Maybe this leak to a (formerly?) in-the-bag media outlet is true, but if it is it seems to contradict recent previous assertions to Congress. Huh? We have to say we’re perplexed. There’s always the possibility of gross incompetence at work. But a clever adversary might start feeding false information to the press to set them up and pull the rug out from under them. Frankly we would not be surprised to find out in retrospect that both things were true. The leaks are coming too fast and furious right now.
Caution in reporting leaks as facts is warranted. Discrediting certain high profile “leaks” and leakers would be an outstanding strategy for those under siege in order to spread the idea that “leaks” equal falsehoods. We’ll see.
Wrethcard: “National Public Radio reporter Ari Shapiro spotted pundits Jonathan Capehart, Josh Marshall, and Ezra Klein headed into the West Wing.” Lifson: “Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS operation that targeted Tea Party groups is being thrown under the bus…media operatives, both veterans of Journolist who were called into the White House yesterday for consultations, both called for her firing. The two are the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memorandum.” It’s nice when those who have perpetrated a scandal of breathtaking scope, hubris and incompetence start acting like the rats they are.
The NYT is still hoping for a redemptive outcome, but Dana Milbank of the WaPo seems to have jumped to the other side. He quotes Rosen and gives his verdict:
“I want to report authoritatively, and ahead of my competitors, on new initiatives or shifts in U.S. policy, events on the ground in [North Korea], what intelligence is picking up, etc…I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses…In short: Let’s break some news, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it, or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.” That is indeed compelling evidence — of good journalism.
At the end of the piece Milbank pulls his punches of course. Like his colleagues, Milbank was once a true believers in the One. Attkisson, Rosen, the AP: can he become a true believer agina? We’ll see.
the administration has gone overboard in its zeal to find and muzzle insiders. The Associated Press revealed last week that the government had secretly seized two months’ worth of records for telephones used by the agency’s staff, partly to determine the source of a leak about a report involving a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen…
administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a “co-conspirator,” on top of other zealous and secretive investigations, shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press.
“Muzzle” is a strong word, but the tone is moderate particularly in the concluding paragraph. Perhaps the wayward will return to the fold. We guess they’ve gotten past the schoolyard crush so evident on 1/20/09 when they went all gooey over things like “transparency” and how these new guys were so different and so much better than what came before.
Still, they can’t seem to confront the real story yet (at least publicly), that as the Sharyl Attkisson story appears to indicate, all this spying is not so much about national security as about getting dirt on reporters.
“I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter…I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public…there could be some relationship between these types of things and what’s happened to me.”
The “types of things” she referred to are these. HT: PL
Burke violated Department policy when he provided the Dodson memorandum to Fox News reporter Levine without Department approval, and that his explanations for why he did not believe his actions were improper were not credible. We believe this misconduct to be particularly egregious because of Burke’s apparent effort to undermine the credibility of Dodson’s significant public disclosures about the failures in Operation Fast and Furious. We further believe that the seriousness of Burke’s actions are aggravated by the fact that they were taken within days after he told Deputy Attorney General Cole that he took responsibility for his office’s earlier unauthorized disclosure of a document to The New York Times, and after Cole put him on notice that such disclosures should not occur. Burke also knew at the time of his disclosure of the Dodson memorandum that he was under investigation by OPR for his conduct in connection with the earlier disclosure to The New York Times. As a high-level Department official, Burke knew his obligations to abide by Department policies and his duty to follow the instructions of the Deputy Attorney General, who was Burke’s immediate supervisor. We found Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney. We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member.
According to the White House Visitors Log…the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st…The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way: April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.
Mark Steyn notes the case of one person who was not only targeted as described above, but also got “visits from the FBI, OSHA and the ATF.” Lots of coordination, but how? Companies with unions have two management structures, and even non-union organizations have a percentage of their employees who want to organize. A clever and subtle way to help manage the Tea Party thing, until it unravels of course.
When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material. They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.
The case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser, and James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, bears striking similarities to a sweeping leaks investigation disclosed last week in which federal investigators obtained records over two months of more than 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press. At a time when President Obama’s administration is under renewed scrutiny for an unprecedented number of leak investigations, the Kim case provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one such probe. Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010.
