Fox Favorite Jason Chaffetz And The Right-Wing Media's Libya Hearings
Research ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN & EMILY ARROWOOD
Frequent Fox News guest Rep. Jason Chaffetz is pursuing investigations into the September attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya, capping a month-long campaign in the right-wing media. This is just the latest example of the right-wing media working with Chaffetz to pursue fringe theories and far-right campaigns.
Right-Wing Media Repeatedly Claim Obama Admin. Is Engaged In A "Cover-Up." Right-wing media figures, including Fox News figures and Rush Limbaugh, have repeatedly claimed that the Obama administration has been engaging a "cover-up" of the Benghazi attack. [Media Matters, 9/21/12, 9/28/12]
Chaffetz Signs Letter That Criticizes Obama Admin. Over Benghazi Attack And Calls For Congressional Hearing. From The New York Times:
Republicans on the House oversight committee on Tuesday accused officials in Washington of turning down repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi, Libya, before the fatal attack on the diplomatic compound there last month.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, committee leaders listed more than a dozen episodes, several of them violent, in the past six months that they said formed the basis for repeated requests by the diplomatic mission in Libya for more security resources.
Representatives Darrell Issa of California, the committee's chairman, and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the subcommittee on foreign operations, said in the letter that officials, whose names they did not reveal, had told them of the requests. They asked for details and a briefing before a hearing that they have scheduled for Oct. 10. [The New York Times, 10/2/12]
Chaffetz Tells Fox Hosts That Hearings Will Show That Obama Admin. Denied Requests For More Security Prior To Attack. From Politico:
Republicans on Tuesday pounded President Barack Obama over his administration's handling of attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a day before the first congressional hearing on the Sept. 11 battering of the American outpost in Benghazi.
"My personal opinion is that they wanted the appearance of quote, unquote, normalization there in Libya," Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends." "And building up of an infrastructure, putting up barbed wire on our facility would lead to the wrong impression, something that the administration didn't want to have moving forward."
Chaffetz, who just returned from Libya, charged that requests for additional security at the compound were denied before the attack occurred.
"What I do think we will see at the hearing tomorrow is a denial, when they requested...more personnel, not only was that denied, but they reduced the number of people that we had on the ground and when they asked for improvements to the physical facilities to protect the infrastructure, to protect the perimeter, those, too, were denied," he said, adding that he thought the decision to deny requests was part of a "a coordinated effort between the White House and the State Department from Secretary Clinton to President Obama's White House." [Politico, 10/9/12]
Chaffetz Has Appeared On Fox News At Least 55 Times. According to a Media Matters review of the Nexis database, Chaffetz has appeared on Fox to promote his fringe theories and far-right campaigns at least 55 times. Chaffetz made his 54th appearance on Fox & Friends on October 10, and then appeared again later the same day on America Live. [Media Matters, 10/9/12]
Fox's MacCallum Hosted Chaffetz To Push Letter Calling For Reid's Resignation Over Budget Standoff. On the April 6, 2011, edition of America Live, host Martha MacCallum hosted Chaffetz to hype a letter he and 84 other House Republicans had signed calling for Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) resignation:
MacCALLUM: Well, 85 House Republicans have gotten together and they're all calling for Harry Reid's resignation. They have signed a letter that they put together that urges the Senate majority leader to give up his post as this government shutdown looms over our country.
MacCALLUM: All right. Let's bring in Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He is one of those Republican lawmakers who signed that letter. And he joins me now.
Good morning to you. Welcome.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: Good morning, Martha.
MacCALLUM: Good morning. So why did you all write this letter?
CHAFFETZ: Hey, it's time to get to business. The house Republicans have actually been doing what they're supposed to be doing. And we're calling upon Senator Reid to get the House Democrats to actually come to the table and actually propose something.
We've passed several things here in the House. Everybody wants to avert a shutdown but we're also going to have to deal with this debt crisis. That's what this is all about.
MACCALLUM: So any impact? Do you think the letter will have any impact at all on any of these negotiations or moving anything forward or, you know, Harry Reid's resignation? Unlikely.
