The latest faux scandal of the day

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I find it difficult to engender any sympathy for the AP when it has for years been a GOPropoganda echo chamber. When you engage in propaganda, you have forfeited any claim to being a legitimate news organization. Propaganda is illegal, and is not protected speech.

The latest faux scandal of the day comes from the AP (All Propaganda) via the Washington Post, AP Exclusive: Some Obama top political appointees using secret US government email accounts:

Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees, including the
Health and Human Services secretary, are using secret government email
accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being
overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The
Associated Press.

* * *

The AP asked for the addresses following last year’s disclosures that
the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency had used
separate email accounts at work. The practice is separate from
officials who use personal, non-government email accounts for work,
which generally is discouraged — but often happens anyway — due to laws
requiring that most federal records be preserved.

The secret email accounts complicate an agency’s legal responsibilities
to find and turn over emails in response to congressional or internal
investigations, civil lawsuits or public records requests because
employees assigned to compile such responses would necessarily need to
know about the accounts to search them. Secret accounts also drive
perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or
decisions.

Ooooohh, scandal, right? Yeah, not so much. This report can best be summarized as "AP Exclusive: The Sun Rises in The East, Sets in The West." These email accounts are a common practice in the federal government. AP just now discovered this?

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday defended use of the email
accounts by senior U.S. officials as a traditional practice across
government and by previous administrations. Carney said the email
accounts aren’t secret, even though they aren’t disclosed to the public,
because their contents fall under congressional oversight and the
Freedom of Information Act.

Carney said that having alternative
emails makes “eminent sense” and compared senior government officials to
news columnists at major publications who provide email addresses for
their readers but have alternate email addresses so they are not
inundated with unwanted messages.

Think Progress reports, Bush Administration Appointees Also Used ‘Secret E-mail Addresses’:

The Associated Press reported
Tuesday that some Obama administration officials utilize non-publicly
listed e-mail addresses in addition to their publicly listed ones. But a
ThinkProgress Freedom of Information Act request revealed that this
common practice
was also utilized by the George W. Bush administration
and in no way shields those accounts from public records laws.

Some administration critics, including Sen. David Vitter
(R-LA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), have tried to make political hay
over former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of a secondary e-mail
address which bore the name “Richard Windsor.” Sen. Lamar Alexander
(R-TN) told Fox and Friends that the use of “secret” secondary
e-mails by administration officials could violate public records law, as
investigators might not be able to subpoena accounts they did not know
about.

The EPA released to ThinkProgress a list of E-mail addresses used by
the four people who served as Administrator for the Environmental
Protection Agency during the Bush administration. Each had a public
address (using the typical agency format of lastname.firstname@epa.gov)
and a private one:

  • Christine Todd Whitman: towhit@epa.gov, Whitman.Christine@epa.gov
  • Marianne Lamont Horinko: toduke@epa.gov, Horinko.Marianne@epa.gov
  • Michael Leavitt: mol@epa.gov, Leavitt.Michael@epa.gov
  • Stephen L. Johnson: tocarter@epa.gov, Johnson.StephenL@epa.gov

The AP story gives the impression that this is unprecedented, making
no mention of the use of the multiple addresses by previous
administrations.

U.S. Senators and Representatives also typically have non-published
e-mail addresses, though Congress exempted itself from Freedom of
Information laws. It seems obvious that political figures of both
parties would need an unlisted e-mail address that cannot be easily
guessed for communications with advisers and colleagues — just as
cabinet secretaries private cell phone numbers would not be publicly
available, though their main office number would be.

Despite Sen. Alexander’s concern, the release of this information shows that
both the public and private email addresses are public record and that
any legitimate FOIA request or subpoena for records would include those
sent to and from both addresses.

This is all about the AP assisting the GOP with its scandal narrative that Greg Sargent posted about yesterday, "The goal is to create an overarching atmosphere
of scandal, because this intensifies pressure on news orgs and
reporters to hype individual revelations within that framework with
little regard to the actual importance or significance of each new piece
of information." The AP is guilty of this today with this nothingburger, and the Washington Post is a complicit accessory.

Comments are closed.