Disingenuous Transparency Versus Ingenious Opacity

Posted: Jul 26, 2013 12:01 AM

Editor’s Note: Our loveable Townhall Finance Editor is out of the office. Ignoring the pleads of his family, John Ransom took them on vacation. Below is a “best of” article (so named for the sake of brevity) for your enjoyment. Until his return, we suggest you check out some of our other top-notch contributors; such as Daniel J Mitchell, Mike Shedlock, or – if you can stand it – maybe even try reading some of my articles.

Either way, John will be contributing original – and mildly entertaining – content in a matter of days.

-          Michael Schaus, Associate Editor, Townhall Finance

Yes, the most transparently opportunistic administration is becoming more transparent every day.

In the midst of negotiations for a free-trade agreement between Europe and the U.S., the NSA Papers, made transparent by Edward Snowden, reveal that America has been spying on allies as well as enemies.

Yeah I know. Obama has a hard time telling the difference between U.S. allies and U.S. enemies. Hence he’s arming our allies, er, enemies, Al Qaida, in Syria; he’s being flexible for Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, er, president; helping the Venezuelan government wing disguised as an oil company, our ally, er, enemy; and he’s snubbing those Jews, er, our ally, Israel, anytime he can.

The latest revelation from the NSA, the guys who are supposed to keep our secrets, has Euro types fuming.

From the Associated Press:

French President Francois Hollande demanded on Monday that the United States immediately stop its alleged eavesdropping on European Union diplomats and suggested that the widening surveillance scandal could derail negotiations for a free-trade deal potentially worth billions.

The Obama administration is facing a breakdown in confidence from key allies over secret programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in EU offices. Many European countries had so far been muted about revelations of the wide net cast by U.S. surveillance programs aimed at preventing terrorist attacks, but their reaction to the latest reports indicate Washington's allies are unlikely to let the matter drop without at least a strong show of outrage.

A breakdown in confidence would imply that someone had confidence in the Obama administration to begin with.

And France is really more like a frenemy than an ally. The issue won’t have much impact on “free-trade” negotiations, but it will likely make it harder for the U.S. to have an agreement that really encourages “free” trade.

“Free” trade with Europe? That hotbed of special interests, and quotas, and splinter parties, and subsidies and protectionism wrapped into a single currency that fell apart at the first gush of strong wind?

HA! Remember what happened to Cyprus under “free” trade?

If you believe in European “free” trade, you likely believe that: 1) Obama never raised taxes on the middle class; 2) Obama has the most transparent administration in the history of ever; and 3) Eric Holder just doesn’t have sufficient knowledge of the situation to answer the question, Senator, because he recused himself and was not involved- oh, and the papers that he misplaced? They prove it.

On cue, the White House has replied that they know nothing about the bugging of the EU, Latin America, SETI, or home pornography taken with the Hubble Telescope by off-duty auditors from the General Services Administration. They kicked the scandal back to the NSA, an agency so transparent that officially it doesn’t even exist.

“Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications,” reports CNN, “said he had not seen the report and ‘would not comment on unauthorized disclosures of intelligence programs. The intelligence community would be the most appropriate to do that.’"

Wow, how strategic Ben.

I guess that whole “Benghazi Talking Point” memo really got to the White House. Now in matters of utmost diplomacy they want the intelligence community to do the talking, which of course is the last thing the intel guys are trained to do.

The State Department’s supposed to do talk, not the spies. Or in cases of the utmost urgency, the White House is supposed to talk.

When the president of France comments huffily about spying, it’s polite at least for the White House to say something that doesn’t invoke the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, the only part of the Constitution that the administration seems interested in enforcing.

For Obama it will be just another reminder to the defense-intelligence community that they don’t have a friend, or an ally in the White House.

Heck, they don’t even have a frenemy there.

So expect the leaks to continue.

And the episode can serve as reminder to Europe that when you break bread with Barack Obama, you can expect to pick up the bill.

Our country, their country; it doesn’t matter. Someone else always pays for the Obamas. Europe pays with spying and America pays with a poorer “free” trade treaty.

Because there is no God but Barack Obama; and Chris Matthews is his Prophet