From time to time, leftist media members have regaled us about how the Obama administration somehow remains totally or nearly scandal-free (two of many examples are here and here). Part of the reason they actually believe this is because real-time press dispatches covering scandalous circumstances are rarely described that way.
The journalistic gymnastics involved were on vivid display Friday evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press. In one of the more ridiculous such dispatches to date composed by the Obama-supportive media, AP reporter Alicia A. Caldwell lauded new Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson for taking actions to “to tamp down what could have been political scandals.” The problem with that assessment in two of the three instances Caldwell cited is that a “scandal” (“a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.”) had already occurred.
Even more absurd, Caldwell criticized previous DHS Janet Napolitano for having “allowed problems to fester until they become unavoidable entanglements.” That is, the woman Matt Drudge frequently called “Big Sis” had plenty of real scandals occur on her watch, but Campbell could not bring herself to characterize them using that dreaded S-word.
Here is the opening portion of Caldwell’s Friday evening comedic contraption, followed by an especially damning later paragraph (the story currently has a Saturday morning time stamp; bolds are mine throughout this post):
EX-DHS WATCHDOG PUT ON LEAVE AFTER CRITICAL REPORT
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson put his agency’s former internal watchdog on leave within hours of the publication of a Senate report that concluded the employee was too cozy with senior agency officials and delayed or classified some critical reports to accommodate President Barack Obama’s political appointees.
Charles K. Edwards had been allowed to quietly resign as acting inspector general and transfer to another post within the Homeland Security Department in December, just before Johnson took office. But after Johnson reviewed the 27-page report from a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs oversight subcommittee Thursday he put Edwards on leave.
Johnson’s quick response was at least his third move to tamp down what could have been political scandals, and stands in marked contrast to the leadership style of his predecessor, Janet Napolitano, who on several occasions allowed problems to fester until they become unavoidable entanglements.
“Since I took office in December, I have made clear that injecting a new energy in the leadership of DHS is a top priority,” Johnson said in a statement. “I have also made clear to our leadership that ethics in government, setting the example, and remaining above reproach are essential elements of good leadership.”
In February, less than two months into his tenure, Johnson abruptly scrapped plans for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ask a private company to give the government access to a nationwide database of license plate tracking information. The contract proposal had been posted on a government website for a few days before it was noticed and publicized in the media. An ICE spokeswoman said the contract solicitation had been posted “without the awareness of ICE leadership.”
Last month, Johnson met with senators to discuss the latest embarrassing episode involving drunken Secret Service agents sent home from a foreign trip with the president.
… Thursday’s suspension came within hours of a report that concluded that Edwards was not only politically influenced, but wasn’t qualified for his job. The report said that he also lacked the independence required of an inspector general.
The Edwards and Secret Service situations are textbook scandals, regardless of the actions Johnson has taken in their wake.
Michelle Malkin’s Friday syndicated column had more details concerning Edwards’s behavior:
Investigators found that Edwards compromised the independence of his office by socializing and sucking up to senior DHS officials. “There are many blessings to be thankful for this year,” the sycophantic Edwards wrote to the DHS acting counsel on Thanksgiving 2011, “but one of the best is having a friend like you.” Geez, get them a room.
Whistleblowers outlined how Edwards cozied up to multiple DHS execs and legal staffers, who directed him to alter reports on immigration enforcement, TSA screening and the Secret Service’s dalliances with prostitutes in Argentina. Edwards failed to obtain independent legal analysis of ethics issues. The IG counsel was cut out of the loop. Edwards ordered reports to be doctored or delayed. He failed to recuse himself from audits and inspections that had conflicts of interest related to his wife’s employment. (Caldwell’s AP report never noted that Edwards’s independence problems were largely spouse-related. — Ed.)
The probe among DHS employees also discovered that Edwards’ apparent retaliatory actions against staff dissenters “contributed to an office environment characterized by low morale, fear and general dissatisfaction with Mr. Edwards’ leadership.”
The Obama White House was quite happy, however. The administration installed this 20-year career bureaucrat as acting DOJ senior watchdog despite the fact that he had zero experience conducting audits, investigations and inspections — the three fundamental duties of an inspector general. They got exactly what they needed: A do-nothing, know-nothing, toothless lackey.
Edwards’ main non-accomplishment was carrying water for the Obama corruptocracy as he dithered on the internal investigation of Alejandro Mayorkas, who was confirmed late last year as the No. 2 official at Homeland Security. As I’ve previously reported, veteran internal whistleblowers told Capitol Hill about fraud, reckless rubber-stamping and lax enforcement under Mayorkas’ tenure as head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Put on your shocked faces: The DOJ’s IG probe into Mayorkas’ role on fast-tracking visas for wealthy Chinese investors on behalf of GreenTech — the crony company with ties to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton’s other brother, Anthony — has yet to be completed after more than a year.
Commenting on the Edwards situation, Jack Marshall, the proprietor of the Ethics Alarm blog, summarizes the Obama administration reality succinctly: “I have concluded that the entire Obama Administration is an Ethics Train Wreck.”
And it has had plenty of scandals, many of which are ongoing (e.g., IRS conservative targeting, Obamacare’s rollout), whether or not Alicia Caldwell, the AP, or the rest of the establishment press choose to categorize them as such.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.