CHAFFETZ: Unlikely. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/6/2011, via Nexis]
Chaffetz On Fox: Airport Pat-Downs Are "Ridiculous" And We Should "Profile Terrorists." Appearing on Fox's Your World, Rep. Chaffetz and host Neil Cavuto agreed on their mutual dislike of airport security screening, and Chaffetz called for profiling as an alternative:
CAVUTO: Hey, Congressman, while I got you, what do you think of these airport pat-downs? I don't how it is in your neck of the woods, but it is pretty unseemly.
CHAFFETZ: It's ridiculous. Look, the threat is very real, but what is frustrating is, America is being presented a false choice: Trade your liberty in the name of security. That is a false choice. What we should be doing is profiling. I am willing to say it. Yes, profile terrorists, absolutely. Do what the Israelis do.
Number two, have people walk through a metal detector and then by a bomb-sniffing dog. The dog is the most effective tool that we have. The Pentagon recently released a report and said, after spending $19 billion, with all the technology, the very best way to ferret out and find where a bomb is, it's the dog. Let's use dogs, for goodness sake. Everybody loves a dog.
CAVUTO: But does the dog have to go through the birthday suit screening process? Because we know many dogs that just say, no, that is where I draw the line. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/22/10, via Nexis]
Beck Helped Chaffetz Advance Conspiracy Theory That Fannie Mae Might "Lock" Private Electrical Outlets
May 17, 2010: Beck Promoted Chaffetz's Claim That Fannie Mae Had Patented Device To "Lock" "Your Outlet For Your Own Home." In 2010, Beck waged a campaign against cap and trade, calling it a "scam," and warned against a Fannie Mae patent that he claimed would give progressives "a direct pipeline to your wallet." Chaffetz appeared on Beck's show to bolster the baseless theory, which he later took up as an issue as a member of the House Oversight Committee. From Glenn Beck's former Fox News program:
BECK: They've got -- they've got, I think, four patents out. They all are around cap-and-trade, but this is residential. When you think of cap-and-trade, you think, "Oh, you know, OK, so Exxon has to pay some more money for cap-and-trade." No, no, no -- this is your individual house, correct?
CHAFFETZ: Yes. They even have a patent -- there's another patent we found that actually puts a lock on your individual outlets -- it's literally to have a pattern for this -- to lock your individual outlet so that they can control the mechanism by which you lock that little outlet. It's unbelievable. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/17/10, via Nexis]
May 27, 2010: Chaffetz And Issa Seek Information On "Unusual" Fannie Mae "Tamper-Resistant Outlet Cover." As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform, Chaffetz sent a letter to Fannie Mae to request information on the patent. From a letter to Fannie Mae president and CEO Michael Williams from House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and Chaffetz:
As you may know, Fannie Mae has been assigned 20 patents. Aside from Patent Nos. 6,904,336 and 7,133,750, all but one of Fannie's patents appear to be at least tangentially related to the business of pricing and evaluating loans. However, Patent No. 6,674,003, for a "tamper-resistant outlet cover," strikes us as unusual. In addition to your responses to our questions about Fannie's parents related to residential emissions trading, please answer the following straight-forward questions about patent No. 6,674,003:
7. A full and complete explanation of Fannie Mae's decision to file the patent application.
8. All records and communications referring to or relating to the decision to file the patent application.
9. A full disclosure of any royalties collected by Fannie Mae from enforcement of the patent. [Letter, 5/27/10, via PoliticalCorrection.org]
June 7, 2010: FHFA Responds That Patent Is Intended To Protect Computer Systems From Overloads. In a letter to Chaffetz and Issa, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) general counsel Alfred M. Pollard wrote:
Patent No. 6,674,003
Your May 27th letter also requested information regarding U.S. Patent No. 6,674,003, for a "tamper-resistant outlet cover." This device, invented by an electrician on Fannie Mae's staff, protects computer systems and hard drives containing critical data in an office environment. More specifically, the device prevents unauthorized or unqualified personnel from connecting equipment to outlets, such as vacuum cleaners or heaters, which may cause circuit overloads, trip circuit breakers and result in the loss or alteration of data residing on the computer systems powered by the same electrical network. Fannie Mae has made use of this device in its data centers to minimize the risk of unintentional circuit interruptions. [Pollard letter, 6/7/10, via PoliticalCorrection.org]
July 15, 2010: Beck Hosts Chaffetz To Announce Introduction Of Bill Calling For Fannie Mae Transparency. From Beck's radio show:
BECK: [Chaffetz] has been helping us on the freedom of information to be able to find out what the hell is going on with Freddie and Fannie, especially in relations to the cap and trade business and the climate exchange, the Chicago Climate Exchange. Jason, Congressman, welcome to the program.
