In a city where politics is considered bloodsport, a trifecta of recent controversies—the IRS targeting conservative groups, the DoJ secretly wiretapping journalists and lingering unanswered questions about the consulate office attack in Benghazi, Libya—have plunged Barack Obama into the darkest hours of his presidency. With critics and supporters alike accusing his administration of lying, dirty tricks, obstructing justice and Nixonian-style secrecy, AMERICAN FREE PRESS examines how Obama’s bunker mentality is crippling the country.
By Victor Thorn
Now in the early stages of his second term, media pundits on both sides of the aisle are characterizing Barack Obama as exhibiting a bunker mentality while being paranoid, insulated from reality, and suspicious of nearly everyone around him. Others cite Obama’s continued use of Saul Alinsky’s gutter tactics as the reason why he’s bleeding credibility.
Reminiscent of Haldeman and Ehrlichman—Richard M. “Tricky Dick” Nixon’s notorious inner circle henchmen—Obama is similarly surrounded by accomplices that not only conspire to protect him, but target foes on a shadowy enemies list. To gauge his mindset, on October 25, 2010, Obama declared to the hosts of Mexico’s Univision, “We’re going to punish our enemies and reward our friends.”
Should anyone be surprised that radio and TV talk show hosts have claimed for years that Obama’s thugs were harassing their advertisers, engaging in smear campaigns against them, and using the Internal Revenue Service to initiate audits? Or, to prevent ugly secrets from being revealed, his underlings have utilized secret subpoenas while prosecuting twice as many whistle-blowers as all other presidents combined.
On another level, even Obama’s most ardent cheerleaders such as Dr. Cornell West, a radical black professor and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, have turned against the phoniness of hope and change. On May 12 West complained to The Guardian, “[Obama’s] too tied to Wall Street, and at this point he’s a war criminal . . . You can’t meet every Tuesday with a killer list and continually have drones drop bombs . . . These are war crimes.”
West directed his fury at another example of crass hypocrisy. “When he came [to Washington], Obama brought in Wall Street-friendly people . . . I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones.”
IRS Wielded Like a Hammer
• President needs to clean house to retain any credibility
The nation’s most hated federal agency became even more despised following revelations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) specifically targeted conservative and religious groups by denying or delaying applications for non-profit status, as well as auditing individuals that made campaign contributions to Republican candidates.
On May 16, AFP spoke with Marion Bower, co-founder of the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess. When asked about this IRS witch-hunt, Bower replied, “I thought it was bad a year ago, but I didn’t realize the extent to which they were trying to shut us up and get even. What’s going to happen when the IRS becomes the watchdog for Obamacare? Does this mean that a person won’t receive Medicare or prescriptions to survive an illness because of their tea party affiliation?”
When AFP inquired about the tactics used against her organization, Bower explained, “The IRS wanted to know what books we’ve read, the names of people receiving our promotional material, copies of our blogs, and texts of speeches we’ve given. They even wanted me to write a book report. Well, I’m 60-some years old and haven’t written a book report since high school. I’m sure as heck not going to start now for the IRS.”
The tentacles of this dragnet extended even further. Not only did the IRS intimidate patriotic groups, they also went after religious figures such as Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, and zeroed in on St. Louis news anchor Larry Connor, who directed some pointed questions at Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election.
IRS officers also bullied the more than 500 groups they went after, threatening them with “penalties of perjury,” demanding donor rolls, résumés of top officers, the names of high school and college trainees, what campaign signs they posted in front yards and even the content of prayer readings.
In contrast, a May 14 Treasury Department Inspector General’s Report revealed that not a single liberal or “green” group had come under similar IRS scrutiny. Worse, Lois Lerner, an IRS official that personally intimidated some tea party groups, rubber-stamped the application filed by an Obama relative within a month. As The Daily Caller columnist Charles C. Johnson wrote on May 14, Lerner “signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.” For the record, most tea party groups waited, on average, 2.5 years to receive tax-exempt status.
For his part, Obama denied any knowledge of the IRS trampling on Americans’ rights. Yet, during his May 17 congressional testimony, acting IRS admitted that in June 2012 he informed then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about his agency’s targeting of Obama’s political enemies. Geithner, of course, served as a prominent member of Obama’s inner circle.
Further, Miller was directly appointed by the Obama administration, while others involved in the IRS vendetta such as Lerner have yet to be fired or even disciplined. More galling is the fact that Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the IRS tax-exempt division that perpetrated the above-cited crimes between 2009 and 2012, has received $103,390 in bonuses while being promoted to oversee the enforcement arm of Obamacare’s IRS office.
Obama’s New Rahm Emanuel
A favorite topic among the Beltway’s chattering class is: which White House insider concocted the deceptive talking points that United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice delivered on September 16, 2012 during appearances on five different Sunday talk shows?
