Over the course of about a week, Americans have been slapped in the face with example upon example of government corruption seeping from the highest levels of the Barack Obama-led Federal government. And even the most diehard supporters of the current President are hard-pressed to justify the Administration’s actions in failing to own up to mistakes and the use of Federal agencies to quell dissent.
During his first term, the Obama Justice Department sold more than 2,000 high-powered rifles to brutal Mexican drug cartels in an effort to “track” them, as a part of the now-infamous Operation Fast And Furious. The dangerous government initiative was revealed only when it was discovered that Justice had the blood of American Border Patrol agents, and likely countless other murder victims south of the border, on its hands. Republicans vocally called for answers and for actions to be taken against those responsible for the fatally flawed program, but were largely drowned out and marginalized by the efforts of top Administration officials to control what aspects of the scandal made it into media reports.
It has been well documented that Attorney General Eric Holder routinely and frequently communicated with people well-connected to America’s mainstream media — namely the left-wing spin doctors at Media Matters — to cover his agency’s mistakes and soften public perception.
In the end, Holder was cleared of wrongdoing with regard to the botched operation and much of America filed Fast and Furious as a scandal worthy of being forgotten.
Perhaps because of the easy avoidance of what should have clearly marked the beginning of the end of Holder’s career in public service, the Attorney General was emboldened. After all, the Commander in Chief stood by Holder throughout the ordeal; alas, Justice was allowed to drag its feet for months in responding to Congressional inquiries and ultimately cover up anything it wanted via executive privilege.
Now, Holder’s Justice Department stands accused of extrajudicially spying on reporters working for The Associated Press — according to the news organization’s own reports, by monitoring incoming and outgoing calls on AP office phones, phones used by AP reporters in the House of Representatives press pool, and, most egregiously, work and private phones of individual reporters.
Why? AP surmises that Justice’s spying was in retaliation to a story that the news organization published containing leaked information. From the AP:
U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
Justice’s actions make a few things very clear: It believes that Federal agents can spy on Americans without warrant. It is actively involved in doing so. The agency feels inclined to deliver reprisal to organizations that wrong its Federal allies. And it is unconcerned with the consequences of spying, bullying and abrogating the Constitution because part of its reason for doing so — explicitly in this case — is to control the very media that could potentially elicit public outrage.
While Justice is involved in its own dirty deeds, another Federal agency was hard at work controlling the public message in its own way. The Internal Revenue Service reportedly requested additional information from any group that applied for tax-exempt status and was obviously conservative in its political leanings. Now, it has been revealed that the IRS’s reason for doing so was not only to make it difficult for those organizations to proliferate, but also to collect intimate details about certain groups’ financial dealings — which, in some cases, were strategically leaked to the press.
But never fear, the Justice Department announced yesterday that it would conduct a thorough investigation of the IRS’s misdeeds.
Are you beginning to see a pattern? The fox is no longer guarding the henhouse; he owns it.