Archive for Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Opinion: Benghazi, IRS: Son of Watergate?

May 15, 2013


In his defense of President Obama, Press Secretary Jay Carney is beginning to sound a lot like Ronald Zeigler, Richard Nixon’s spokesman. Carney only has to use the word “inoperative,” as Ziegler did when incriminating evidence surfaced that proved his previous statements untrue.

Following what appears to be a cover-up in the Benghazi attack, the Washington Post has obtained documents from an audit conducted by the IRS’s inspector general that indicate the agency targeted for special scrutiny conservative groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names, as well as “nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.”

IRS official Lois Lerner described the targeting efforts as “absolutely inappropriate,” but said IRS actions were not driven by partisanship. How, then, would she explain why no groups with “progressive” in their titles were similarly targeted? Carney labeled Lerner an “appointee from the previous administration.” In other words: Bush’s mistake, not Obama’s.

The Post’s editorial board writes, “A bedrock principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose.” The board called for a full accounting. I doubt we’ll get it. Take Benghazi.

ABC News first reported that the now famous Benghazi “talking points” used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on five Sunday morning news shows were revised 12 times, deleting references to “the al-Qaida-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia (and) CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.”

Carney said Ambassador Rice’s initial claim — that the attack grew out of protests over a video that insulted Islam — was based on what was known to U.S. intelligence at the time. But as last week’s testimony by three whistleblowers before the House Oversight Committee revealed, much more was known at the time.

Contributing to cover-up suspicions is the administration’s continued stonewalling when asked to provide information on Benghazi. CNN sources acknowledge that “An email discussion about talking points the Obama administration used to describe the deadly attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, show the White House and State Department were more involve d than they first said...” The American people deserve the full story.

The latest, but probably not the last shocker, is a report in The Daily Caller about CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, who has “steadily covered the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya,” reportedly frustrating CBS News executives who claim her unrelenting coverage is “bordering on advocacy” on the issue. Now, according to Politico, Attkisson can’t get some of her stories about Benghazi on the air. Oh, did I fail to mention that CBS News President David Rhodes is the brother of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes? Coincidental? Attkisson is reportedly in talks to leave the network. Is it because she chooses to behave like a real journalist instead of a cheerleader for Obama?

On Friday, Carney held a “secret briefing” on Benghazi for a select number of White House reporters, raising the ire of reporters not in the room. Is this what the Obama administration calls transparency?

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has asked Speaker John Boehner to name a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack with full subpoena powers that could place witnesses under oath. Boehner should. Meanwhile, House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) has demanded the IRS turn over by Wednesday all communications containing the words “conservative,” “patriot” or “tea party.” And the IRS should.

Democrats now accuse Republicans of partisanship, claiming their motive is to damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential prospects. If she has nothing to hide, transparency should enhance, not harm, her chances. We’ve learned more about Benghazi since her appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January and she should be asked to account for it.

In 1972, Republican partisans initially accused Democrats of wanting to destroy President Nixon, but most were forced to acknowledge his culpability in Watergate once the facts became known. One of the Articles of Impeachment of Nixon concerned his misuse of the IRS to undermine political enemies.

Journalists should stop protecting President Obama and Hillary Clinton and do their jobs, like Sharyl Attkisson. Congressional Republicans should press for all the facts. That’s their job.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


yourworstnightmare 11 months ago

Benghazi is a manufactured "scandal". Where is the ethical violation here? That Obama listened to his intelligence advisors in a dynamic and rapidly changing situation? There is no scandal, but the GOP will continue to pretend as if there is just to keep feathers ruffled.

The IRS story deserves attention, but in my opinion will also turn out to be nothing, especially with regard to Obama.

The behavior and rhetoric of many right-wing, anti-government tea party groups is overtly political and borders on supporting one particular political party. The IRS has a duty to investigate these groups, and in 2009 after Obama was elected, the number of thes new groups swelled, so it was only natural that they would be the focus.

Childish, whiny tea partiers just don't like having their organizations investigated, so they threw a tantrum.

The paranoia that infuses the tea party and other right wing groups makes them very sensitive to legitimate IRS investigation. They threw a fit. Investigate it. Move on.


msezdsit 11 months ago

Republican house staffers altered (lied) emails to manufacture republican support for their desired results on Benghazi. The altered emails seemed to implicate Obama while the actual emails vindicated the White House.

Pure politicalization even if it takes making up the story to do so.


msezdsit 11 months ago

Again, just for you, twister

The latest news is that on two different occasions the ambassador himself declined additional security.


msezdsit 11 months ago

"It may be that Republicans are attempting to politicize this, but if this had been a Republican President, would the Democrats not attempt to play politics?"

