Posted by: mutantpoodle | October 12, 2007

The “Trust Me” Presidency

CharlieBrownLucyFootballTwo of the most accurate jokes about Hollywood, based on my experience, are these:

Q: What’s the quickest way to make a million dollars in Hollywood?

A: Start with ten [million].

Q: How do you say “Fuck You” in Hollywood?

A: Trust me.

I thought of this when, this morning, I saw the LA Times report that the CIA is investigating its Inspector General for, I guess, doing his job.

The inquiry is focused on the conduct of CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson and his office. Officials said it was aimed in particular at evaluating whether his office was fair and impartial in its scrutiny of the agency’s terrorist detention and interrogation programs. But officials said the probe also spanned other subjects and had expanded since it was launched several months ago.

U.S. intelligence officials who are concerned about the inquiry said it was unprecedented and could threaten the independence of the inspector general position. The probe “could at least lead to appearances he’s trying to interfere with the IG, or intimidate the IG or get the IG to back off,” said a U.S. official familiar with the probe.

Really – ya think?

I can’t think of an administration in my memory that has played the Trust Me card more. We don’t torture – trust me. There wasn’t any internal disagreement over warrantless surveillance – trust me. Al qaeda really was in Iraq – trust me. We don’t know if global warming is caused by human actions – trust me. I do what the Generals tell me – trust me.

SCHIP would give benefits to families making $83,000 a year – trust me.

Need I continue?

Which is why the assault on the CIA’s inspector General is so chilling. It’s part of a much larger pattern:

The CIA probe comes at a time when the powers of inspectors general in agencies throughout the federal government are under renewed debate. This month, the Bush administration threatened to veto a House bill that would strengthen the independence of inspectors general by giving them seven-year terms and permit the White House to fire them only for cause.

It’s all part of the same story: the refusal to allow Congress its proper oversight duties, the resistance to allowing Guantanamo prisoners to challenge their detention, Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force meetings. You’re not entitled to know, but trust us. We don’t need no stinkin’ oversight.

Just as when someone starts a sentence with “Honestly…” there’s reason to believe that what follows will be anything but, the trust-me Presidency is not to be trusted.

Because we all know what trust me really means, don’t we?

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