The answer might be Benjamin Rhodes, Barack Obama’s 35-year-old Jewish deputy national security adviser for strategic communication and foreign policy speechwriter. As Tim Brown wrote on May 11, when Obama cabinet members convened on September 15, 2012 to fabricate this lie, “Ben Rhodes may be the culprit in coming up with the story that . . . a YouTube video brought about protests which led to the attack in Benghazi.”
The sale of this whopper in the media didn’t concern Rhodes, whose brother David, conveniently enough, is president of CBS News. This cozy arrangement also explains why Obama has appeared on the ever-popular CBS program 60 Minutes so many times, especially in times of crisis.
Rhodes’s influence doesn’t end there. Mark Landler of The New York Times described him in a May 15 article as “the man who channels Mr. Obama on foreign policy.” By all accounts, Rhodes pushed Obama toward engineering the U.S.-North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led invasion of Libya and to more aggressively provide weaponry to anti-Assad rebels in Syria. Clearly, both of these offensives reek of neocon militarism.
Most importantly, Rhodes crafted Obama’s pivotal March 21 speech delivered to the Jewish people in Jerusalem, where Rhodes was present. Once touching down in Tel Aviv, Rhodes disembarked side-by-side from the plane with Obama, whereupon Benjamin Netanyahu greeted them. When Obama informed the Israeli Prime Minister that Rhodes’s brother served as CBS President, Netanyahu laughed approvingly, “It sounds like a very incestuous relationship.”
Justice Department Caught Targeting Scores of Reporters
• Thoroughly unconstitutional wiretapping of Obama “enemies” reminiscent of Watergate crimes
News that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DoJ) secretly seized the personal, home and work records of over 100 Associated Press (AP) reporters entered even more treacherous territory with revelations that they had done the same to at least two other members of the media.
First, CBS News Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Sheryl Attkisson has gone on record claiming that her work and personal computers have been compromised since February 2011. As one of the few mainstream television personalities to expose the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal since its inception, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that these intrusions coincided precisely with her allegations of DoJ gun-running to Mexico.
Secondly, it’s been verified that the DoJ received a surreptitious court order to snoop into the emails and phone records of James Rosen, a national security reporter for Fox News. The DoJ even tracked his whereabouts inside the State Department via scans of his identification card. It should be noted that, in direct violation of the law, DoJ officials didn’t notify Rosen or Fox News of their actions.
The DoJ’s unconstitutional behavior reaches even deeper into the Beltway’s underbelly. On May 16, Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) claimed that the DoJ tapped into phones inside the House of Representative’s Cloakroom. Oftentimes, congressmen meet in this chamber to conduct business with reporters over the telephone.
Administration Stands by Lies About Benghazi
On August 21, 2010, Barack Obama self-righteously proclaimed, “The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.”
This same reasoning should apply to Obama and his cohorts who have taken extraordinary measures in concealing the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) annex in Benghazi, Libya, that came under attack on September 11, 2012, served as a hub for Libyan weapons seized after Muammar Qaddafi’s overthrow. These armaments were then shipped through Turkey to U.S.-funded rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The trafficking of guns and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles is a direct violation of international law, thereby making every person involved in this act culpable of war crimes. Moreover, it’s clear that those who stormed the CIA annex were fully aware of the weapons being stored there.
So, when news reached the Oval Office at approximately 5:00 pm on September 11, Obama had an option to dispatch special operations forces on an emergency rescue mission during this eight-hour siege where four Americans were killed.
But, if Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his colleagues had survived this onslaught and were compelled to testify before Congress, it’s highly probable that details about illegal weapons trafficking to Syria would have come to light. Following on the heels of the Obama administration’s illegal gun-running scheme to Mexican drug cartels via “Fast and Furious,” the blow-back would have proven disastrous, especially two months before the 2012 presidential election.
Therefore, rather than intervening and letting a host of witnesses gain firsthand knowledge of their illegal activities, a stand-down order preventing rapid-response teams from rescuing Stevens and company emanated directly from Obama. The basis for this statement can be derived from the chain-of-command analysis found in a May 7 article by investigative journalist Kerry Picket. “SOCAFRICA [U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa] commander Lieutenant Col. Gibson would have contacted a desk officer at the time [of the attacks], asking for permission [to send troops]. That desk officer would have called Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, then in command of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara. From there, Bristol would have made contact with Rear Admiral Brian Losey, then Commander of Special Operations Africa. Losey would have contacted four-star General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command] at the time. Ham answers directly to the President of the United States.”
Picket concluded, “only the President of the United States, or someone acting on his authority, could have prevented Special Forces either on the ground or nearby from helping those Americans who were under deadly assault.”
It’s now evident why Obama and his mouthpieces are so willing to tolerate the ongoing rhetoric about an anti-Muhammad video. If the actual truth about Benghazi weapons trafficking and his stand-down order ever emerged, Obama would not only face impeachment hearings, he’d also be answering questions before The Hague.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.