Simple answer. No. Dems gave Oliver North and Reagan a free ride on Iran Contra after it was undeniable. The Pubs. would have impeached Reagan over this. Probably even sought imprisonment for him. The Dems gave Bush a free ride through his entire administration. He lied us into a war and allowed the 911 attacks. All of these events make Obama look like a mouse even if the controversies that the pubs have largely exploited are trumped up and politicised into being something far more than they were. Benghazi and 911 were both terrorist attacks. 3000 Americans dead and vs. 4. The Dems were complete cowards about going after Bush. They felt it was inappropriate to try to divide the country by pursuing it and pursued unity instead. This is only 2 examples of what actually happened and the best the pubs can do is try to trump something into being as bad as these despicable republican failures.

Come on Wrist, do you really think there is any question that they are trying to politicize this? You may debate on how much- like 8 out of 10 or 10 out of 10 but it is undeniable that they are. You determine this by their actions, their posturing, their relentless shaping of the events to support their desired outcome. There is no doubt In my mind that the Obama Administration could have and very well should have handled Benghazi differently but to try to make it into 911 or Iran Contra is purely political.

How about the emails that were leaked to ABC that were rewritten by congressional republican staffers to implicate Obama but, when read as they were written, actually exonerated Obama. That is not just political but down right criminal and is the real scandal.


Trumbull 11 months ago

I am ticked off that the IRS would do what they did no matter how much I disagree with the Tea Party folks.

But in Benghazi, I see the Republicans trying to capitalize from this tradgedy. A quick military response was difficult because of available forces and distance. It also shows that the rescue response did in fact save others stationed there. Sadly not everyone.

It was a chaotic event during and after. Easy pickings to find fault if you are a partisan.


Armstrong 11 months ago

The big question is will the Obama lap dogs ( press ) let Barry slide on this one too ?


WristTwister 11 months ago

Yet another instance of "targeting" by Obama and the IRS.

*Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.

Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."

This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.*


Liberty275 11 months ago

This story just keeps getting more interesting.

"WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year."


jafs 11 months ago


I understand your point, but I might expand my definition of "mistake", in order to be compassionate. One can see committing a crime as a mistaken choice. And, I can't possibly say that all those who don't pay their taxes correctly are just making "honest" mistakes. Many people rely on professionals, of course, who should know what they're doing.

Well, the head of the IRS has said that it wasn't politically motivated, and a response to a doubling in the number of 501c4 applications after the CU decision. Those attacking Obama for this see something more sinister. I doubt we'll ever know for sure, since actions are open to interpretation, and people approach things with certain biases.

As I've said, I think the real problem is the complexity involved with tax exempt organizations, the differing kinds and differing rules, and the "open to interpretation" qualifications, which can't possibly be objective.


Agnostick 11 months ago

"All right, there's a thousand things that have to happen in order. We are on number eight. You're talking about number six hundred and ninety-two."

Wow... my comment about Kalif Rushad Al Limbaugh sure stirred up the bees under a few bonnets.

"You have lost the argument..."

Right... because running to your closet to throw on your "I Survived Watergate!" t-shirt and "Official Watergate Investigator" commemorative ball cap at the faintest whiff of trouble in the air is somehow... "winning," rather than "losing?"

You wanna explain that one, Hot Shot?

Two years between the Watergate burglaries and Nixon's resignation--you and the rest of the usual extremists think this is Pizza Hut. "Explain it in 30 minutes or it's 'Watergate!' "

"Why do you think a comedian's use of drugs is relevant in a discussion about the IRS abusing it's power and violating the constitution?"

Because "Watergate"--a 40-year-old incident, about which at least 90% of the facts are known (presumably)--is just as relevant in a discussion about an abuse of power in the IRS that we are just now beginning to learn about.

Cal Thomas likes to throw out blatantly misleading, incendiary headlines just to draw people in. The same trick seemed to work for me, too, judging by the number of comments my little stink bomb collected.

"Wondering what Oxy Rush has to do with the IRS violating the constitution."

Asked an answered. I'm interested, though--just for the potential humor--about exactly which part(s) of The Constitution you believe have been violated. Really, I'd love to hear. :)


MyName 11 months ago

What a joke. As someone who was old enough to actually pay attention to Watergate, Cal should be ashamed. Of course, judging by his past worthless partisan hack pieces, I'd say he had shame removed a long time ago.


Richard Heckler 11 months ago

Move military spending to domestic spending for new industry. Outsourced industry is not coming back.

How congress can justify Free Trade Agreements that essentially export USA jobs is beyond me.

What is Congress going to do? This country cannot wait any longer for the Republican Party to cooperate. The Democratic Party cannot wait another fours years for Republicans to stop being obstacles to new U.S. industry that cannot be outsourced.

The U.S. cannot afford millions to have new jobs outsourced. Congress has failed the majority of the U.S. population. That 99 percent was the motor behind everything that had anything to do with the economy.

Why did Congress allow that to be nearly destroyed?

Why did Congress provide a tax code that protects profits on U.S. goods made abroad, in essence encouraging outsourcing of U.S. jobs by the millions.

