It is hard to know what crime she thinks she committed, since neither the administration nor the Justice Department has indicated any laws were broken. Indeed, President Obama said in a recent interview “there was not even a smidgen of corruption.” He said the scandal simply revolves around “a 501(c)4 law people think is confusing” and that “folks did not know how to implement.”
The Fifth cannot be legitimately used simply to avoid testifying to Congress about one’s actions in a position of public trust, particularly when essential First Amendment protections are at stake.
We hope Lerner will reconsider or — if she has indeed committed a crime — that those entrusted with enforcing the law will prosecute. For 10 months, she has refused to testify.
Both parties should cooperate to get to the bottom of the IRS matter. This should not be reduced to the standard Washington partisan squabble, because Americans have a stake in making sure that powerful agency is not politicized.
— The Providence (R.I.) Journal
There’s a fascinating — and historic — dynamic playing out right now in Washington, where U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has accused the CIA of snooping on Senate staffers who were investigating the spy agency’s interrogation techniques during the Bush era.
What’s stunning is not just that Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the allegations public during a remarkable speech on the floor of the Senate. What’s even more alarming is that Feinstein has long been an ardent supporter of the nation’s intelligence community.
At root, Feinstein alleges that the CIA provided documents about interrogation techniques to Senate investigators on a secure computer and then secretly removed some of the documents it had turned over from the computers being used by Senate staffers.
According to an Associated Press timeline of the matter, “the committee complains to the CIA, which first denies that anything was taken from the system and later contends that removal of the documents was ordered by the White House. Officials at the White House deny such order. Feinstein complains to the White House and gets an apology from the CIA and assurances that it won’t happen again.”
We think Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is right. “Heads should roll, people should go to jail, if it’s true,” said Graham, who called it “Nixon stuff.”
And scary stuff, at least for anyone who cares about principles like democracy and privacy and separation of powers.
— The Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph