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Monday, May 13, 2013

Scandals in the Obama administration are racking up



Things are getting crazy very quickly in Washington. Scandals are now running rampant throughout the executive branch.

Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is calling for the possible impeachment of President Obama in light of the Benghazi cover-up. It is clear that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton either ignored or was unaware of cables requesting backup for protection against radical jihadists, and when the massacre was allowed to take place Ambassador Susan Rice was sent on a media tour to promote the theory that a YouTube video set off "spontaneous" riots, which led to the consulate attacks.

Some are even speculating Benghazi served as outpost for CIA operations directed at illegally intervening in Syria. From Conor Friedersdorf:
According to a Wall Street Journal article published way back in November 2012, "The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation, according to officials briefed on the intelligence. Of the more than 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the deadly assault, only seven worked for the State Department. Nearly all the rest worked for the CIA, under diplomatic cover, which was a principal purpose of the consulate, these officials said."
Doesn't that fact need to be acknowledged if the goal is to figure out what happened? I'm not invested in any outcome. If the Obama Administration is proved to have acted badly, I won't be surprised: as someone who thinks that President Obama violated the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolutionwhen he unilaterally volunteered American forces for the rebellion against Colonel Gaddafi, it seems to me that he's guilty of scandalous behavior in Libya regardless, and I am always eager for more transparency in the American government's conduct abroad. At the same time, I have no faith in the Republican Party to make good use of its oversight authority, and presume they're more interested in winning the next election than forcing transparency in foreign affairs, which they generally oppose, or improving State Department policy.
Moreover, I don't know what happened in Benghazi.
But knowing that the U.S. facility was a CIA post would seem to help explain certain mysteries. Why wasn't the Obama Administration truthful about what happened? There may have been multiple reasons. Surely one of them was thatthey wanted to hide the fact that a supposed diplomatic facility was really rife with spies. Why was the compound attacked? It seems likely that the presence of more than 20 CIA agents had something to do with it. Why were bureaucrats at the State Department so insistent on deflecting blame? Perhaps they're just typically averse to seeing their misjudgments revealed. But it also seems plausible that they conceived of Benghazi as a CIA operation, given the fact that it was largely a CIA operation, and felt the CIA bore responsibility for protecting their own assets, a rebuttal State Department officials cannot make publicly so long as we persist with the fiction that Benghazi was just a normal diplomatic facility with foreign service folks, a visiting ambassador, and no overwhelming spy presence.
Benghazi is now drawing parallels to Iran-Contra.

Also breaking in the news is the IRS targeting of conservative groups dating back to 2011, which is even getting liberals up in arms. Such as former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who when asked whether the IRS targeting was political, responded with "How can it not be?"


Finally, we are learning that the Department of Justice, which still hasn't been held accountable for Fast and Furious, has been spying on Associated Press phone records.
Holder announced in June 2012 that he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets, and members of Congress have complained about disclosures of electronic warfare campaigns against Iran, U.S. drone attacks overseas and Obama's personal involvement in "kill lists" of militants in Yemen and Pakistan.
But Pruitt wrote that most of the records collected from the AP "can have no plausible connection to any ongoing investigation," and the American Civil Liberties Union called on the Justice Department to explain its actions.
"Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power," Ben Wizner, the head of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a written statement. "Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources."
If Boehner were to ever grow a pair, we might actually see some investigations and possibly impeachment proceedings. But at this point he doesn't seem too interested.

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