I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation. I mean, it’s not like the White House is going to target reporters for investigation just because they report stories that embarrass them!
Doesn’t mean that she’s guilty of anything, of course. But it is bound to make voters wonder.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.
Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee Wednesday.
So: we already know Obama’s Chief of Staff knew about the targeting, but amazingly did not tell Obama (so we are told). The linked post has a link to another piece that shows Carney revealing White House involvement in orchestrating the reveal:
There was “discussion about the possibility of a speech” by Lois Lerner, who oversaw the IRS’s work on tax-exempt groups, Carney said, and conversation about testimony by the acting commissioner of the agency and “what he would say” if asked about the issue…
The press secretary said the Treasury Department worked with Mark Childress, a deputy White House chief of staff.
But Obama didn’t know. That’s their story and they’re sticking with it.
Sticking with it . . . or taking the Fifth when asked more probing questions.
UPDATE: I like DaTechGuy’s take:
— Peter Ingemi (@DaTechGuyblog) May 21, 2013
A correspondent sends a link to this piece quoting a critic of the immigration bill:
Additionally, Palinkas argues that the bill does not fix current administration policy that treats immigrants applying for entry into the United States as “customers” of the American government.
“A new USCIS computer system to screen applications known as ‘Transformation’ has proven to be a disaster as the agency has spent upwards of $2 billion for a system that would eventually allow an alien–now referred to as a ‘customer’ under current USCIS policy–to upload their own information via the internet for adjudication purposes,” Palinkas said. “To date, only one form can be accepted into the program that has been in the making for close to 10 years.”
My correspondent sardonically adds:
In related news, prisoners will be referred to as “overnight guests” and criminals will be “Obama voters.”
Language drives policy.
More whistleblowers will emerge shortly in the escalating Benghazi scandal, according to two former U.S. diplomats who spoke with PJ Media Monday afternoon.
. . . .
The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.
Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted “to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.”
Big Media is ready with its angle: When will these damned Republicans finally stop their partisan witch hunt?
The Washington Post reports that the Obama Justice Department targeted FOX News reporter James Rosen for investigation after Rosen attempted to obtain leaks from the Obama administration. Rosen’s case is different from that of the Associated Press in a notable and quite remarkable way: Rosen was treated as a suspect in the investigation:
In the documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described in detail how Kim and Rosen moved in and out of the State Department headquarters at 2201 C St. NW a few hours before the story was published on June 11, 2009. …
Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target.
From the available facts, James Rosen does not appear to have aided and abetted any violations of the laws against disclosing classified information, any more than the buyer of illegal narcotics aids and abets the sale of those narcotics by purchasing them. If there are laws against receiving classified information — something I don’t know about, as I am no expert in federal criminal law — Rosen may well have violated those laws . . . along with dozens to hundreds of other reporters and editors at media outlets across the nation. Let the overbearing prosecutions begin!
TMZ, as always, has the story first:
Hi, my name is Paris and I’m a two-time victim of … SWATTING.
TMZ has learned Paris Hilton re-joined the celeb swatting club when someone called 911 pretending to be her, and told cops she was trapped in her bedroom with a gun to her head.
Multiple police cars rushed to Paris’ L.A. mansion to search for intruders after the call came in last weekend — but all they found were Paris’ pooches chillin’ by themselves.
The LAPD adopted a strategy of not confirming these SWATtings. If that was a way to keep publicity from encouraging copycats — or (a cynic might say) an attempt to avoid looking ineffectual — it has failed, on both levels. TMZ gets the story every time, and LAPD looks like they can’t stop SWATtings from happening — again and again and again.
My suggestion for a Plan B? Catch the perpetrator.
(Then, when you do, consult California criminal law expert Ted Rall regarding what crimes to charge.)
By the way, there is an interesting detail on the Miley Cyrus SWATting from Friday night: the caller was reportedly a woman.
According to our sources, cops received a 911 call at around 8:55 PM last night from a female claiming to be calling from her closet and reporting shots fired in her home.
The roll call of the SWATted: Paris Hilton (again); Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Paris Hilton; Brian Krebs; Clint Eastwood; Chris Brown; the Jenners and Kardashians; Tom Cruise; Simon Cowell; Justin Bieber; Ashton Kutcher; Miley Cyrus; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.
I can think of a couple dozen people who need to be on high alert for something like this happening to them again.
UPDATE: I updated the roll call list to add Mike Rogers, whom I had been omitting. I also placed the celebrity SWATtings in reverse chronological order.
The Friday Night Celebrity SWATting has become so common as to be almost expected. Last night’s was different, though, in that it involved a repeat victim:
Miley Cyrus had already fallen victim to swatting but now the star has been unfortunate enough to have to go through the ordeal for a second time.
