This week delivered more attempts by the White House and Eric Holder at damage control over revelations of search warrants involving the AP and a Fox News reporter. Though outrage over the administration's overly aggressive approach to leaks is certainly justified (indeed, HuffPost has called for Holder to step down), the indignation coming from Republicans is DC hypocrisy at its worst. If they're truly disturbed by eavesdropping on the press, where was their outrage when George Bush wanted the power to eavesdrop on everybody using the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program? If they're so outraged about the politicization of the Justice Department, where were they when the Bush White House was involved in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys? Or when Karl Rove's deputy was giving a PowerPoint presentation to Government Services Administration employees on ways to help GOP candidates? As Milan Kundera wrote, "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."
This week saw the kickoff of Second Term Scandal Season, though the first entrants fall on very different parts of the manufactured scandal vs. real scandal continuum. On the deeply-contrived end is Benghazi -- with supposedly damning White House emails having been altered by GOP leakers. On the actually scandalous end is the administration's snooping through the AP's phone records, which the New York Times called "an effort to frighten off whistle-blowers." The incident points out the hypocrisy of a White House that praises whistleblowers in the abstract, but then goes after them -- aggressively and often. "Speaking truth to power is now a criminal act," says whistleblower and former NSA executive Thomas Drake, who the DOJ charged under the WW I-era Espionage Act. It's President Obama's war against whistleblowers that is the true scandal.