Three major Obama Administration “scandals” the past week illustrate an ongoing crisis in holding government officials accountable for their conduct.
Revelation of a secret Justice Department probe of Associated Press reporters and their news sources has aroused near-unprecedented outrage by the mainstream media against the administration.
Those attacks are particularly damaging to President Obama because they are coming at the same time his conservative foes are attacking because of the Benghazi massacre last September and also the Obama IRS policy of flagging “tea party” and “patriot” groups for extra scrutiny on their requests for tax exempt status.
Those three controversies are just part of his political problems. Civil rights, peace, and women's advocates — primarily but not exclusively on the left — have new grievances also during recent days regarding Obama's harsh crackdown against whistleblowers and the continued reports of sex crimes against female military personnel.
WWL-AM/FM radio host Tommy Tucker, right, invited me May 15 to discuss the implications of government spying on an estimated 100 Associated Press reporters and on their news sources.
The danger to the public, I said, is election winners then get to control government information to an unprecedented degree.
An AP lawyer called secret spying “a dagger at the heart of the press.” The Justice Department's grand juries could chill not simply on national security reporting and leaks, but any kind of reporting on sensitive matters undertaken by reporters or organizations secretly monitored. Thanks to technological breakthroughs and lack of court or congressional supervision, authorities can monitor,store and retrieve routine phone, email, and other electronic communications by almost anyone.
Opposition parties are no savior for those in the public seeking to learn the truth. Instead of a reasonable overview of scandal allegations supplying missing background, the opposition typically provides partisan, selective, and otherwise misleading advocacy, as illustrated in the column below.
The focus below is on the three major Obama controversies in the news. Noted also is information the president's opponents (and sometimes his defenders) do not want to provide the public, often because it involves CIA or similar covert activities. An appendix lists links to relevant news commentaries for further background.
Update: The president obtained the resignation of IRS Acting Director Steven Miller, appointed in November to acting status to lead the IRS. Miller, a 25-year career employee, succeeded a Bush appointee whose five-year term expired after running the IRS during the most of the period covered by the controversy.