Bret Baier and his millions of listeners could hardly believe their ears last week when Leon Panetta answered Baier’s questions about the letter signed by 51 former “intelligence” bigwigs claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.
Panetta is a former secretary of defense, director of the CIA, White House chief of staff, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and representative from California. And, clearly, a hard-core Democrat—willing to lie, and lie, and lie (see below) for the team.
Baier asked Panetta if he had any regrets about signing the letter, knowing what we know now. One thing we know now is that even the New York Times has verified that the laptop was Hunter Biden’s. Another thing we know is that the FBI’s “investigation” of the laptop was not an investigation at all but a cover-up to assist Biden.
Panetta replied: “Well, you know, Bret, look, I was extremely concerned about Russian interference and misinformation. And we all know that intelligence agencies discovered that Russia had continued to push disinformation across the board, and my concern was to kind of alert the public to be aware that these disinformation efforts went on. And frankly, I haven’t seen any evidence from any intelligence agency that that was not the case.”
Hmm. No evidence that what was not the case, Mr. Panetta?
Baier (a bit incredulously): “You don’t think that it—that it was real?”
Panetta: “I think that, uh—I think that disinformation is involved here. I think Russia—disinformation is part of what we’re seeing everywhere. I don’t trust the Russians, and that’s exactly why I was concerned that the public not trust the Russians either.”
Baier: “I don’t want to dwell on this because we have bigger things to talk about and bigger urgency.” Baier loses a few points for that. Nailing the lie that installed ailing, feeble, incompetent octogenarian Joe Biden in the White House is as important, and perhaps more so, that any other issue—even war in the Middle East.
Baier continued: “But, obviously, Hunter Biden said it was his laptop and this investigation continues, so—you don’t have any regrets about doing what you did?”
Panetta: “No, I don’t have any regrets about not trusting the Russians.”
The lawyers call that a non-responsive answer. “My favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee” is not a proper response to “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
These people—the 51 signatories to the letter—have no shame about lying for their advantage.
Panetta is (more or less) an old man now: at 85, he is not likely to be up for a serious political appointment. He could tell the truth without forfeiting much. A little, of course: he did engage in a serious lie, that had serious consequences, and that is not good (you would think) for his reputation. But then, probably, the reputation of people like Panetta can’t be sullied. . . .
How did we get here?
In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard tells us that Abraham’s response to God’s demand entails a “teleological suspension of the ethical.” Readers of this column will recall that God tells Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Abraham does as he is told by God and prepares to slay Isaac, but at the very last moment, as Abraham, knife in hand, is ready to slay his son, God’s angel says stop.
The philosophical question raised is, is there a higher cause, a higher end goal, which might cancel out our ethical obligations?
Hegel says no. The universal as expressed in the ethical is the highest telos there is. Panetta and his lying colleagues can’t justify their lying by saying that their means were justified by their ends—defeating President Trump.
Polls taken subsequent to Biden’s election indicated that, but for the lying by Panetta and his colleagues, Biden would not have been elected.
The true cost of the lie? We don’t know yet. But we know America is suffering, at home and abroad, because of the incompetence of the Biden administration.
The administration was built on a lie and is sustained on lies.
Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? (How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?) Cicero asked (in 64 BC) regarding the conspiracy of Catiline (a demagogue who tried to overthrow the Roman republic).
Quo usque tandem abutere, Joe Biden, patientia nostra?
Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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