Let’s Play Cops and Robbers

While it is widely understood that reality has a liberal bias, never is this simple fact so glaring as when some righty cabal gets busted cooking up an illegal dirty trick or two; the fact that they don’t accept reality, or must clumsily attempt to create it on the ground, always proves their undoing.  So it is with the delicious ChamberLeaks scandal, which today officially broke out of the hippie commune of the blogosphere and into the wafer-thin editions of such mainstream outlets as the LA Times and WaPoo.  Like Watergate, Iran/Contra, and the War on Terror before it, the cast of characters are a ragtag band of overconfident and delusional misfits operating in a fantasy world of their own creation.  And, once again such decided unworthies have been handed vast and unaccountable power by people who ought to know better, but simply can’t stop themselves from using illegal means to attain ever more power.  So they hire the Keystone Kops, and hilarity ensues.

Is the juvenile cluelessness and stupidity of HBGary’s Aaron Barr’s IM exchange with an unnamed (but clearly smarter) coder, with his poorly spelled assertions that despite the math, he was still right, any different than G. Gordon Liddy’s elaborate charts with plans to hire hookers and blow up the Brookings Institution?  Only in scale; both were flagrantly illegal and potentially disastrous if exposed, but they both served the purpose of further empowering the powerful at the expense of everyone else, so they were, shall we say, “on the table.”  Both were immediately showered in a hail of non-denial denials from the faux-horrified higher-ups, and scapegoats were duly chosen and dispatched.

Unfortunately, 2011 is not 1974, and today one could drop a bomb on Washington and not injure anyone who is even surprised, much less outraged, at such chilling, multimillion dollar hijinks against ordinary citizens and journalists.  After all, planting fake documents with their adversaries and then loudly “discovering” they were forgeries worked pretty damn well in the more capable hands of Karl Rove when he needed to get rid of Dan Rather, so why not try it again?  Smearing progressive groups with guilt by association and doctored “evidence” was a great success in killing ACORN, so why not get the SEIU and all the rest of them next?  We can make fun of the childish bravado of Mr. Barr and and the absurd melange of venom and pearl-clutching pouring out of the Chamber of Commerce, but who laughs last?

As Glenn Greenwald, one of the operation’s chief targets, points out, the only thing unusual about this story is that we actually found out about it before the damage was done.  That generally isn’t so, as careers are ruined, punitive lawsuits are filed, and voices of dissent are routinely crushed as the comfortable, well, get comfortable-er, and the media gazes on approvingly.  After all, if it’s good for the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, only a dirty America-hating hippie could possibly be against it…   The Obama DOJ even recommended the ridiculously well-connected (scoff) law firm, Hunton and Williams, who assembled Barr’s team of Merry Pranksters, to BofA to aid in its preemptive attack on WikiLeaks, and is currently arresting hackers faster than HBGary was ever able to find them.

While it’s heartwarming to see the other firms involved in this skulduggery, like Palantir and Berico, denounce such behavior in the scathing terms their lawyers undoubtedly concocted for them, anyone who believes for a moment that they are chastened by this little episode ought to consider that this is the new normal, and nobody involved is going to jail, or even go help Jimmy Carter build houses or something.  ”Security,” devoted to squelching public opinion when it conflicts with, or worse, impedes however slightly, the aims of the elite, is the only growth industry left in post-Bush America, gobbling up the budgets of governments and corporations alike, and as everyone but the rich continue to be squeezed it will only become more “necessary.”

For a moment, the whores have been dragged into church, and as you’d expect, they’re a little nervous there.  But Saturday night is always just around the corner, and there are plenty more customers waiting.


  1. mikeinportc says:

    Keep at it, & you’ll be on the list .
    Good work. ;)

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks. I actually researched this quite extensively. I highly recommend the two “Wired” pieces Glenn links to in today’s post…. they’re quite funny, in a scary way.

  2. nswfm says:

    Also check BradBlog. They invented a family for Brad. Whores dragged to church….I love your writing.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yeah, I did; his article was one of the longest and most complete on the subject. Admittedly, I probably rely too much on hooker metaphors, but I like them anyway.

  3. retzilian says:

    Keystone Kops s/b “Keystroke Kops” since they are all wanna-be hackers and elevated trolls.

    It’s a really fascinating story – you and I are on the same wavelength.

  4. avelna says:

    Oh I’m curious to see what the final outcome of all this chicanery is going to be. Palintir and Berico are obviously up to their eyeballs in this, protestations, denials and apologies notwithstanding.