Members of Congress need to explain why they think the U.S. economy does not need millions upon millions of blue- and white-collar workers employed in the United States.

Where did these conclusions come from? Corporate America was never going broke. Instead corporations have been making tons of profits.

This large group posing as the GOP will not build bridges. The GOP as it was 33 to 50 years ago is dead. Replace this bogus GOP with the Green Party.


Ray Parker 11 months, 1 week ago

Deputy CIA director Mike Morell scratched out the truth in talking points about terrorists planning and conducting the attacks of 09/11/12 in Benghazi, prompted by the urging for a cover-up from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland and other State Department liars. CIA Director Petraeus objected to the replacement of the truth with outright lies and was promptly forced to resign. The White House, the Mombasa Marxist, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton then widely promoted the lies, even standing over the coffins into the faces of surviving families of the Benghazi dead, and then lied about putting in the lies. The White House is still not releasing some emails and documents, especially from the 2 days following the attacks of 09/11/12. WHAT are they hiding?

Talking Point Tango

Talking Point Tango by parkay

Nuland/Clinton Collusion

Nuland/Clinton Collusion by parkay

Nuland/Clinton Collusion

Nuland/Clinton Collusion by parkay


Agnostick 11 months, 1 week ago

Limbaugh, EIB: Son of Oxycontin!


Armstrong 11 months, 1 week ago

Now the running total of scandals is mounting, Benghazi, IRS, DOJ - Boston bombing, and messing with journalists. Sadly those are not the old scandals, yet to be fully addressed is Fast and Furious, money trail from failed stimulus 1&2, Solyndra.....

Barry and comapny are being exposed for what they are, scam artists and inept.


msezdsit 11 months, 1 week ago

"Journalists should stop protecting President Obama and Hillary Clinton and do their jobs, like Sharyl Attkisson. Congressional Republicans should press for all the facts. That’s their job."

Journalists should do their job and not manufacture the news and Congressional Republicans should be at the bargaining table working on compromises that would allow the country to benefit from what they were really elected to do. Thats their job.


Karl_Hungus 11 months, 1 week ago

hy·poc·ri·sy (h-pkr-s) n. pl. hy·poc·ri·sies 1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. 2. An act or instance of such falseness.

If Obama or any of his people did what they are being accused of, charge them but where was this outcry with 9/11 (has been proven that Bush and his administration knew well in advance about the attacks) or Iraq (they lied about the "evidence" that took us to war, was proven, went to war and got our own killed as well as all many Iraqis, little babies too). In fact, some countires have charged and convicted Bush and Co. as war criminals and if you are angry with the debt, look no further than having two wars charged on America's credit cards.

Point is, if Obama did it, charge him but don't act all high and mighty when you turned a blind eye (heck, both eyes) to Bush because he was your boy (white, Republican) and lets face it, 9/11 and Iraq are WAY bigger...WAY BIGGER than the charges at Obama's door, but yet that was ok for you to not say a word!!


jafs 11 months, 1 week ago

Tempest in a teapot.

First, given the definition of qualification for 501c4 status, I don't see why many of these organizations would qualify - their main goal is supposed to be "social welfare", not "political activity". Granted these are a bit vague and open to interpretation, but still.

The IRS may have been wrong to single out certain groups for more scrutiny, but they've apologized, and there's an investigation (and, by the way, none of the groups thus scrutinized were denied tax exempt status).

And, I'm still waiting for some sort of big deal to surface about Benghazi, but nothing has. After rather extensive investigation, no major misbehavior has been found.

But, it's clear that some on the right are trying to take Obama down, as they did with Clinton.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 1 week ago

Should Political Organizations be Tax Exempt? Absolutely not. This action has been subverting democracy and a fair voting system for at least 33 years. Abuse is the word.

In the past this has not been the case with the exceptions of many church organizations that take active roles in politics but usually PACs, Lobby Firms, and other political groups have not received tax exempt status.

Now it seems that groups that claim to be politically active want 501(c)(3) status. Should this be the case?

The answer is NO! The NRA was converted to one of these 501(c)(3) groups for the sake of funding rt wing politicians for the sake of bypassing spending regulations. The right wing over the past 33 years has been wandering about dreaming up 501(c)(3) PAC's ....... can we say our campaign funding system got deregulated? Yes we can.

The Chamber of Commerce is another such bogus PAC.


uncleandyt 11 months, 1 week ago

WOW, The IRS looks into groups that are seeking special tax breaks or exemptions ? And 35% or so of those groups in some time period starting around 2010 were conservative groups? This is the tip of the iceberg. If my calculations are close to correct, the IRS scrutiny of non-conservative groups happened at nearly twice the rate, and will be twice the scandal.


Mike Gerhardt 11 months, 1 week ago

This administration will go down as the most corrupt one in the history of this country.


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