The Phantom of the Obama Administration
A mysterious figure is moving around Washington ordering government employees to commit nefarious acts.
The Nation’s Capital has known its share of ghost stories. The spirit of Abraham Lincoln is said to walk the halls of the White House, particularly in our times of trouble. The woman hanged for his assassination allegedly helps tend to sick children in the building that had been her prison. Capitol Hill workers report spotting numerous long-gone congressmen still haunting the corridors of power.
And now, a mysterious phantom is lurking about, giving malevolent orders to government workers, including the order at the IRS to target Tea Party groups.
It is the Phantom of the Obama Administration.
The Ghastly Specter of Group 7822
The first sighting of the Phantom of the Obama Administration was revealed earlier this month in notes uncovered by Judicial Watch from the FBI’s investigation into the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative organizations. As the Daily Caller News Foundation reported, “An internal IRS document prohibited the targeted applicants from being approved automatically for tax exemption, and agency officials were told to send all such applications to the Orwellian-named Group 7822 to await additional guidance.”
But who wrote the so-called “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) directive? Who created this Group 7822? No one knows. Not even the FBI — the greatest investigative body the world has ever seen — could unmask the culprit.
Suspicion naturally would have fallen on disgraced IRS honcho Lois “I Take the Fifth” Lerner. However, Lerner told the FBI she went “ballistic” when she heard about the directive, and insisted she “did not and still does not know the name of the employee” who made the request.
But surely a woman who scored $129,000 in bonuses would be able to determine which of her underlings made the request, or would have the integrity to point out to the FBI any superiors who plotted this Tea Party attack. Surely, if a flesh-and-blood person was involved, somebody around the water cooler would have grumbled about having to work late to help their boss create this Group 7822. And since nobody would ever claim that the Obama Justice Department or FBI would back away from a case, even if it made the administration or its allies look bad, we can rule out the investigators taking a dive and not looking hard for any living culprit.
Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Conclusion: A phantom menace is haunting the Obama administration.
The Case of the Vanishing Video Clip
Now it appears the Phantom has floated the 1.3 miles from IRS headquarters to the State Department.
Last week, as the Associated Press reported, “The State Department says it can’t determine who ordered several minutes of videotape deleted from a news briefing about nuclear negotiations with Iran.” In fact, spokesman John Kirby said the folks who operate our complex foreign policy don’t even know why the tape was edited.
The better word is “censored.” During a December 2013 briefing, Fox News’ James Rosen had a tough eight-minute exchange with then-spokesperson Jen Psaki over the Iran nuclear deal. Earlier in the year, Rosen had asked another Dept. spokesperson if the U.S. and Iran were engaged in secret bilateral talks. The spokesperson offered a definitive “no.” However, in truth the U.S. and Iran had already been negotiating for over a year on the nuclear deal.
According to Fox News, Rosen confronted Psaki over the falsehood, asking if it was the policy of the State Department to lie in order to preserve “the secrecy of secret negotiations.” “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress,” Psaki said, “This is a good example of that.”
However, you never would have known about the exchange had you watched video of the briefing on the State Department website. The eight minutes had vanished, replaced with a white flash.
When uncovered, the State Department first said it was merely a technical glitch that just happened to occur at that spot. Then they admitted a deliberate edit had been made. But who ordered the edit?
State’s Office of the Legal Adviser investigated. They tracked down the technician in the department’s Bureau of Public Affairs who made the actual edit. He testified that he had received a call from a female ordering the deletion. He “did not believe” the order came from Psaki, and his memory has been wiped clean of who called.
The investigators interviewed over 30 current and former employees, but came away empty handed. Said current spokesman Kirby, “There is no evidence to indicate who may have placed that call or why.”
The “why” is not exactly true. According to the report, the technician “did believe that the requester had mentioned in the course of the call a Fox network reporter and Iran.” Further, “The technician indicated that the requester may have also provided the start and end times for an edit.” As Fox News put it, this suggests “the editing was more a deliberate act of censorship than State Department investigators and Kirby have publicly acknowledged.”
But that still leaves us the “who”? How is there “no evidence” as to who called the technician and ordered the edit? How does someone order a government employee to censor a video on the taxpayer dime then dissolve without a trace? It’s too far fetched to believe that the organization responsible for keeping an eye on the entire world can’t keep track of their own organizational chart. Next you’ll be telling me the State Department let our nation’s secrets float about on an unsecured, private server.
No, I’m sticking with the notion of a Phantom haunting the hallways of our federal government. If these are not the work of an apparition, then any hope that this administration holds to any measure of accountability comes crashing down like a massive glass chandelier.