The interesting point about this piece is that it’s in the Washington Post. Perhaps there are parties at the Post who wondered: if you can investigate scores of reporters secretly given a plausible national security argument, how many times has this gone on, and was it ever done to us? Having dirt on people is how this crowd got to the top. How naive of reporters to think they were exempt. HT: AT
The small glass jugs filled with green or gold coloured extra virgin olive oil are familiar and traditional for restaurant goers across Europe but they will be banned from 1 January 2014…The use of classic, refillable glass jugs or glazed terracotta dipping bowls and the choice of a restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed…The European Commissions justification for the ban, under special Common Agriculture Policy regulations, is “hygiene” and to protect the “image of olive oil”…”It will seem bonkers that olive oil jugs must go while vinegar bottles or refillable wine jugs can stay.”
At least they’re fiddling with olive oil. It could be a lot worse.
We’re flagging this one for future reference. Taranto rounds up quite a number of commentators who are sure that the three or four current scandals generating some heat but little light so far are no big deal. Maybe they’re right but we doubt it. You can’t have behavior this creepy and lying this pathetic without dominos falling one after another. There are too many officials involved from multiple agencies harassing too many citizens for this to settle down. Those harassed are coming forward, and they will be followed by others. And what’s up with stealing medical records? In our opinion this will continue to metastasize and no one knows where it will end, since it’s been going on silently for years.
This is a strange piece in the NYT, with White House aides spinning furiously. What’s really odd about the piece is all the references to fictional presidents in the movies and on TV. That’s very strange. We don’t see CEO’s imagining themselves as characters in obscure films about business, for example. This is a most peculiar crowd, but maybe not so much since they seem to live in a world of fantasy and fiction.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Law & Order, whether the original, SVU or CI, there are a couple of rules when approached for a friendly conversation with investigators: lawyer up and shut up being notable among them. Even a smart lawyer like Scooter Libby ignored this advice. Both Michael Ledeen and Hugh Hewitt give advice to those who may be implicated in our current or coming scandals (don’t you think there will be others?), namely to move quickly in lawyering up or they’ll get worse counsel at a worse price.
Also, Thomas Lifson has an interesting piece on how the scandal avalanche may be affecting the MSM. It will be interesting if it turns out to be true.
the uninsured annually had 5.5 office visits, used 1.8 prescription drugs and visited an emergency room once. Almost half (46 percent) said that they “had a usual place of care,” and 61 percent said that they had “received all needed care” in the past year. About three-quarters (78 percent) who received care judged it “of high quality.” Health spending for them averaged $3,257…
when people were covered by Medicaid, many of these figures rose. The annual number of office visits went to 8.2; the number of drugs, to 2.5; the share of patients with a usual place of care, to 70 percent; the proportion receiving all needed care, to 72 percent. Preventive care also increased. The share of patients receiving screening for cholesterol moved from 27 percent for the uninsured to 42 percent; the share of women older than 50 having mammograms jumped from 29 percent to 59 percent; the share of men older than 50 getting PSA tests for prostate cancer doubled, from 21 percent to 41 percent. Spending rose to $4,429.
Unfortunately, the added care and cost didn’t much improve physical health. The study screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and the risk of heart attack or stroke. No major differences were detected between the uninsured and Medicaid recipients.
And there’s this from the WaPo: “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations.” Knowing what we know now about the administration, what happens to those who say no to her?
A couple of other points. The AP story is fishy from a variety of perspectives, including that it focuses on phone calls but makes no mention of other electronic communications. What about all the text messages and emails, which is the way that much if not most of journalistic communication is done today? Surely if the government wanted blanket information it would have gotten all that traffic as well. Details dribble out, in scandal after scandal, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi and this. And the final point: what are the scandals that we still don’t know about?
There’s a fellow named Ben Rhodes (b. 1977) who has been getting some attention of late. He was just past 30 when he wrote the inane Cairo speech of 2009. Politico had a rather breathless piece on the writing of the speech at that time. He is or was the only speechwriter on foreign affairs for the White House, and so Ed Lasky zeroes in on him when it comes to the bad fiction delivered on Benghazi. We’ll see how that develops.
One shocking thing we learned in reading the Politico piece is that Rhodes is or was the senior speechwriter. The other speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is four years younger and started writing for the Chicago team when he was 24 or so. So when the administration gets its history wrong on everything from D-Day to the Berlin Airlift, there’s a reason. The facts are coming from young ignoramuses who don’t know much American history.
