The scandals that have been publicized during the past several months (the attack on Benghazi, the IRS targeting certain groups and the government listening to our phone calls) have many Americans wondering whether they can trust the government. One has to wonder if this is a new phenomenon. Are there scandalous activities taking place everyday that we don’t know about?
By now, everyone has heard about what happened in Benghazi, the IRS targeting the Tea Party and the government taping our phone calls/reading our emails. If you’re not sure what happened, here’s a quick rundown:
The Benghazi Scandal: Four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed in a raid on a diplomatic post in the city of Benghazi, in 2012. The State Department determined that the raid was a series of terrorist attacks. However, Republicans have made accusations that the administration failed to properly secure the compound, failed to send military help, waited too long to describe the raid as a terror attack, and extensively edited media appearances. They allege that President Obama didn’t tell the truth about what happened.
President Obama said that sending the military was impossible, because it would have left other American interests undefended.
Then there was the IRS Scandal. Employees of the Internal Revenue Service singled out Tea Party groups for special scrutiny, when reviewing applications for tax exemption. Applications for non-profit status, from certain conservative groups, sat in limbo for as long as 27 months while applications from similar liberal groups were approved in as few as nine months. This has put the Obama administration on the defensive—raising serious questions about what officials knew, and when they knew it.
Perhaps the scandal that hit home hardest is the Surveillance of US Citizens. Edward Snowden, the former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post, said in a video interview that he could wiretap anyone—from you or your accountant—to a federal judge to even the president.
In June, it came to light that the Obama administration has been spying on all Verizon phone customers, on a daily basis, for several years.
During that time, certain websites warned us that the NSA was secretly listening to our phone calls, reading our emails and taking note of our web surfing behavior. This was referred to as a conspiracy theory, yet it turns out it was the truth!
President Obama didn’t deny it. He called the secret NSA surveillance “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats.”
What’s really scary is that there are numerous conspiracy theories—if this one is true—how many others are true? What else is happening that we don’t know about? Are all of these scandals just part of everyday life in America? Do you feel safe and secure or do you feel violated and confused?
By Ben-Gurion Matsas, Image Magazine’s Publisher/Editor