by WorldTribune Staff, June 15, 2018
The Obama administration boasted of of being scandal-free but “sought to cover up serial wrongdoing by waging a veritable war against the watchdog inspectors general of various federal agencies,” a columnist wrote.
“Under former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the findings of dozens of IGs were snubbed,” columnist and Hoover Institution historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote on June 14.
In 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter alleging that Obama had stonewalled their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner,” Hanson noted, adding that “frustrated nonpartisan auditors cited systematic Obama administration refusals to turn over incriminating documents that were central to their investigations.”
Hanson wrote that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and at least a half-dozen other FBI employees “quit, retired, were fired or were reassigned as a result of fallout from the politicization of the FBI.
Yet, as Barack Obama left office, his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, strangely boasted that the Obama administration ‘has been historically free of scandal.’ Obama himself recently concluded of his eight-year tenure, ‘I didn’t have scandals.’ ”
The Obama administration, Hanson wrote, “had purportedly tried to sidetrack an IG investigation into possible misconduct by then-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. In addition, the Obama administration reportedly thwarted IG investigations of Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Office of Management and Budget.”
Hanson continued: “Despite the campaign against these independent federal auditors, a number of inspectors general still managed to issue damning indictments of unethical behavior.”
- In 2012, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz recommended that 14 Justice Department and ATF officials be disciplined for their conduct in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.
- A 2013 IG audit found that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny prior to the 2012 Obama re-election effort.
- In 2014, an internal audit revealed that CIA officials had hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers while compiling a report on enhanced interrogation techniques. CIA Director John Brennan had claimed that his agents were not improperly monitoring Senate staff computer files. He was forced to retract his denials and apologize for his prevarication.
- In 2016, the State Department’s inspector general found that Hillary Clinton had never sought approval for her reckless and illegal use of an unsecured private email server. The IG also found that staffers who were worried about national security being compromised by the unsecured server were silenced by other Clinton aides.
“Still, Obama was right in a way: A scandal does not become a scandal if no one acts on findings of improper behavior,” Hanson wrote.
“At some point, the idea of toothless inspectors general needs to be revisited. Something is terribly wrong when dozens of IGs found wrongdoing, only to object that their efforts were being thwarted by an Obama administration that had appointed most of them – and claimed to be scandal-free.
“Finding government abuse and doing nothing about it is worse than not finding any at all.”