did it, so did Richard Nixon. But did Obama? The commissioner involved while the I.R.S. targeted Conservative groups' applications for 501(C)(4) non-profit status was appointed by President George W. Bush, not Obama. Back in 2010, the I.R.S. received thousands of applications claiming to be non-profit groups dedicated solely to working on "social welfare" issues. Instead, many were immediately used as fronts for political action committees, or PACs. Isn't it the job of the I.R.S. to ensure applicants meet the tax code requirements before they are certified as "exempt" from taxation? But I have to admit, if the I.R.S. and their extremely harsh investigation capabilities are used to harass and intimidate legitimate groups because an Administration opposes their existence, then criminal activity has been undertaken. But where was the outrage in 2004 when the I.R.S. investigated the NAACP? Where were members of the GOP demanding an explanation from the Bush Administration? Seriously, I am NOT attempting to use some form of "moral equivalence" in this matter. I am simply pointing out that when it comes to political outrage, it is certainly tainted by a heavy dose of "Selective Perception." I personally believe the I.R.S. is a royal pain in the butt and should always consider the rights of citizens first and the government second. But just as I write this, someone will send me a nasty comment that all I am doing is covering for Obama. I am not. It's just that simple. But hypocrisy is heightened by our now famous "Hyper-Partisanship." Does anyone really expect it to get any better with all the bickering go on now over these matters? Despite the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a criminal investigation into the I.R.S. matter, Conservatives will claim he will "cover up" the entire affair and again attempt to paint him as criminally incompetent, worthy of impeachment. After they failed to run him out of office after Operation Fast and Furious, you can bet they will be beating the impeachment drums long and hard on this matter. Ever wonder why Holder has not already resigned from his position as Attorney General? Because there is a reasonable fear in the Obama Camp that no matter who he might nominate, Republican Senators will use the "Nuclear Option" or filibuster to block them, leaving the Justice Department impotent. Based upon the realities in Washington, the Republicans are stuck with Holder because of circumstances they themselves have created. But I hope folks get the hint. No matter who is in charge of the I.R.S., the agency should never be used to intimidate or oppress any citizen or citizens group, unless they can be clearly be shown to be acting in willful violation of law. Period!
Which gets me to the recent disclosures the FBI was intercepting telephone conversations between Associated Press journalists and sources. Oh, the outrage! But were the conversations on land lines or cell phones? Were they authorized by a F.I.S.A. judge? Will we ever know? Now, I do not support the warrantless searching or interception of telephone conversations of any kind. I could cite you a long line of cases incorporating the right to privacy in our telephone conversations, but the Supreme Court has, for some time now, been whittling away at expectations of privacy on the telephone. In fact, currently there is NO right of privacy for conversations conducted over cell phones - none! The extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") even allows for all social media and electronic conversations to be eavesdropped and intercepted without a warrant.
When the FBI goes into a suspected terrorist's telephone to eavesdrop, does the Media wonder if they have secured a warrant allowing such action? Does the public expect suspected terrorists (even if U.S. Citizens) to have their individual First and Fourth Amendment rights upheld when a claim of National Security might be made? Where was the Media to expose the devolution of our fundamental Freedoms of Speech and Privacy when the Patriot Act was enacted and then extended? When FISA was enacted and then recently extended? When the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protecting Act was enacted? Where was the Media outcry then?
Does the Media think their First Amendment rights are somehow more fundamental than the individual's First Amendment Rights? Moreover, the claim that the FBI was investigating "Confidential Sources" holds little to no water when the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Media can not legally shield the identity of their sources from authorities (see Shield Laws and Supreme Court). Ironically, the many members of Congress that have routinely voted for FISA and CISPA now claim the FBI has engaged in criminal activity. Really? Those who make it legal to routinely snoop and pry into individuals electronic communications now raise a voice against the FBI when intercepting communications from the Media? Now that's rich!
The bottom line is that everything in Washington stinks to high heaven, and the only thing worse is the political gamesmanship being played by political parties in order to wreak havoc for their own political ends. They no longer care about the negative impact it will have on America, they only care how they can use it to retain or regain political power. Isn't it past time for Americans to get them all out of office and demand our mutual priorities take center stage instead of political strategies? I know what Obama needs to do to rise above this mess, but I am not one of his advisers. And I am not sure he would even listen to me anyway. As far as the Republicans, "be careful for what you wish for." Over reach is a bitch and this "Trifecta" could easily come back to haunt them! Perhaps President Andrew Jackson said it best, "The great constitutional corrective in the hands of the people against usurpation of power, or corruption by their agents is the right of suffrage; and this when used with calmness and deliberation will prove strong enough!"