Many of us, skeptics, patriots, threat to national security that we are, are not at all surprised by the May-gates. But the shear timing of it all is a bit jaw-dropping. Let’s consider the timeline and connect a few dots.
Consider this, at the heart of all this controversy, pre-election 2010 and 2012, when they were most vulnerable, the evidence is clear that within the Obama administration there was more than one attempt to intimidate the press, using national security as a pretext – and I’ll assert a false pretext.
Going after Fox News
First, though it was not the first story to emerge, they went after Fox, specifically James Rosen. The justice department alleged in a subpoena, and convinced a federal magistrate, that the actions of James Rosen were criminal. In reality, the content of the 44 page subpoena reveals that all the reporter was doing was his job.
Well, it was just Fox News, the other members of the press pool don’t like them anyway, right? They wouldn’t mind if the DOJ went after Fox News. Wrong! Press entities are like siblings. They may fight, they may not always like each other, but if you mess with one of them, expect the rest to be right behind them with a baseball bat. And the Press, thankfully, has the biggest bat of all.
But they did not just subpoena Rosen’s work phone, or even his personal phone, they subpoenaed his personal Gmail records. This is where I would remind you of the controversy around the administration’s policy that anyone’s private, personal email can be viewed by them at any time, as long as it is 6 months or older, but I know you remember that, right?
Monitoring for activity among the mainstream?
Then, in the lead up to the 2012 election, knowing all the things they had done and that a TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) audit would be forthcoming, the administration began monitoring the phone lines of the Associated Press – the most powerful news machine in the US. The source of all sources. The place where other news outlets obtain their news.
Is it a coincidence, that as Lindsey Graham was hinting that there may be whistleblowers that wanted to come forward, but were being intimidated, that the White House was interested in knowing who the AP was talking to? We now know that the premise of national security through which the AP phone record seizure occurred, was as false as that which secured the subpoena for Rosen’s records.
They just wouldn’t stop there
Sandy detailed in her last IRS blog the further intimidation of ABC when they attempted to talk to IRS employees in Cincinnati, in a public building, about non-classified topics.
The response of the media
In true form, however, our free press has stepped up to answer the challenge, somewhat. If the White House mistakenly thought the entire press corps would not mind misdeeds against Fox News, they were sadly mistaken. CBS posed the question at yesterday’s press conference, and the consensus was support for Rosen’s predicament.
Though some ultra liberal outlets (that I hesitate to even classify as media) like the Huffington Post, bury the scandal in the headline, and focus on the denial by the White House, outrage among the press has spread across the media, from the Washington Post to the New Yorker.
Hell hath no fury like a press scorned, Mr. President. Your timing could not be worse. They were helping you shield yourself from the fall-out of your other scandals. They were buying your “Oh, it’s just those nasty Republicans” line. Now that you have stomped on their 1st Amendment protections, you can count on that no longer. They will come after you now, with a vigor to which you are not accustomed, and a vengeance that I do not believe you can handle.
And they are savvy. They recognize the block and bridge, they know when you are stonewalling, they can read between the lines, and they can translate a parsed, legalized answer. You can no longer count on 90% of the press to carry your water. My guess is you are down to about 20% and falling rapidly. Good luck with that!