The official story about the Environmental Protection Agency fraudster who pretended to work for the CIA has collapsed. It turns out that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy not only didn't uncover John Beale's crimes. She helped him collect extra taxpayer money and appears to have ignored critical evidence of his fraud more than two years before he left the agency. Meanwhile, in another EPA case, the government has threatened an employee with prison time for alleged management errors that appear far less serious than those of Ms. McCarthy.
Faux spy John Beale bilked taxpayers out of almost $900,000 as he pretended for years to be a CIA agent frequently away on secret missions. In reality, taxpayers were funding travel and time off from his job at the EPA. And for years managers including Ms. McCarthy allowed him to get paid as if he was working full-time at the EPA.
In January 2011 Ms. McCarthy ignored a staff recommendation to cancel Beale's annual retention bonus. Then in 2012, after staff informed her that he was still on the payroll after he claimed to have retired, she waited seven months before referring the matter to the EPA's general counsel. Yet Democrats like Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) have praised Ms. McCarthy for her handling of the Beale disaster.
Now look at how the feds are treating another EPA manager accused of failing to appropriately document an employee work schedule. Mark Townsend is a career scientist in the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. In July 2012 he received a visit from the staff of the EPA Inspector General's office. The IG staff wouldn't tell him the reason for their inquiry but asked about various personnel matters. They eventually focused on one particular staff scientist and demanded that Mr. Townsend write out and sign a statement about his management of this employee.
A year later, the Department of Justice threatened to charge Mr. Townsend with various crimes because he had filled out electronic time cards attesting that the scientist had been on duty, and had also signed off on regular summaries of days worked. The scientist whose time cards the DOJ considered fraudulent had not been at the office.
By longstanding arrangement that predated Mr. Townsend's arrival in the office, the woman had been allowed to work from home and not much was expected of her. She was believed to suffer from severe multiple sclerosis and while Mr. Townsend never saw any medical documentation, he did visit her house once to help her use her computer. It was part of his effort to help her become more productive.
He reports that she was confined to a wheelchair and that the entire house had been configured to accommodate her apparent illness. Prosecutors have not claimed that she wasn't sick, but only that she wasn't doing enough work from home to justify the time for which she was paid.
We recount all this because Justice's treatment of Mr. Townsend contrasts so sharply with the handling of the EPA senior officials who knowingly filled out bogus time cards for John Beale and haven't been charged with anything. Has anyone even received a reprimand?
The contrast gets odder still. On June 28, 2013, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen sent to Mark Townsend's lawyer a draft plea agreement. Mr. Townsend was given two weeks to plead guilty to first degree misdemeanor fraud, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment. If he did not accept this deal, prosecutors warned that they would "bring the hammer down."
Less than two months later, the charges against Beale became public. And since then Mr. Townsend has heard nothing. No charges, no exoneration, nada. Mr. Townsend has continued to work at the EPA while wondering if he'll be charged. He's also been wondering, given the DOJ threats against him, how it's possible that none of Beale's supervisors has faced such threats. The number of times that someone had to fill out a false report for Beale in one of the two software programs that EPA uses to track attendance and leave time must be significant.
One could argue that EPA Administrator McCarthy and other senior officials were duped, and that when they signed off on false information about Beale they really believed he was a spy. But according to a working paper from the EPA Inspector General, Deputy EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe said he informed Ms. McCarthy and another senior aide in early 2011 that there were no CIA employees at the EPA. Yet Beale was allowed to remain on the EPA payroll until spring 2013.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office says it has no comment on Mark Townsend and doesn't comment on cases in which no public action has been taken. But if prosecutors take any action at all, and they want to set an example at the EPA, they should start at the top—and leave Mark Townsend alone.

When the Twain Collide

It’s only a matter of time till American fecklessness abroad runs up against an iceberg.

