Winston Churchill famously observed, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” But while imposing its socialist ideals on American society, the Obama White House has established an Empire of Lies that may be unraveling just short of its artfully planned transition to Hillary Clinton. With deliberate support from the media establishment, that history of deception now extends through the last three electoral cycles.
First there was the 2008 presidential campaign, which was punctuated by an “expose” in which The New York Times charged that the Rumsfeld Pentagon had managed media coverage of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In a Pulitzer Prize winning article, the newspaper charged that the military analysts regularly appearing on television news programs had effectively been co-opted by closed-door briefings and VIP trips to the war zones. (Full disclosure: I was one of the military analysts named in the story.)
On cue, a cabal of 40 Democratic congressmen, including Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, loudly denounced media manipulation and demanded federal investigations. The Federal Communications Commission, the General Accounting Office and the Pentagon inspector general eventually spent more than 2 million taxpayer dollars over three years and four investigations, all of which conclusively refuted The New York Times story. The Pulitzer Prize was never revoked nor were our tarred reputations ever restored. But a message had been delivered by the newly installed Obama administration. While mainstream media munchkins were often undocumented Democrats, this White House expected their ideological support and would also play hardball whenever necessary.
Next, in his 2012 book, “Confront and Conceal,” New York Times reporter David Sanger sustained the media’s instinctive support for the Obama White House, now facing a difficult re-election battle. The campaign was already glorifying a president who had “saved GM and killed Osama.” But Mr. Sanger portrayed an Oval Office James Bond, fearlessly deploying the advanced technologies of missile-firing drone aircraft and devilishly cunning Stuxnet viruses. Dismayed and confused, our once fearsome enemies were now on the run.
Sadly, the Sanger story was as dubious as the earlier New York Times expose, disproven both by Benghazi and the explosive rise of the Islamic State. Among President Obama’s dissembling before the United Nations, Mrs. Clinton‘s inconsistencies and the serial deceptions of presidential prevaricator Susan Rice, there was enough material for multiple Watergates.
But by now the media establishment had been transformed from vigilant watchdog into fawning lapdog. When CNN analyst (and Democratic National Committee interim chairman) Donna Brazile recently leaked debate questions to the Clinton campaign, she was merely repeating some infamous history. In 2012, her CNN colleague Candy Crowley rode to Mr. Obama’s rescue while supposedly “moderating” his presidential debate with Mitt Romney. As CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson wrote in her 2014 book, “Stonewalled,” top White House aide Ben Rhodes and his brother David, president of CBS News, often coordinated their actions. While investigating Benghazi, Ms. Attkisson was also targeted by computer hacking and other dirty tricks as the Obama administration aggressively policed its media monopoly.
Finally, having survived Whitewater, Travelgate, her husband’s impeachment and being labeled as “a congenital liar” by essayist William Safire, Hillary Clinton was ideally suited for her 2016 role as crown princess of the Empire of Lies. Even her burgeoning email scandal created few difficulties for an administration that had now developed the manipulation of federal agencies into an art form. With Loretta E. Lynch and Mr. Obama as immediate superiors, it was hardly surprising that FBI Director James Comey gave Mrs. Clinton a pass as “extremely careless” rather than indicting her under the Espionage Act. He probably reasoned that his real job was protecting his agency while voters ultimately determined her guilt or innocence.
Matters stood there until last week, no one even imagining that WikiLeaks and the eponymously named Anthony Weiner would provide fresh and damning insights into the empire’s venal underbelly. As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon reported last week, “The overlap between Hillary Clinton‘s State Department, her family’s foundation, and a consulting firm run by members of her inner circle has reaped a windfall for all involved, steering tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton family .”
Mr. Comey suddenly reopened his investigation because he remembers the Teapot Dome scandal as well as the more recent example of the Nixon tapes. He also understands the constitutional significance of the term, “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Consequently, we stand today at a legal and practical precipice, a logical position after eight years in which our core media and government institutions have been systematically subverted.
Bottom Line: There is no way to predict the outcome of what may be the greatest American political crisis since Watergate, possibly even the Civil War.
A version of this piece also appeared on Washington Times