I think it might be time to re-familiarize ourselves with an old concept.
Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA during the Kennedy administration to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.
In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a “powerful player” or intelligence agency to avoid “blowback” by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major player.
In a Fox News report,
“White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told “Fox News Sunday” that President Obama learned about the Internal Revenue Service targeting Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status only after it had come out in the media but that the administration would make sure “it never happens again.”
Pfeiffer defended Obama’s statement that he didn’t know anything about the incidents or the investigation until he heard about them in the press.
“No president would get involved in an independent IRS investigation,” Pfeiffer said. “It would be wholly inappropriate.”
The president’s chief of staff knew in April that a damning report on the targeting of Tea Party groups was coming — but President Obama did not, the White House said.
“Some matters are not appropriate to convey to him, and this is one of them,” spokesman Jay Carney said.
“You do not intervene in an independent investigation,” Carney said. “There was nothing we could have or should have done about it.”
Right, Carney, you certainly wouldn’t want the president to intervene in an independent investigation. Or even know about it, for that matter. The idea that the president was unaware of a scandal of this magnitude, and learned about it like you and I, is preposterous.
I’m trying to picture it. The president, standing there in his presidential pjs at six in the morning, working over a nice soy latte, watching the news, “Hey Jay, this IRS thing they’re talking about, you know anything about this?”
Then, Nancy Pelosi wants to know why the issue should be politicized:
Responding to questions of whether President Obama should be responsible for the misconduct in the agency, Pelosi said, “the president doesn’t know about everything that is going on in every agency of government.” To underscore her point, she noted that the site of the misconduct — an IRS office in Cincinnati — is from House Speaker John Boehner’s home state. “I don’t think you can hold him accountable for that IRS office,” she said.
Well, sometimes the president is called “The Chief Executive.” Because he’s supposed to be in charge of stuff, like the government.
I’d like to say “Nice try, Nancy” but it’s not. She’s right though, how can you hold him accountable when his own staff asserts he didn’t even know about it.