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Benghazi and IRS — the forgotten scandals still are scandals

Benghazi and IRS — the forgotten scandals still are scandals

While the public shifts its attention to more recent scandals, such as that of the flap regarding the NSA, the scandals of days gone by like the IRS and Benghazi still haven’t been resolved.

USA Today reports this afternoon that an IRS official says the agency has discovered that other ‘inappropriate’ screening of tax-exempt groups was being done through ‘be on the lookout’ lists.

“There were a series of these types of lists being used in this part of the IRS as part of their review of tax-exempt applications,” Werfel said in a conference call with reporters. “We believe there continued to be inappropriate or questionable criteria on these BOLO lists.”

He declined to say what criteria or terms were on the additional BOLO lists, although he suggested they cast a wide net.

“There was a wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum,” Werfel said.

He said it would be “be premature to get into specifics,” and said he had ordered a halt to “the use of any ‘be on the lookout’ lists” in the review of tax-exempt applications.

Judge Jeanine Pirro had an idea: Let’s Put The NSA On The IRS.

And turning to Benghazi, FOX News reported over the weekend that records show the trail of Benghazi security lapses leads to State Department senior leadership:

The decision to keep U.S. personnel in Benghazi with substandard security was made at the highest levels of the State Department by officials who have so far escaped blame over the Sept. 11 attack, according to a review of recent congressional testimony and internal State Department memos by Fox News.

Nine months before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy signed off on an internal memo that green-lighted the Benghazi operation.

The December 2011 memo from Jeffrey Feltman — then-Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) — pledged “to rapidly implement a series of corrective security measures.” However, no substantial improvements were made, according to congressional testimony to the House oversight committee from Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom.

Nordstrom said the Benghazi operation never met the rigid standards set out by the Overseas Security Policy Board, or OSPB, which according to the State Department website “is an interagency body created to assist the secretary” in carrying out security obligations under a 1986 law.

“We did not meet any of those standards with the exception of perhaps the height of the wall,” Nordstrom testified.

The article goes on to explain that recently released emails indicate that the State Department insisted that Benghazi not be referred to as a “consulate” in the long debated talking points.  Rather, policy adviser Jacob Sullivan advised that it be referred to as a “mission” or “diplomatic post.”

Former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton also pointed out that the action memo signed by Kennedy and Feltman was unlikely done so without the knowledge of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I find it very hard to believe that he (Kennedy) would sign this memo without having talked to Secretary Clinton or at least Deputy Secretary (William) Burns,” former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told Fox News after examining the December 2011 memo.

“Keeping this position open in Benghazi is a policy decision. It’s a policy decision that overrides normal security considerations. And I think that’s significant enough that a careerist like Undersecretary Kennedy would not do it on his own.”

Its’ difficult to keep track of all of the scandals dogging this administration these days.  Regardless of which we may be focused upon on any given day, the others that came before still remain – and won’t be forgotten.

 

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Comments

Henry Hawkins | June 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Bug, feature, scandal, event… it’s all the same to this administration.

Uncle Samuel | June 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

“Retire In Equador” ads are appearing on the Home and Tip Line pages at Legal Insurrection.

Coincidence?

Uncle Samuel | June 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Not scandals, CRIMES.

Are they scandals if they’re forgotten? Because they WILL be forgotten. It’s just one more predictable storyline of the governing Narrative of our time.

The will, wit and action-oriented fury it would take to shake the Narrative to its foundation is nowhere to found in this GOP. With Breitbart gone, it’s rarely even found anymore in the commentariat.

The AP has apparently received a document showing that “Progressive” and “Occupy” were also targeted (see the boston.com link below). At first look, this seems to defuse the tension, since it looks like the IRS was using inappropriate criteria irrespective of the politics of the groups involved.

However, consider the below findings by the Washington Post and ask yourself: If “Progressive” was used to trigger further scrutiny in the same way that “Tea Party” was, why was EVERY SINGLE application for a “Tea Party” group flagged when only a fraction of “Progressive” groups were flagged? (According to the IRS report linked to below, only TWO groups with “Progressive” in their names were flagged-then-approved as of May 9, compared with 35 “Tea Party” groups.)

Sources:

http://www.boston.com/business/personal-finance/taxes/2013/06/24/new-irs-chief-inappropriate-screening-was-broader/EouWCeb1D4IhdADJyJr5yO/story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/irs-targets-conservative-groups/

http://www.irs.gov/PUP/newsroom/Approved%20Tax%20Exempt%20Applications%20For%20Advocacy%20Organizations%20through%20May%209%202013.pdf

    William A. Jacobson in reply to m87. | June 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    A complete distraction — no evidence liberal groups experienced the type of targeting conservatives did even if certain other names were used to flag groups. There’s a big difference between merely being flagged with no discriminatory conduct and being targeted for delay based on political viewpoint.

      That’s my point. But you don’t even have to consider the substantial delays and intrusive questions put to conservative groups to see the disparate treatment. If it’s true (and I’m not convinced it is) that during this period, both “Progressive” and “Tea Party” were on the same list that should have triggered further scrutiny, why were only the conservative groups targeted for further scrutiny? To me, this makes the situation even more stark: the IRS recognized that the terms “Tea Party” and “Progressive” both equally indicated prohibited behavior (a view I reject, incidentally–I think neither, without more, indicates prohibited behavior), yet they only flagged the former.

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