When asked by a radio host if he trusted the Department of Justice to investigate the IRS, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, answered the following:
“No, I absolutely do not, 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 Cloakroom.”
This has made waves among conservatives, but it looks likely that the Congressman misspoke. As The Atlantic points out, in explaining himself, Nunes “walked back” the claim a bit. After they published their article, Nunes’ office confirmed their deduction:
“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. This refers to the phone records for the AP from the House press gallery, which the DOJ admitted to looking at. He was explaining that if those phone records were seized, they would reveal a lot of conversations between the press and members of Congress, since reporters often speak to Members from the press gallery phones. The notion of the DOJ looking at phone records from the Capitol of conversations between Members of Congress and reporters is something that concerns Rep. Nunes, bringing up issues related to the separation of powers.”
It gives me no pleasure to agree with the Atlantic, who imply something gauche about conservatives running with the first version of the story. But the liberal press, with their record on a host of stories, finding a way to critique the journalists on the Right, is pretty much exactly the kind of behavior Jesus condemned when he told people to get the log out of their own eye before finding the speck in another’s.
In the meantime, this story is helpful. It can function as a drill. Because when it happens, it will probably happen this way.
What do I mean by “it”? I mean that the wiretapping, surveillance, homeland security network that is growing and is predominately under the control of the executive branch can and will eventually be used to intimidate, coerce, and punish people in congress who don’t support the agenda of the chief executive. That’s how you drive down this road to serfdom.
Right now, despite the left-wing press and the various political, corporate, and social powers that establishment liberals have accrued to themselves, they cannot openly start using executive police power to control the legislative branch. There may be cases where it has happened in secret ways that we don’t know about (and it may have happened under a Republican administration). But it isn’t likely that a sweeping program has been implemented to ensure the compliance of Congressman and Senators.
But when you felt your stomach turn at the idea of the Justice Department or FBI bugging the cloak room, you were getting to empathize with the future. There is no way to pretend that people in government are too moral to restrain themselves if they get an opportunity to do so. After all, how much different is it to threaten Congressmen with martial law to force them to pass a bill?
There were reasons our founding generation was fearful of centralized power. We’re going to be learning those reasons soon.