Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Last Call: Three-Front Threat

President Obama and the executive branch launched into action with a triple-pronged attack to stamp out GOP criticism on the week's three "scandals":  the IRS, Benghazi, and the DoJ.

First, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before angry House Republicans about the leak subpoenas served to the Associated Press and was in no mood for GOP nonsense from goons like Rep. Darrel Issa:

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Eric Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) clashed as the Attorney General tore into the Republican oversight chairman's conduct as "unacceptable" and "shameful."

Holder slammed back at the GOP goofballs who couldn't resist making this all about them, and Louie Gohmert was especially idiotic for all of America to see.

Gohmert accused Holder and the Department of Justice of unfair targeting of Christian groups while failing to thoroughly investigate Tsarnaev, and said the FBI "blew it" by not following up after Tsarnaev had become "radicalized."

"Because of political correctness, there was not a thorough enough investigation of Tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized," Gohmert said, raising his voice at Holder.
Holder strongly refuted those charges and defended the FBI.

"You don't have access to the FBI files," Holder said. "You don't know what the FBI did. You don't know what the FBI's interaction was with the Russians. You don't know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that. ... I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know."

Gohmert grew irate, charging that Holder had challenged his personal character and continually tried to get a word in despite objections from other members of the Judiciary Committee.

He then rambled something that sounded like he was accusing Holder of "casting aspersions on my asparagus."

Then the White House released the Benghazi emails the GOP has been demanding.

Senior Obama administration officials contend the e-mails demonstrate the process of developing talking points for members of Congress to use in media interviews was not focused on politics but rather on events.

For instance, some of the e-mails expressed caution about what should be said publicly during an FBI investigation while others centered on the strength of intelligence at the time.

The White House said the e-mails it provided to inquiring lawmakers months ago and released on Wednesday aim to paint a fuller picture following what it described as a series of selective and inaccurate e-mails recently appearing in media reports.

"Collectively, these e-mails make clear that the interagency process, including the White House's interactions, were focused on providing the facts as we knew them based on the best information available at the time and protecting an ongoing investigation," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

The e-mails indicate the CIA was likely the lead organization in developing the talking points with the State Department recommending significant changes.

And while turf battles where a dead Ambassador is involved aren't exactly kosher, they aren't illegal.  Also, both the CIA Director and Secretary of State at the time have both resigned:  Hillary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus.

On top of that, President Obama then asked for and received the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.

Seeking to regain the initiative amid a series of controversies that have threatened his second-term agenda, Obama said new leadership was needed to restore public confidence in the IRS, whose reputation for political independence has suffered a major blow.

With congressional investigations looming, Obama said he had told Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to seek the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, and Lew had done so.

"I'll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards," Obama told reporters in the White House's ornate East Room.

The President has effectively cleared the air, and cleared the decks, all in one afternoon.  The GOP should have been more careful with what it wished for, because the President complied, and now we'll almost certainly watch them overplay their hand by moving the goalposts.

Obama is winning this battle, folks.  He's outsmarted them YET AGAIN and they despise him for it.

Crossing The Rubin Con Once Again

Jen Rubin, World's Worst Hack(tm) on Eric Holder and the AP subpoenas being the worst thing ever:

It’s time to clean house, get some real legislative oversight and make certain there are consequences (legal or political) for those responsible. And the president needs to come forward and answer lots and lots of questions.

Worst thing EVER.

One can only imagine if the Bush administration pulled this.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly obtained calling records for more than 3,500 telephone accounts from 2003 to 2006 without following any legal procedures, according to a newly disclosed report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Instead, according to the 289-page report, F.B.I. agents informally requested the records from employees of three unidentified telephone companies who were stationed inside a bureau communications office.

Based on nothing more than e-mail messages or scribbled requests on Post-it notes, the phone employees turned over customer calling records, the report said.

On some occasions, the phone employees allowed the F.B.I. to upload call records to government databases. On others, they allowed agents to view records on their computer screens, a practice that became known as “sneak peeks.”

Moreover, the report found that the F.B.I. improperly uploaded into its databases large numbers of calling records without determining whether they were relevant to an investigation.

On four occasions, the bureau made inaccurate statements to a court that authorizes national security wiretaps about how it had obtained calling records, the report said.

And agents twice improperly gained access to reporters’ calling records as part of leak investigations.

Sure was unprecedented, yep.  You know, instead of just going through legal channels and informing the AP, all the folks screaming that Obama is "chilling free speech" seem to forget the last guy simply had the FBI take reporter's phone records and didn't give a damn.  We only found out several years after the fact.  Somehow, I don't see anyone recalling that....least of all Jen Rubin.

Ben-Gone-Zi With The Dawn

Surprise!  Last Friday's ABC News hit piece on the President over Benghazi was in fact Jonathan Karl being fed a line of crap and running with it.  Steve Benen:

It seemed as if the story was just about done, until Friday, when all of a sudden, it became front-page news again. What happened? This ABC News report detailed the process through which administration talking points were drafted in September, and included a quote from then-Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes that seemed to suggest the White House wanted to remove specific references to terrorist organizations and CIA warnings. At the same time, the Weekly Standard ran similar information, and the rest of the media pounced.

They shouldn't have. Jake Tapper at CNN reports today that ABC and the Weekly Standard reports were based on misleading information.


CNN has obtained an email sent by a top aide of President Barack Obama, in which the aide discusses the Obama administration reaction to the attack on the U.S. posts in Benghazi, Libya. The actual email differs from how sources characterized it to two different media organizations.
The actual email from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes appears to show that whomever leaked it did so in a way that made it appear that the White House primarily concerned with the State Department's desire to remove references and warnings about specific terrorist groups so as to not bring criticism to the department.

In other words, somebody deliberately fed Jon Karl a doctored or paraphrased letter that made it look like the White House was more concerned about covering the State Department's ass than getting to the bottom of Benghazi.  Jon Karl was given a juicy story -- both too good to pass up and too good to be true -- and got burned.  He's got zero credibility now, and he either lied and colluded with a false narrative in order to make the White House look bad, or he's not smart enough to know when he's being played

Either situation is fatal in the career of a DC journalist...although he probably has a long career at FOX News should ABC can him.


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