The mainstream media in the United States has focused – arguably for the first time since President Obama came to power – on a scandal involving the highest levels of government: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies for prioritizing which entities warrant greater scrutiny are, by definition, the result of high-level decisions. Coming on the heels of other congressional investigations into the administration’s conduct, such as Department of Justice seizures of Associated Press phone records, Benghazi, IRS targeting and the Associated Press affair are now being billed as a trifecta of scandals. They are, in fact, the latest of four major scandals to rock the White House: Operation Fast and Furious is no less important than the subsequent three.
Operation Fast and Furious, in which a federal agency orchestrated the sale of firearms to Mexican drug -cartel buyers, was – according to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama – a local operation – run by low-level agents – and neither had any knowledge of it until shortly before it was exposed. The terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was, apparently, an episode completely beyond the control of either the President or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After weeks of clearly misleading the American public, regarding the cause of the attack, Secretary of State Clinton finally conceded the misinformation before a congressional hearing. She did so, however, by brushing it off as unimportant, when she asked “what difference does it make?”
The deliberate targeting of Tea Party and other Patriot groups by the IRS was, we have been told, a low-level decision made by the agency’s Cincinnati office. This office has since pointed out that it cannot autonomously make such decisions. The acting head of the IRS, Steven Miller, had no idea that this strategy was being adopted. The word “irrelevant” has become fashionable: White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “the law is irrelevant”, when asked about whether or not the IRS may have broken any laws. Also, according to Pfeiffer, the question “who edited what talking points…that’s irrelevant”, when discussing Benghazi on CBS’s Face the Nation.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, at his May 14th press briefing, described the Benghazi hearings as a “political circus”. At the same briefing, he discussed the DoJ investigation of the Associated Press by saying that “The President is a…firm believer in the need for the press to be unfettered in its ability to conduct investigative reporting…” Carney went on to say “we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seize phone records from the Associated Press.”
According to the administration’s own well-documented admissions, therefore, it appears that President Obama has little knowledge of any decisions made within the Department of Justice, the Department of State or the Treasury Department. Beyond the political and media spin – and regardless of the truth behind each of these four embarrassing episodes – it is clear that the White House’s policy of denial is becoming more implausible with each passing day. As hard as it is to catch the daily trifecta or Triple Crown, looks like the Right has caught themselves a break after all.
Written By: Graham J Noble
Sources / Supporting Links / Works Cited (If none, please type “none”): pbs news hour, cbs, New York Post, New York Times