 By Matthew Continetti
....Watching the strange mix of clumsiness and insouciance with which Barack Obama and John Kerry approach the world, the abstract and aloof manner in which they comment and posture on foreign affairs, it is hard not to recall Hardy’s metaphor of growing dangers distant from the center of civilization. The recent news of a possible terrorist plot against airliners flying to the United States, and of a threat against the U.S. embassy in Uganda, reminds us of the durability of the ideology and menace of Islamic terrorism. The ability of non-monarchical Arab governments to control their populations has collapsed, creating an arc of stateless space that begins in Libya and Egypt, is briefly interrupted by the tiny, embattled, belittled, and bullied Jewish State, and extends through Lebanon into Syria and western Iraq.
This is our iceberg. Within its confines murderers and barbarians roam, butchering each other and anyone else who is caught in the crossfire. Within its confines followers of al-Qaeda gather and plot. They will not remain within its confines for long, though. Anyone who pays the least attention to the articles inside the New York Times will have noticed leaks by officers of our intelligence agencies, leaks desperately warning that the jihadists have turned their eyes to Europe and to the United States. It is no secret. At the end of last month the Director of National Intelligence told Congress that al-Qaeda is no less a threat than it was when it attacked in 2001.
Our response? The United States has no influence in Egypt, it has left the Syrian dictator more secure, it has left him with his stash of WMD, and it has no pull over Lebanon, no pull over Iraq. The United States is gutting its military, it is pursuing negotiations with Iran whose only point is, in the words of one former Obama official, to “buy time.” It is withdrawing from Afghanistan and leaving it in the hands of the former hosts of al-Qaeda, and it is lifting asylum restrictions to make it easier for Syrians with “loose ties” to terrorism to migrate here.
The United States is about to lose strategically important drone bases in Afghanistan, it has found itself out-maneuvered by Vladimir Putin at every turn, its policies toward hotspots in Venezuela and Ukraine seem nonexistent. The policy is to talk above all, to keep talking in Geneva with the Syrians, to keep talking in Vienna with the Iranians, to keep talking in Jerusalem with the Israelis and the Palestinians, no matter that the talk accomplishes nothing, no matter that it drains resources, energy, and personnel that could be put to more constructive use elsewhere. His policy in Syria in tatters, his negotiations with Iran a charade, the secretary of state flew to Indonesia last week to rally the world against the amorphous force of climate change. Why do something about 130,000 dead Syrians, about proliferating weapons of mass destruction, when you can poke fun at those who dissent from the scientific consensus?
The territory over which al-Qaeda claims sovereignty is growing, our influence in the Middle East is shrinking, and serious contenders for the American presidency want to make it more difficult for the government to survey the enemy. Our president and his administration interpret these developments, if they interpret them at all, in isolation, as discrete situations, as the inevitable consequences of the post-American world they are so diligently helping to bring into being. “Alien they seemed to be,” Hardy writes. “No mortal eye could see / The intimate welding of their later history.”
The fecklessness of our government and the dangers in the Middle East are the “twin halves of one august event.” We do not know when that event will occur. We know only that it will occur, and that there will be no sign of the crash until the “Spinner of Years” says,
“Now!” And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

Attacking Diversity of Thought

Liberal students have a funny definition of "diversity."

 By Jonah Goldberg
....At least that’s where Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College, seems to be coming down. Her school invited a famous left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had an utterly civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.
“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching told the Daily Gazette, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society.”
Swarthmore must be so proud.
Over at Harvard, another young lady has similar views. Harvard Crimson editorial writer Sandra Y. L. Korn recently called for getting rid of academic freedom in favor of something called “academic justice.”
“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” Korn asks.
Helpfully, she answers her own question: “When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.”
One could easily dismiss these students as part of that long and glorious American tradition of smart young people saying stupid things. As Oscar Wilde remarked, “In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”
But we all know that this nonsense didn’t spring ex nihilo from their imaginations. As Allan Bloom showed a quarter century ago in The Closing of the American Mind, these ideas are taught.
Indeed, we are now up to our knees in this Orwellian bilge. Diversity means conformity.