So what would constitute a “major” scandal? Would it involve, say, dead bodies? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels; they used some of them to kill dozens of people, including American border patrol agent Brian Terry. When Congress tried to investigate why the ATF gave away so many guns and failed to track them, the Department of Justice engaged in unprecedented stonewalling. The department withheld 92 percent of the documents requested and forbade 48 relevant employees from speaking to congressional investigators. Attorney General Eric Holder was ultimately held in contempt of Congress, with 17 Democrats supporting the measure. An explanation for why the ATF gave thousands of guns to violent criminals has yet to emerge—but we are to understand that this is not a “major” scandal.
Four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, died in a premeditated terrorist attack in Benghazi two months before Obama’s reelection. The White House claimed, though it almost immediately had evidence to the contrary, that the raid was fallout from a spontaneous protest over an American anti-Muslim YouTube video. The maker of the video was promptly arrested on old, unrelated charges. The CBS news program 60 Minutes recorded Obama refusing to rule out the possibility Benghazi was a terrorist attack in an interview the day after it occurred but didn’t broadcast it. A transcript of Obama’s stunning concession was quietly released a few days before the election, but by then the waters had been sufficiently muddied so that it was difficult for Mitt Romney to press his case that Obama had lied. (The GOP candidate was famously interrupted by moderator Candy Crowley when he tried to make this point in one of the presidential debates.) It probably helped that Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who would later brag about dishonestly selling the Iran nuclear deal, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. There were four dead bodies at the heart of a political cover-up, but the media attacked the subsequent investigation as an overreach of an obsessive Republican Congress.
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