WINCHESTER, Va., May 16, 2013 — So many scandals are engulfing the Obama administration that it can be difficult to follow. The White House released documents on one scandal right before going on television to discuss another one. It became necessary to compile a user handbook listing the scandals with what is known and unknown.
The most serious scandal is Benghazi, because four people died. On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods were murdered by radical Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
Although the Libyan government informed their American counterparts of the cause, the White House and State Department blamed an anti-Muslim video. The film-maker remains imprisoned. Talking points originally blaming the terrorists were stripped to eliminate any such references.
Three whistleblowers testified that they requested help in evacuating but were ordered to stand down. More whistleblowers exist along with some Benghazi survivors. The White House just released one hundred emails but is suspected of holding on to many more.
Numerous questions remain. Who pushed the video narrative? Why is the film-maker still in jail? Who gave Lt. Colonel Gibson the stand down order? Who edited the talking points? Where was President Obama? Was he asleep during the entire seven hour siege? Where are the seven Benghazi survivors? Why have they not been allowed to publicly testify? Why was Greg Hicks, a State Department employee with a sterling reputation, demoted after testifying?
The next scandal is Fast and Furious. Given back burner status in recent months, this one matters. The Department of Justice authorized a gunrunning sting. Guns were to be released by the DoJ and tracked. Then when those guns were used in crimes, the DoJ could prosecute the cases. Gun rights advocates maintained that this operation was an end run around the Second Amendment.
The operation went bad when the DoJ lost track of the guns. Many of them were used in crimes that killed Mexicans. One gun was used to murder American border guard Brian Terry.
Attorney General Eric Holder was asked the only question that mattered when he testified before Congress. Who authorized Fast and Furious? Holder refused to answer, and so far stonewalling has proven successful.
The Internal Revenue Service is now under a separate cloud. After over two years of denials, the IRS admitted to deliberately targeting conservative groups including tea party groups, evangelical groups, and pro-Israel groups. Groups with policy disagreements with President Obama saw their applications for tax-exempt status delayed while politically liberal groups received rapid approval.
Conservative applicants received extensive questions about their private donors, which they are not required to disclose. While the identity of tax-exempt groups is public, the groups are entitled to full privacy while an application is pending. Pending applicants had their identities leaked to politically liberal news outlets.
This scandal is dangerous because the IRS is not very popular to begin with. Obama has joked in the past about using the IRS to reward friends and punish enemies. The initial blame for this scandal fell on low level bureaucrats in Cincinnati, but Cincinnati is the home office for processing these applications. Now it is known that IRS agents in Washington were involved as well.
The Obama administration tried to blame two rogue agents, but that did not quell the scandal. Interim IRS Commissioner Stephen Miller was fired, but his term was set to expire anyway in less than one month.
Obama mouthed the words “responsible,” “accountable,” “unacceptable,” “intolerable,” and other Johnny Cochran rhymes. House Speaker John Boehner offered a much more forceful statement.
“My question isn’t about who is going to have to resign, my question is who is going to jail over this scandal.”
Unknown is who specifically ordered the IRS to harass Obama’s political opponents. IRS abuse of power led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation to avoid impeachment.
Another scandal involves the White House seizing Associated Press telephone records. The other scandals have facts not disputed by objective observers. This one has some ambiguity. Some media personnel see this as the most serious privacy breach in American political history, but this scandal is different. The White House has not denied doing what it’s accused of. It has relied on a justification defense, citing national security.
The AP was about to break a story on terrorism activity in Yemen that the White House wanted to remain secret. The White House went to a FISA court to get permission to monitor the AP, but they were still required to notify the telephone companies. This was not done. The AP had been cooperating with the White House, and has traditionally provided Obama with favorable media coverage. AP reporters had their private phone records seized for April and May of 2012.
It is tough to know if the underlying story was truly sensitive to national security without seeing evidence. The White House refuses to release the evidence because of the security claim. This circle may have to be broken by judicial order.
A fifth scandal involving the Environmental Protection Agency is getting little attention. The EPA funded failed green companies such as Solyndra after knowing these companies were financially unsound. This same EPA is accused of harassing oil, coal, and natural gas fracking companies by delaying permits. Former EPA Director Lisa Jackson was caught using a fake email account named after her dog to hide official correspondence.
A sixth scandal involves Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius. The Obamacare Czar stands accused of threatening companies and states that do not implement provisions in the way the White House wants. She is also accused of fundraising on behalf of the law, which would be illegal given her position.
The seventh scandal is the entire Obama record. Obama domestic and foreign policy have both been reduced to ashes under the weight of unmet expectations, broken promises, and failed results. From Obamacare at home to Iran and Syria abroad, there is only darkness as far as the eye can see.