ObamaGate: How Obama became Tricky Dicky Nixon
President Obama’s angry dismissal of the growing outcry over the handling of last year’s Benghazi terrorist attack that left a U.S. ambassador dead shows all the signs of a White House in “damage control” mode, critics say.
“They are in damage control, and this story is now gaining traction because people are now talking about it even more,” said Richard Benedetto, an American University political science professor and former White House correspondent for USA Today. “This story to me has all the makings of a Watergate kind of story. What did they know and when did they know it, and what did people in the White House do to cover it up?”
And what about those IRS allegations? Hillary Chabot and O’Ryan Johnson write on the politicization of IRS audits:
Outraged Bay State Democrats are blasting President Obama for exhibiting a Nixonian abuse of power after the stunning news that the Department of Justice secretly obtained Associated Press phone records and the IRS targeted conservative groups — new scandals emerging against the backdrop of heightened Benghazi criticism.
“There’s no way in the world I’m going to defend that. Hell, I spent my youth vilifying the Nixon administration for doing the same thing. If they did that, there should be hell to pay,” U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Somerville) said about the IRS scandal. “Not only is it bad government and bad to society, it is horrendous politics. The worst thing you can do is give your opponent an easy hammer with which to hit you.”
“It doesn’t seem to be a couple rogue employees. This appeared to be a systemic issue,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-South Boston), who wants to investigate the matter as a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee already has scheduled a hearing on the issue for this week, Lynch said, adding, “No American should find themselves the target of the IRS or any other federal organization because of their political beliefs.”
Both U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) and the GOP’s Gabriel Gomez, rivals in the Senate special election, slammed the administration’s actions, as new reports emerged yesterday that the Department of Justice seized two months’ worth of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors.
This is gangster politics. Obama is paranoid about leaks. As reported:
“The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a ‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.”
“Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.”
On Friday, the IRS apologized for targeting the groups, saying it was a decision made by career employees in an Ohio office in an effort to streamline the review process. The disclosure has led to heated criticism from Republicans, who are vowing investigations into the matter. The White House was also critical, as Press Secretary Jay Carney called the actions “inappropriate.”
A report on the matter from the Treasury watchdog overseeing the IRS is set to be made public this week.
But a leaked draft report was obtained by the Associated Press Saturday. The AP said the report found that senior IRS officials were aware of the targeting as early as 2011.
“They used key words to go after conservatives,” said Issa. “This is something where you have to institute changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“There’s got to be accountability,” he added.
You can read a timeline of the abuse of power here.
The American Civil Liberties Union was curious about warrantless government snooping on citizens’ text messages. So the group filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department. Here’s what they got back: