Edward Snowden might be the country’s most famous leaker right now, but another leaker is not hiding in Hong Kong, but working in Washington.
Darrell Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and, as such, he cuts a dashing figure, accusing the White House of being behind the targeting of certain Tea Party groups by the IRS. Earlier this month on CNN’s State of the Union Issa called White House press secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar” who is still “making up things about what happened.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Issa had not been able to produce a shred of evidence to support his fraudulent claim. So now, in an effort to keep the story on the summer barbecue, Mr. Issa has taken to selectively leaking portions of interviews with key IRS staffers—but never the entire transcripts.
According to the Huffington Post, one reporter was given a sneak peek at interviews with two staffers at the IRS office in Cincinnati. “Though there were 300-plus pages of transcripts,” writes Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, they were shown “just 50 pages.”
Unsurprisingly, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Elijah Cummings, suggested that all of the transcripts should be released by the end of business of Monday. It isn’t just the issue of transparency that is troubling Mr. Cummings. He’s also concerned about Mr. Issa’s crumbling credibility. “By leaking transcript portions that omit key details from the accounts witnesses provided to the committee, Chairman Issa has now drawn condemnation even from House Republicans,” Cummings said.
Sadly, Mr. Issa has chosen not to do the honorable thing. But this is no surprise because he chose to do exactly the same thing when it came to the hearings on Benghazi. The co-chairs of the independent review of September’s deadly attack wrote to Mr. Issa volunteering to give open testimony: “The public deserves to hear your questions and our answers,” wrote Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen.
Darrell Issa declined, preferring instead to hold secret hearings that he can no doubt selectively leak at his own convenience.
Mr. Issa himself must know the dangers of selective information. After all, he was connected to two allegations of car theft, and he increased his company’s fire insurance from $100,000 to $400,000 just three weeks before his warehouse burned down in a suspicious fire. Does that mean that Mr. Issa has stolen cars and committed insurance fraud? No, but it does prove the power of selective information.