In an entirely unsurprising development, rabidly partisan congressman, and recidivist criminal, Darrell Issa, has popped up again on Fox News to peddle his dishonest allegations concerning the trumped up IRS controversy.
The latest wrinkle in Issa’s permanently furrowed brow is an email exchange that he selectively leaked that he alleges is the long-lost smoking gun that proves – well, whatever it is that has his panties in a twist that day. The emails are a discussion between the former IRS Tax-Exempt Organizations division director, Lois Lerner, and Maria Hooke from the IT department, wherein Lerner seeks information regarding document storage. Here are excerpts from the emails:
Lerner: I had a question today about OCS [instant messages]. I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails–so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.
Hooke: OCS messages are not set to automatically save as the standard; however the functionality exits within the software. [...] My general recommendation is to treat the conversation as if it could/is being saved somewhere, as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of an electronic search. Make sense?
From this rather innocuous exchange, Issa managed to extract something nefarious. His interpretation points to a deliberate attempt to conceal information from congressional investigators. Here is his analysis as adoringly received by Brian Kilmeade on Fox News:
Kilmeade: What do you get from this correspondence?
Issa: What we get is, perhaps what CNN was asking me for a couple weeks ago – a smoking gun. This is Lois Lerner clearly cautioning people not to say things on email. [...] Why? She didn’t want an audit trail for what they were doing, and they were targeting conservatives for their views. No question at all.
Kilmeade: As so many others are choosing not to follow you, we will.
If Issa gets a smoking gun from this, you have to ask what he’s smoking. First of all, Lerner is merely articulating a common business instruction to keep all communications professional. Cautioning her staff about what they say in emails that might later be made public is prudent advice. Not because they are engaging in a cover up, but because people often lapse into inappropriately casual conversations in routine work life. They certainly would not want to have accounts of last night’s party, or off-color jokes, turning up in official investigations.
Issa’s laughably absurd assertion that Lerner is ordering a cover up of emails requires one to accept that she would do such a thing in an email. That would be like calling a criminal accomplice on the phone to tell him not to talk about the crime they just committed because the phone might be tapped. And Issa went further to answer his own question as to why Lerner would issue her cautionary advice. He said it was because she “didn’t want an audit trail for what they were doing.” Of course, the only evidence he has of that is his supernatural ability to read minds.
Perhaps the most blatant distortion Issa whips up refers to Lerner’s response to the IT rep’s explanation of instant message storage. Lerner said simply “Perfect.” Issa contorted that into her being “delighted” that instant messaging wasn’t being tracked. However, that isn’t what the IT rep said. In fact, she said quite the opposite, advising that the messages be treated as if they were saved because either party could do so.
But the worst mangling of this portion of the exchange is that Lerner’s response came immediately following the IT rep signing off her last email by asking “Make sense?” That is what Lerner was responding to when she said “Perfect,” as in “it makes perfect sense.” She was simply acknowledging that she understood the explanation.
This is typical of Issa’s unethical practice of cherry-picking documents from his committee’s hearings that he can spin negatively. It is something that he gets away with because far too many so-called journalists allow themselves to be manipulated by his intentionally deceptive leaks. And, of course, Fox News is all to happy to cooperate with the charade. Already Bill O’Reilly has featured a segment on this subject wherein he referred to these new emails as “hard evidence” of a cover up. Someone needs to give these cretins a remedial course on the meaning of “evidence.”