With Occupy Wall Street Attack, Issa Changes Tune On Anonymous Sources

November 09, 2011 12:12 pm ET — Matt Gertz

Earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) lashed out at the community organization New York Communities for Change, urging U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to investigate FoxNews.com's quickly denied "report" that NYCC had "engaged in fraud through its participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests." While Issa's targeting of a liberal organization is no surprise, it does expose his utter hypocrisy.

Issa had no problem demanding investigations based on anonymously sourced FoxNews.com reports. But back in September, he downplayed and refused to investigate allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. may have tried to hack the phones of 9/11 victims, citing in part that there was no "on-the-record credible allegation." The allegation against News Corp. came from a "former New York cop" who is now a private investigator (certainly a more specific and credible description than Fox's "sources") and told the U.K.'s Daily Mirror in July that "he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone numbers of the dead."

For months, News Corp. has been rocked by revelations that News of the World engaged in a pattern of phone hacking and bribery. The scandal has brought down executives, reporters, editors, and government officials, and led to Murdoch's grilling before a parliamentary committee.  

Following the Mirror report, the FBI began an investigation. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) also called on Issa to conduct Oversight Committee investigations. Issa was challenged on his refusal to do so during a September 20 C-Span interview. During the interview, Issa repeatedly claimed the original report on the hacking of 9/11 victims' phones had come from "left-wing blog" ThinkProgress.

ISSA:  When a left-wing blog wants to make a quote, fine, I'll take it on its merit. Here's the facts: There is no credible allegation with any specificity of any wrongdoing by an American unit. Secondly, the Justice Department — no friend of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News — is investigating. Third, the Democratically controlled Senate is investigating.

Are we monitoring this, are we staying aware of it? Absolutely. But with the resources — you mentioned, taxpayer's resources — if I don't have any kind of a smoking gun, I don't have any kind of on-the-record credible allegation— In fact, I have a left-wing blog saying it, and now a left-wing blog saying that I should have listened to one of my Democratic minority members demanding that we do it, there's a lot of resources it takes to do it. We are happy to look at evidence that comes along, and if we see any credible evidence, we want to do it.


Apparently Issa's concern for whether there is an "on-the-record credible allegation" waxes and wanes depending on whether he is citing News Corp. or defending them.