According to TMZ, the 20-year-old singer and actress was swatted once again on Friday night when police received a 911 call from a female claiming to be calling from her closet and reporting shots fired in her home.
Authorities arrived and quickly determined that the call was not real.
I’ll update with the roll call of the SWATted later.
UPDATE: The roll call of the SWATted: Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.
L.A. Times Repeats False and Discredited “Surge of Applications” Excuse for IRS’s Political Targeting
On Thursday, the L.A. Times published this attempt to exculpate the IRS by Matea Gold:
IRS was ill-equipped to handle the deluge of tax-exempt applications from ‘social welfare’ organizations and to police their political activities, experts say.
In spring 2010, agents in the Cincinnati office of the Internal Revenue Service, which handles applications for tax-exempt status, faced a surge of filings by new advocacy groups, with little guidance on how to treat them.
Their decision to deal with the problem by singling out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny has now triggered a criminal inquiry, congressional investigations, the departure of two top IRS officials and the naming of a new acting commissioner Thursday.
That was certainly the narrative being put out by Lois Lerner and other defenders of Obama when the scandal first hit. There’s just one tiny little problem with that narrative: it was factually untrue.
A number of people have sought to explain the IRS targeting of Tea Party, patriot, and 9/12 group applications — as well as those from other conservative groups — for “specialist team” treatment (mainly delays and excessive and inappropriate questions) in 2010 by pointing to the Citizens United decision that year allowing for unlimited, undisclosed fundraising by such groups. That’s the explanation IRS official Lois Lerner gave a week ago when she first revealed that the agency had improperly handled a slew of applications — the political shorthand was a mistaken attempt to deal with a surge in applications.
“[W]e saw a big increase in these kind of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work,” Lerner said.
But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out at Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG’s office.
There were, he noted, actually fewer applications for tax-exempt status by groups seeking to be recognized as social-welfare organizations that year than the previous one, according to this IRS data. The real surge in applications did not come until 2012 — the year the IRS stopped the practice of treating the Tea Party class of groups differently from others.
There were a couple of ways reporter Matea Gold could have known this. She could have analyzed the data herself to determine whether there had been a surge as she reported in her lede — or she could have read this analysis by the Chronicle of Philanthropy:
Applications for tax exemption from advocacy nonprofits had not yet spiked when the Internal Revenue Service began using what it admits was inappropriate scrutiny of conservative groups in 2010.
In fact, applications were declining, data show.
That was published on May 15, the day before Gold published her faulty L.A. Times article.
Obama defenders and the L.A. Times (sorry for the repetititions and also the redundancy!) are entitled to their own opinions — but not to their own facts. This one is worth a note to the Readers’ Representative.
Lois Lerner’s Seemingly Spontaneous and Honest Admission of IRS Wrongdoing Was Planned; Questioner Was a Plant
But Lois Lerner couldn’t have planned the admission because it was in response to a question!
The veteran tax lawyer whose pre-arranged question to an IRS official at a panel last week prompted the admission that the agency had targeted conservative groups said in a written statement on Friday that she did not know what the answer to the question would be.
Celia Roady, a partner in the Washington D.C. office of Morgan Lewis and a member of the the IRS’ Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities, said she got a call from Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations division, on May 9, the day before Lerner appeared on a panel at the American Bar Association tax section’s annual meeting.
If she had simply announced it, it would have looked like an announcement. So she planned it to look responsive to a question she didn’t know was coming, so the admission would look frank and forthright. But it was all a ruse.
Wow. Every day there is something that makes this all smell worse. Every day.
After I criticized the pointless cartoon by Ted Rall attacking anti-SWATting legislation, Rall showed up in comments to vaguely threaten a lawsuit against me — and to explain his cartoon as motivated by the fact that there are already several laws on the books that address the issue. One of the “crimes” he mentioned was something he called “reckless endangerment.”
Commenter #21 is correct. This cartoon is conservative libertarian in orientation. Why do we need a new law here? Anyone who pulls such a boneheaded stunt is guilty of several crimes, including filing a false report and harassment. If anyone gets hurt, it’s reckless endangerment. If there are property damages, you can sue.
I thought conservatives opposed showboating, redundant, unnecessary laws?
Amused, I challenged Rall to name a few, by specific reference to the California Penal Code. I was especially interested to hear the Penal Code section for “reckless endangerment.” (I won’t reveal the Penal Code section to which Rall refers, but here’s a hint: if you square that number, you get a negative number. Little joke for the math nerds.)
Anyway, Rall has been back to the comments, but he dodged my questions. Which is so shocking as to be exactly what I thought would happen.
P.S. Rall is a “rude, petty, self-absorbed writer/cartoonist.” Hi Ted!