Friday, May 24, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #109 - Part 7

Updates: phony IRS "scandal," real snooping on the media scandal

Last week I talked about the phantom "scandal" of the IRS supposedly "targeting" teabagger groups and the real scandal of the White House going after the phone calls of potentially scores of AP reporters. There are updates on both parts.

On the IRS front, contrary to previous reporting and contrary to what I said last week that no group lost its tax-exempt status during this time of closer examination of applications for tax-exempt status, it turns our that there was one group that had its tax-exempt status revoked. It was a liberal group called Emerge America, which works with nine state affiliates that train Democratic women candidates. I doubt that's going to get the right wing outrage machine going.

Meanwhile, on the real scandal front, it's another case of "wait, it can always get worse." The Washington Post has published a story about the Justice Department's monitoring of a Fox News reporter named James Rosen. It was because of yet another whistleblower case, this one that of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, who was charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act for supposedly leaking some information about North Korea's nuclear program to Rosen.

The DOJ tracked Rosen's comings and goings from the State Department. Agents traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser. They got a search warrant to obtain and read the reporter’s personal emails, which the Department justified by labeling Rosen a "co-conspirator" with Kim because he made an arrangement with Kim about how to get him information. The department also obtained the phone records for at least five different numbers used by Fox News.

It's all part of President Hopey-Changey's obsession with government secrecy. This is getting scary. The only upside is that previous presidents have found themselves in trouble when they went after the press. Hopefully the same will be true here.

Oh, by the way: The Amazing Mr. O has frequently praised the idea of whistleblowing. He even signed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. But when the Huffington Post asked several non-profit groups and the White House to name a single whistleblower, a single actual person, Obama had praised, they got zilch.


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