May I trouble you with another Obama Administration scandal?
The former U.S. Attorney for Arizona could be disbarred, after an investigation found he lied to the Justice Department about his role in trying to discredit the federal whistle-blower who exposed the botched gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious.
An Office of Inspector General report showed that Dennis Burke – the former chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed as U.S. Attorney for Arizona by President Obama in September 2009 – lied when asked if he leaked sensitive documents to the press meant to undermine the credibility of ATF whistle-blower John Dodson.
The IG report also said Burke likely leaked the memo in retaliation for Dodson’s whistle-blowing, and challenged the credibility of statements he made to congressional investigators. Dodson first went to Congress in 2010 after his own agency and the Justice Department refused to investigate his complaints that Operation Fast and Furious, an anti-gun-trafficking effort, was out of control.
So, one outrageous Justice Department scandal, Fast and Furious, leads to another, leaking sensitive documents and lying to investigators. Is there something in the water?
Ok, we’ve learned our lesson. Last week we tried to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt over its far-reaching secret subpoenas to the Associated Press, and now we learn that was the least of its offenses against a free press. No attempt to be generous to this crowd goes unpunished.
The latest news, disclosed by the Washington Post on Monday, is that the Justice Department targeted a Fox News reporter as a potential “co-conspirator” in a leak probe. The feds have charged intelligence analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim with disclosing classified information to Fox reporter James Rosen. That’s not a surprise considering that this Administration has prosecuted more national-security cases than any in recent history. [More than all administrations combined, if our data yesterday was correct. ed.]
The shock is that as part of its probe the Administration sought and obtained a warrant to search Mr. Rosen’s personal email account. And it justified such a sweeping secret search by telling the judge that Mr. Rosen was part of the conspiracy merely because he acted like a journalist.
Mr. Reyes is far exceeding his brief here, but the larger fault lies with higher-ups. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who is conducting the AP and Kim leak investigations, clearly has little regard for normal Justice standards and protocol for dealing with the media. Such a sweeping probe should also have been approved by senior Justice officials, at least by the Deputy Attorney General.
With the Fox News search following the AP subpoenas, we now have evidence of a pattern of anti-media behavior. The suspicion has to be that maybe these “leak” investigations are less about deterring leakers and more about intimidating the press. We trust our liberal friends in the press corps won’t mute their dismay merely because this time the target is a network they love to hate.
A rhetorical statement if there ever was one. In America today, politics trumps all other identity. If you’re gay, Dick Cheney is more “evolved” on gay marriage than Barack Obama—yet how many gay people support Cheney over Obama? Reporters can no longer deny (as they’ve managed against mounting evidence) that this administration is the most hostile to the press since Nixon’s (including Nixon’s?), yet they’re still in the bag for Obama like you can’t believe. (You can’t—believe them, that is.)
I almost don’t blame the politicians—power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If a free press has the exalted status of an “estate” of the realm, it needs to do its job and hold accountable those who would oppress us and them.
Funny, I know.