It’s obvious that some of Barack Obama’s political opponents want to make him look like Richard Nixon. Exaggeration and distortions are just part of the process to prove that what is going on in the White House in 2013 is like 1972. The most recent perpetuator of this is California Rep. Devin Nunes.
Nunes was on the Hugh Hewitt radio show when he told a shocked Hewitt that the Department of Justice was wiretapping the House of Representatives’ Cloakroom. Members of Congress go there to socialize, eat and rest. Entrance is limited to members of Congress and a few select others. A wiretapping of this place would be a major political scandal.
Nunes, agreeing with Hewitt that the Department of Justice is not to be trusted, made this charge in clear terms.
“No, I absolutely do not [trust the Dept. of Justice], especially after this wiretapping incident, essentially, of the House of Representative. I don’t think people are focusing on the right thing when they talk about going after the AP reporters. The big problem that I see is that they actually tapped right where I’m sitting right now, the Cloak Room,” Nunes said.
Nunes then went onto describe that the Justice Department’s grab of AP phone records would include contacts between AP reporters and Congress. He doesn’t say anything more about phones being tapped, but he doesn’t do anything to backtrack from his previous assertion that is what happened.
Afterwards, Jack Langer, Rep. Nunes’s communications director, responded with a clarification. Langer makes the ridiculous explanation that Nunes meant phone records were seized when he said “wiretapping.”
“I wanted to make a clarification for your article. What Rep. Nunes meant by “tapped” was that the DOJ seized the phone records, as has been widely reported. There was a little confusion between him and the host during the conversation: He did not mean to refer to phone records of the cloakroom itself, but of the Capitol,” wrote Langer.
There is no way that wiretapping is the same as a court order seizing phone records. Wiretapping is listening in on a conversation. The seizure of phone records merely covers who was talking to whom. True, the Justice Department doesn’t need to know which members of Congress that the media is talking to you, but that isn’t wiretapping.
There’s no defense for the overreaching of the Justice Department for the AP phone records, but as serious as that is, it pales in comparison to wiretapping — if that had really happened.
Either Nunes doesn’t know the difference between wiretapping and seizure or cloakroom and Capitol, or he is deliberately trying to make things sound worse than they are. Neither of those choices are what we expect in a Congressman. Nunes is either ignorant, reckless or a liar. It is inconceivable that he made a slip of the tongue repeatedly, while explaining specific inaccurate details. It appears Nunes tried to make things sound worse than they were and went overboard.
There maybe some Nixonesque things going on in Washington, but they are not coming from just the White House.