Dutch explorer and author Arthur Wichmann summed up the history of bungled exploration attempts of New Guinea with the phrase “Nothing learned, everything forgotten.”
I find myself thinking of this phrase in light of the revelations that the Department of Justice (DoJ) asked for, and got, two-months of phone and data records for Associated Press reporters. DoJ apparently asked for the data because it wanted to find the source of a leak that the Administration foiled an Al-Qeda plot. According to sources, the AP apparently sat on the story for several days to protect the lives of U.S. agents, but balked at further delay so the Administration could break the news itself in a press conference. AP accuses the DoJ of abusing its surveillance powers to punish AP for raining on its parade. Verizon apparently turned over the information with nary a quiver or question.
The Administration denies any knowledge of DoJ’s actions, it also denies any comparisons to Nixon, saying: “People who make these kinds of comparisons need to check their history.”
Actually, a bunch of us do and did. Which is why I say “nothing learned, everything forgotten.”