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They've Got A Secret

The ConWeb barely acknowledges Dick Cheney's secret task force, but they still can't get over Hillary Clinton's secret task force.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/24/2001

It must be hard to be the ConWeb. For one thing, you have to criticize your political opponents for certain actions while you studiously ignore it when your political allies do the exact same thing.

Case in point: "Secret" governmental task forces. Specifically, Vice President Dick Cheney's task force on energy. He refused to release documents about what the group has done and who it has consulted with. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has asked for the documents; Cheney has refused, alleging that the GAO doesn't have statutory authority over the task force. Even the conservative Judicial Watch as filed a lawsuit over it. (No word on whether they plan to do the same thing over the equally secret Social Security task force.)

If you've been relying on the ConWeb for your news (and God help you if you have), chances are you don't know much about this. That's because they've virtually ignored it.

Searches of WorldNetDaily and the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal turned up nothing. CNS, surprisingly, wrote a story about the Judicial Watch lawsuit. (Surprising because CNS considers the fact that a newspaper dropped Cal Thomas' syndicated column to also be worthy of a story.) A search of NewsMax turned up only a May 20 UPI story featuring Cheney's appearance on the Sunday-morning talk-show circuit -- and, of course, nothing about the Judicial Watch suit since they give extensive (not to mention biased) coverage only to Judicial Watch's actions against Democrats.

The deliciously ironic thing about all this is that even as the ConWeb has refused (Dan Rather-like, one might say) to report on the controversy surrounding Cheney's task force, they've been writing for years about Hillary Clinton's 1993 health care task force, which was denounced by conservatives for trying to keep secrets in the same manner that Cheney's task force is doing now. Well, perhaps not in the exact same manner; as columnist Joe Conason notes, "Mrs. Clinton released the names of her task force’s participants only eight weeks into her husband’s tenure; Mr. Cheney refuses even that small concession after almost eight months."

A search of NewsMax turned up, among other things, a June 10, 2000, column by David Limbaugh pointing out that Hillary "kept her task force meetings secret to the point of earning a rebuke by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth." A Sept. 7, 1999 column by John Sheldon on CNS makes a similar point, as does a Sept. 15, 2000, Wall Street Journal editorial and Jan. 14, 1999, WSJ article detailing all the things it believes the Clintons should apologize for.

And a July 12, 1999, column by Geoff Metcalf on WorldNetDaily cites "health care task force secrecy" as one of the many reasons behind Metcalf's fearless prognostication that Hillary would not run for Senate in New York. "When the deadline for filing papers arrives, Hillary will be a no-show," he breathlessly -- and oh so wrongly -- declared.

You know the moral here: having denounced secrecy in a White House-operated policy task force when a Democrat runs it, then deeming it not worthy of comment when a Republican runs it, opens up yet another chink of hypocrisy in the armor of the ConWeb, which is so flawed already with self-inflicted wounds. It's nothing more than the emperor's new clothes -- but they think they're wearing Kevlar.

Ah, just another day in the world of self-delusion that is the ConWeb. It must be hard, right?

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