The American people ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be fooled by two dolts in dunce caps. Far worse than that, however, is that the media celebrate their work by deifying the fellow who delivers the rubbish they peddle. Imagine: a country of 300 million taken in by two young fools and a guy with a mellifluous voice.
Sometimes it’s the Tonight Show that’s watching you, sometimes it’s Bloomberg. NYT:
There are now more than 315,000 Bloomberg terminal subscribers worldwide who rely on the desktop computer for research, trading, communication and a constant stream of financial information and news. But as it turned out, what the subscribers were doing was not always confidential. Bloomberg reporters used the “Z function” — a command using the letter Z and a company’s name — to view a list of subscribers at a firm. Then, a Bloomberg user could click on a subscriber’s name, which would take the user to a function called UUID. The UUID function then provided background on an individual subscriber, including contact information, when the subscriber had last logged on, chat information between subscribers and customer service representatives, and weekly statistics on how often they used a particular function…
A preliminary analysis at Bloomberg revealed that “several hundred” reporters had used the technique…problems, which became public on Friday, started at JPMorgan Chase last summer, when the bank suffered a multibillion-dollar trading loss. Some Bloomberg reporters called the bank, people briefed on the call said, to question whether the traders responsible for the loss had been fired. They cited the fact that the traders had gone silent on the terminal. The bank, the people said, objected to the reporting technique, but did not formally reach out to Bloomberg executives to complain. Yet bank officials soon discovered that other Bloomberg reporters were using the approach on other stories unrelated to the trading loss.
There’s an amusing and hysterical article at Salon about giving up burgers to save the earth or some such. And now the NYT also reports on CO2 reaching 400PPM somewhere. You know how we take this news. Yawn. We wouldn’t mind it if earth was a little warmer, not that there’s any recent evidence of that. Anyhow, here’s a thought: why not build a Kandor on earth, an enclosed environment given its own atmosphere, this one with, say, 2000PPM CO2. Let’s see what the results are. Maybe this has already been done, but we haven’t read about it. Probably pretty expensive, but surely less expensive than the things proposed by the catastrophic AGW crowd (which India, China, etc. will never implement anyhow). And you can charge admission to defray the costs.
(At BOTW, Taranto points out that non-CO2 particles are also at an alarmingly high number: 996,600PPM.)
the mere existence of the edits — whatever the motivation for them — seriously undermines the White House’s credibility on this issue. This past November (after Election Day), White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
Remarkably, Carney is sticking with that line even now. In his regular press briefing on Friday afternoon (a briefing that was delayed several times, presumably in part so the White House could get its spin in order, but also so that it could hold a secretive pre-briefing briefing with select members of the White House press corps), he said:
The only edit made by the White House or the State Department to those talking points generated by the C.I.A. was a change from referring to the facility that was attacked in Benghazi from “consulate,” because it was not a consulate, to “diplomatic post”… it was a matter of non-substantive factual correction. But there was a process leading up to that that involved inputs from a lot of agencies, as is always the case in a situation like this and is always appropriate.
This is an incredible thing for Carney to be saying. He’s playing semantic games, telling a roomful of journalists that the definition of editing we’ve all been using is wrong
There are a number of takeaways from this. First, the MSM apparently really believed their guy when he spoke rubbish and grandiosity lo these many years. They believed their guy even though most every word that came out of his mouth was to be measured in terms of its political usefulness, not by its truth. That accounts for the tone of surprise and incredulity in the New Yorker piece.
Second, the White House is equally unprepared and surprised. As we know from the days of Richard Nixon and Ron Ziegler, the press secretary’s orders come straight from the top. So when Carney looks like a buffoon telling lies that are long past their sell-by date, it’s because there’s confusion, disorganization and maybe even a little panic at the top. And why wouldn’t there be? Here was this Chicago Way politician with a nice voice getting treated as a god. Heaven on earth.
The MSM is now coming to grips with the fact that, despite it was Republicans saying so, there actually was a cover-up and they ignored it because they wrote it off as partisan politics. Oops! Whether the media get to the central issue is another matter. Contrary to the received wisdom in these matters, the cover-up is not always worse than the crime. In Ron Ziegler’s “third-rate burglary” that was true. In Benghazi, the opposite is the case. The crime in Benghazi was not taking whatever diplomatic and specifically military actions that might have saved four lives. Whether or not the efforts would have been successful is not the issue; orders to “stand down” are the issue. We know where the order came from. Whether the media are willing to go there is another thing entirely.