Sunday, October 04, 2015

My View: GOP Outrage Machine should look inward

(Note: The following was drafted and submitted before Kevin McCarthy confirmed that the Benghazi hearings were intended to weaken Hillary Clinton.)

by Tom Maertens
Mankato Free Press
Posted: Sunday, October 4, 2015 6:00 am

The Republican Outrage Machine is at it again, feigning high dudgeon over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

If principles were involved, they would have protested over Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Scott Walker using private email servers while in office, as did former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

They would also have investigated the 88 Bush administration officials who used a private email server at the Republican National Committee for official executive branch communications, according to TIME magazine — a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Karl Rove sent or received 140,000 emails outside of the government system, including emails reportedly ordering the attorney general to fire eight U.S. attorneys for failing to investigate Democrats as ordered.

AP reported that as many as 22 million emails were deleted from the RNC server, which the Bush Administration acknowledged in April 2007. Remember the outrage? No?

Instead, the outrage is over 50,000 personal emails Hillary Clinton said she deleted. Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing in early September, according to Buzzfeed and The Washington Times, that there was “no question” Clinton had the authority to erase messages she thought were personal.

Further, State Department spokesman John Kirby said of Clinton’s private server on CNN, “there was no policy prohibiting the use of a private email account here at the State Department, and that is still a fact.” Law enforcement officials told The New York Times last month that there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton broke the law.

As Fox’s Geraldo Rivera said, “(Clinton’s emails) will be a fake scandal” just “like the fake stand down order in Benghazi.” He could have added that they are part of a pattern, along with the fake Whitewater scandal(s), concocted to discredit the Clintons.

Seven congressional committees and a State Department review board have investigated the 2012 Benghazi attack in which four Americans died, an event Dick Cheney has asserted was the worst disaster in his lifetime. He’s got a selective memory: The attacks of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq happened on his watch. Moreover, Politifact found a total of 39 attacks or attempted attacks on U.S. embassies under George W. Bush, resulting in 87 deaths. There were no investigations.

Both the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the State Department review concluded that there was no “stand down” order for Benghazi rescue forces, according to the Washington Post.

Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has nonetheless announced that the ninth Benghazi investigation will continue into 2016, despite having gone three months with no hearings, and — according to The Observer — without making any document requests for six months, twelve months in the case of the Pentagon.

Lavrenti Beria, Stalin’s notorious secret police chief, once said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” That’s the approach used against the Clintons, starting with Whitewater and extending to Benghazi and the private email server.

Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater special prosecutor was not investigating a crime but the Clintons personally. The hunt employed 78 FBI agents and 57 other outside investigators and assistant prosecutors, according to the Washington Post.

What started as the investigation into a dirt-road real estate development in Arkansas ended up consuming six years and $70 million, according to Salon, as Starr pursued the Clintons from one fabricated scandal to another, “travelgate,” “troopergate,” and “filegate,” among them.

Gene Lyons and Joe Conason (The Hunting of the President) documented 17 Republican-instigated investigations of the Clintons by the Congress and Starr.

Samuel Dash, a Watergate prosecutor and then Starr’s counselor in the Office of the Independent Counsel, was quoted by Sidney Blumenthal in “The Clinton Wars,” as saying Starr could have completed his investigation of all the “pseudo-scandals” in two years, because “they had nothing. Zero plus zero plus zero equals zero.”

As Dash predicted, Starr couldn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons in the Whitewater land deal so he investigated Bill Clinton’s sex life instead: that was the sole subject of the “Starr Report,” which recommended impeaching Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Recently Gowdy has taken to fulminating in the media about Clinton’s private emails; this is a sure sign Benghazi is a dry hole.

Yet the Outrage Machine cites the fabricated charges and fake scandals as evidence of Hillary Clinton’s failures. The real outrage here is the extent to which Republicans are willing to misuse government oversight machinery to destroy opponents.

Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11.

(Original here.)

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