Senator John McCain, who lost to Obama in 2008 in part because he did not want to challenge Obama’s personal character or loyalty to the U.S., is now upset over what he calls “…a disturbing stream of articles” that cite “leaked classified or highly-sensitive information…” in an “effort to paint a portrait of President Obama as a strong leader on national security issues…”
McCain’s statements, like his 2008 presidential campaign, are careful not to personally accuse Obama himself of any wrongdoing. McCain’s statements refer repeatedly to the “Obama Administration” or just the “administration,” rather than the President himself. At best, he says that Obama is ultimately “responsible” for the leaks. Obama denies the White House leaked anything and finds the charge that anyone did so “offensive.”
The senator went on to say, “The fact that this Administration would aggressively pursue leaks perpetrated by a 22-year old Army private in the ‘WikiLeaks’ matter and former CIA employees in other leaks cases but apparently sanction leaks made by senior Administration officials for political purposes is simply unacceptable. It also calls for the need for a special counsel to investigate what happened here.”
Here, the senator makes two questionable assumptions: that the administration is determined to aggressively pursue the WikiLeaks matter, and that “senior Administration officials” are behind the recent leaks, not Obama himself.
In the first place, government prosecutors have ruled out the death penalty in the case of Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, the source of the classified WikiLeaks material. This is strange because the leaks constitute the largest release of classified information in history. The trial of Manning, regarded as a hero by the radical left, has been repeatedly delayed and now won’t occur until November. Then, after the election, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the government dropping some of the charges against him.
Second, Attorney General Eric Holder has not brought charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who allegedly received the stolen documents from Manning and was therefore part of a conspiracy to commit espionage. Like Manning, Assange is a hero to much of Obama’s political “progressive” base.
McCain’s decision to accuse administration officials, rather than Obama himself, of the leaks to The New York Times, is an assumption that enables the senator to avoid questioning Obama’s personal patriotism. McCain fought for his country in wartime but politically he wants to “play nice.”
Nobody doubts that McCain, who was tortured by the communists when he was a POW during the Vietnam War, believes in his country. But his decision to give Obama the benefit of the doubt makes no sense, especially because the Obama campaign has been caught lying about such relatively minor matters as Obama’s membership in the New Party, a vehicle designed for a Trojan Horse takeover of the Democratic Party in Chicago. Obama’s ally in this effort was Rep. Danny Davis, who recently accepted an award from the Communist Party USA. This followed the campaign’s claim that Obama’s childhood mentor, Communist Party operative Frank Marshall Davis, was just a civil rights activist. Obama called him just “Frank” in Dreams from My Father, leaving it to anti-communist investigators—not the FBI—to discover his true identity.
McCain requested a special counsel independent of the Justice Department to investigate the leaks. Holder outflanked McCain, appointing U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr. and U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein to conduct the inquiry and “follow all appropriate investigative leads within the Executive and Legislative branches of government.” Since not even McCain has suggested the President personally did the leaking, it cannot possibly be appropriate to investigate Obama himself. As a result, Obama is, once again, off the hook. Congress will hold hearings but they will go nowhere because the administration will claim an investigation is already underway.
McCain never learns—or doesn’t want to learn. When HBO’s “Game Change” came out, conservatives attacked the film for its distorted portrayal of McCain running mate and GOP 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That was legitimate criticism, and McCain defended his former running mate and attacked the film. But the film was accurate, as far as we can determine, in depicting McCain as a candidate who did not want to take the gloves off when attacking Obama. “This is not the campaign I wanted to run,” McCain says, when some of his supporters in a crowd scene label Obama a socialist or a Muslim and cry out that “He hangs out with people who hate our country!” It was Palin, not McCain, who took the fight to Obama over his “palling around with terrorists” such as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
Before the 2008 election, we wrote a column titled “Who Vetted Obama?” that asked two simple questions: When did the FBI investigate Obama? And who vetted him? The FBI did not investigate Obama, and the media did not “vet” him, something that angered the late Andrew Breitbart and made him want to pick up where the news media failed to tread.
We noted, “Obama has a 30-year history of associating with unsavory characters, beginning with communist Frank Marshall Davis and continuing with Jeremiah Wright and communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, which should disqualify him from getting a security clearance in the government that he wants to run.”
Four years later, we find McCain and many Republicans making the same mistake they made then—assuming that Obama is above the fray and should be shielded from any personal charges. Mitt Romney seems to be following in McCain’s footsteps, refusing to label Obama a socialist. On the other hand, the Obama campaign does not shy away from calling Romney a “capitalist,” as if that is a dirty word.
The media, who receive the leaks that make Obama look good, have a vested interest in not investigating their source. In the strange-but-true department, American national security suffers but Obama comes across looking like someone committed to the security of America and its allies. According to the latest Fox News poll, Obama beats Romney by 11 points on handling of foreign policy and 13 points on dealing with terrorism. The leaks have served their purpose.
The fact is that the FBI does not vet presidential candidates for national security purposes. There was no FBI investigation into Obama’s own background, associations, loyalty, and overall fitness for office. The FBI only probes those being considered for some federal positions under the president. It is not clear, however, if Van Jones was ever investigated. If so, he got the job anyway, and then-Fox News personality Glenn Beck and blogger Trevor Loudon discovered the truth, not the FBI.
Former FBI agent Max Noel told me that the Bureau used to investigate candidates for federal employment by analyzing Character, Associates, Reputation, and Loyalty to the United States. The first letters in those words make up the acronym CARL. By the standard of “A” alone—Associates—Obama flunks.
Obama was never investigated by the FBI, however. He captured the presidency and, with the help of the media, continues to outflank his Republican opponents, McCain then and Romney now.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].