Friday, June 7, 2013

Secret e-mail accounts belie transparency

Richard Windsor over at the Environmental Protection Agency received the agency’s recognition as a “scholar of ethical behavior.”  How ironic to learn that Richard Windsor never existed.  He was the e-mail alias for Lisa Jackson, the former EPA administrator.  A recognition for scholar of ethical behavior?  How ethical is that?

Mr. Windsor seems to be the norm within the Obama administration.  Some of the president’s political appointees, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have been using alias e-mail addresses.  The Associated Press asked for a list of political appointees’ e-mail addresses under the Freedom of Information Act.  The Labor Department wanted to charge them $1 million.  Apparently with this administration freedom of information is not free.

And this was supposed to be the most transparent administration in history?

It’s obvious from the recent scandals exactly what’s going on.  If you can use your alias for your more, how should we say, ‘clandestine’ activities you can shield those activities from the press, even if you turn over all your e-mails under your real name.

The fact that the Labor Department wanted so much money for a simple list arouses suspicion that all is not above board in this administration.

Now with the revelation from Congressman Issa’s committee that there were no “rogue agents” who went after the tea party groups it’s clear to see how alias e-mail accounts could come in handy.  The “rogue agents” argument in the IRS scandal is starting to look like the “anti-Muslim video” argument in the Benghazi scandal.  The question is with all this obvious obfuscation will we ever really know what happened?

The AP has been trying to get a list of e-mail addresses from ten agencies including the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS.  Treasury has been dragging its feet for about three months.  The Treasury spokesman, by the way, is named Marissa Hopkins Secreto.  Perfect.  Sounds like the name for a Bond girl.

Several agencies have turned over some e-mail addresses but the lists are suspiciously incomplete.  The foot-dragging only compounds the suspicion in light of the IRS scandal where agents are now telling investigators that orders to single out conservative groups came from Washington.  How far up in Washington remains to be seen but we already know that the “two rogue agents” story was another fabrication.  Congressman Issa went so far as to refer to White House spokesman Jay Carney as “a paid liar.”

Having a second e-mail account is nothing unusual, especially for people in the public spotlight.  What’s bizarre is apparently EPA Administrator Jackson corresponded under the Richard Windsor pseudonym as Windsor, in some cases, never revealing her true identity to the people with whom she was corresponding.  What could possibly be the reason for that?

I’m sure the president will deny any knowledge of this, too, much as he has remained detached from the rest of the scandals swirling around him.  But, for how long can his plausible deniability remain plausible?  His senior advisors knew about the IRS investigation but didn’t tell him.  People all in his administration were unleashing the IRS on innocent people just because they didn’t like their politics and he had no idea.  Cabinet officials are apparently conducting official business behind some alias and he had no idea.  And don’t get me started on Benghazi.

If the president had no idea about any of this, in the very best light, it appears he was asleep at the switch.  As is typical with the Democrats, just saying you take responsibility seems to pass for punishment.  That is no longer acceptable nor is it sufficient.

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