The Chicago Way.
Let me tell you what this was, and where it came from, based on a conversation I had with a long-time, well-informed veteran of American government intelligence operations the other day."Do you think," he asked me, "that this happened accidentally in a vacuum?" Meaning that one day "Gunwalker Bill" Newell, Phoenix SAC, just got a wild hair and decided to invent his own foreign policy. "Things like this happen because of meetings. People sit in meetings and they decide what they want to happen. And then they take decisions, make policy and implement that policy to achieve those ends.". . ."So," I said, "you're saying that this was a deliberate attempt by policymakers at the highest levels of the Obama administration to subvert the Second Amendment and further diminish the free exercise of firearm rights of honest citizens?""You got it. Sucks, huh?" He laughed bitterly.I thought of Zed in "Men in Black."He added, "Of course the meeting transcripts won't reflect the truth so plainly, but then neither did the Wannsee Conference. These bastards always talk in riddles about what they're really after. Watch what they do, not what they say." -- "The Gunwalker Scandal: Why? Where did it start? How high does it go? Darrell Issa should ask Rahm Emanuel." -- Sipsey Street, 18 March 2011.
Just as Lisa Myers of NBC was reporting "IRS higher-ups requested info on conservative groups, letters show," Bob Beckel screwed up and let something slip on the FOX News show, The Five yesterday. Unfortunately for my deadline, the transcript for the show on the 28th is not yet posted so I'll have to paraphrase. Basically he stated that the IRS scandal was the responsibility of White House personnel "no longer working there."
That statement, as murky as it is, tracks with what I have been told by DC insiders: Like the Gunwalker conspiracy which led to Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal had its origins in the office of that consummate practitioner of "the Chicago way," Rahm Emanuel.
This has already been the subject of some media speculation. The Washington Times carried this column from Bill Kelly: "IRS, AP scandals smell like Rahm."
Let's look at the timeline for the IRS scandal, as incomplete as it is now:
March 2010 - The IRS field office in Cincinnati, known as the Determinations Unit, begins picking out applications for tax-exempt status for closer scrutiny, using conservative-sounding key words in groups' names as a filter. One of the unit's main jobs is to determine whether applicants obey the political activity limits and deserve tax-exempt status. The unit targets groups with names such as "We the People" and "Take Back the Country."
April 2010 - Determinations Unit managers and staff begin assessing the results of the targeting effort, compiling a "Sensitive Case Report" and summary chart. The chart is shared with the director of the exempt organizations unit.
July 2010 - The Determinations Unit tells staffers to be on the lookout for applications including the name of the Tea Party movement, a loose affiliation of groups which oppose President Barack Obama and agitate for lower taxes and smaller government.
October 2010 - Newly assigned IRS specialist in charge of reviewing applications stops work on cases while awaiting guidance from another unit. The TIGTA inspector general's report points to "a miscommunication about not working the cases while waiting for guidance."
November 2010 - In mid-term U.S. elections, Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, partly on a wave of support from Tea Party activists.
By that time, with the pre-election polls showing an almost certain Tea Party-fueled sweep, on September 30, 2010, it was announced that Emanuel would leave his post as White House Chief of Staff to run for Mayor of Chicago. He was replaced by Pete Rouse on October 2, 2010.
The Washington Examiner has already reported that "Lawmakers zero in on IRS meetings at White House."
Top IRS officials, whose agency was under investigation for targeting conservative groups, visited the Obama White House more than 100 times over two years while the probe was going on, far more often than in previous administrations and frequently enough that Republicans suspect White House officials knew about the targeting.Lawmakers now investigating the Internal Revenue Service practice zeroed in on those nearly weekly White House meetings to determine whether an IRS official — or someone higher up in the administration — had approved the targeting and whether it was politically motivated.The frequent meetings also raised questions about the White House's claims that it couldn't have instigated the targeting of conservative groups because it took a hands-off approach to the tax agency, going so far as to describe it as independent of the administration even though it's part of the Treasury Department. . .Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House 118 times between 2010 and 2011. Acting Director Steven Miller, who took over at the IRS in November, also made numerous visits to the White House, though variations in the spelling of his name in White House visitor logs makes it difficult to determine exactly how many times.
It will be interesting to see how many of those meetings were with Rahm Emanuel before he left his Chief of Staff job to become King of Chicago. However many it was, according to my sources the idea began with the man who famously said "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
After I'd heard several rumblings of Emanuel's probable involvement in the IRS scandal from other DC sources, I contacted my "long-time, well-informed veteran of American government intelligence operations" who had first mentioned Emanuel's name during the weeks after the murder of Brian Terry had been tied to Fast and Furious.
"I was wondering when you'd contact me," he replied with what I knew was a smile on the other end.
"You want to know about Emanuel, right?"
Yes, I acknowledged, I did.
"C'mon," he chided me, "think it through. The timelines for both scandals coincide, with the 'enemies' list' the tax boys were put to working on beginning after Fast and Furious, but that's just because they always wanted gun control well before they took over. . . remember they had complete control of both House and Senate as well and they didn't think they'd really need to start working an 'enemies' list' until it looked like they were going to have trouble in the mid-terms. . . The IRS was a natural for them. Hell, Johnson had pioneered the practice. . . "(But)Nixon was a piker compared to this Chicago gang."
He added, as if disappointed that I hadn't seen the obvious right away, "You're supposed to be a bright boy, why would you think that a gang that wouldn't blink at the smuggling of weapons that were sure to kill a bunch of Mexican police and civilians and probably end up killing Americans would blink at using the tax boys as political bully boys to protect their majorities in the Congress?"
"So," I asked, "you're saying specifically that this scandal began with Rahm Emanuel just like Fast and Furious?"
"'Specifically?' You bet your ass. Of course he had plenty of help. . . and plenty of direction."
He added, "What did they fear most back in 2010? DISCOVERY. Discovery of Fast & Furious and all the other dirty little secrets that every administration generates. The loss of their majorities would open them up to congressional scrutiny. If you're a cockroach, wouldn't you do what you had to to keep the lights off? . . . Especially if you're from Chicago, it's a no-brainer. That's where the 'enemies' list' and the IRS scandal came from. . . and the attacks on FOX News and the AP . . . Cockroaches don't like electricians either."
"Rahm sent us."