CHAFFETZ: Hey, thanks for having me on, Glenn.
BECK: You are introducing a bill today?
CHAFFETZ: Today, yes.
BECK: What is it?
CHAFFETZ: It's called the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Transparency Act of 2010 and what it would allow us to do is issue FOIA requests, the freedom of information requests that the public can ask for, members of Congress, anybody can ask for to get the documents that are within Fannie and Freddie. Amazingly enough, they don't believe that they're subject to the questions -- even as a member of Congress, I'm on Oversight and Government Reform, I'm a ranking member and they won't answer my questions. So, we're going to have to change the law. [Premiere Radio Network, The Glenn Beck Program, 6/15/10, via Media Matters]
July 16, 2010: Chaffetz Introduced "Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Transparency Act Of 2010."Chaffetz's bill would "apply the Freedom of Information Act" to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "during any period that such entities are in conservatorship or receivership." [H.R. 5539, 6/16/10]
June 17, 2010: Beck Highlighted Chaffetz's Comments On His Fox News Show. From Beck's Fox News show:
BECK: Now, the good news. Fannie Mae has patent on a protector for your outlets. It's great. In fact, I have the schematic here for it. It is fantastic and I want to tell you all about it. Because really - because it's war.
We have to help Brazil drill, help Soros' investment down in Brazil, pass cap-and-trade. I don't know if we are going to stop the leak. That is a second thought. But when we passed cap-and-trade, we got something really great.
I talked to Congressman Jason Chaffetz about this product and here is how he explained it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT): Well, they say in this letter that oh, this is just the guy on staff and they were using it to try to make sure that it doesn't, you know - it doesn't allow surges on computers. Well, baloney. I mean, they went so far as to get all their attorneys engaged. And went and got these patents.
Now, what it does is, it allows to take an individual unit. And you could go up to the actual outlet and it says it's for home. It doesn't say it's for business.
CHAFFETZ: And they go into the home and they can actually turn off your energy. So you - it literally, it locks down your energy in your home. And the concern that some of us have is that if they're pursuing cap-and-trade, this would also allow them to go and say, "You know what? You've used too much energy this month, you're not going to be able to access the very outlet that's in your home.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BECK: Maybe, maybe not. We don't know. That's what Congress is looking into now. They asked Alfred M. Pollard, the general counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency to explain why this mortgage company would need or want such a patent as this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHAFFETZ: I love what they said. This is what Alfred Pollard wrote to me just on June 7th. He said, quote, "The device prevents unauthorized or unqualified personnel from connecting equipment to outlets such as vacuum cleaners or heaters which may cause circuit overload, tripped circuit breakers and result in loss or alteration of data residing on the computer system powered by the same electrical network."
(END AUDIO CLIP) [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/17/10, via Nexis]
Beck Helped Chaffetz Attack ACORN's Census Partnership
May 7, 2009: Beck Said ACORN Is "A National Partner Of The U.S. Census Bureau... That Doesn't Sound Like A Good Idea." On the May 7, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Beck said of ACORN:
Let me tell you something, they are eligible for billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars in the stimulus bill. They say they're not going to go for any of that. Really? What are you -- are you suddenly flush with cash? Hey, (INAUDIBLE) plenty here.
Well, what happened here? Why are they now a national partner of the U.S. Census Bureau to help recruit workers to count every person in the United States. That doesn't seem like a good idea. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/7/09, via Nexis]
May 11, 2009: Chaffetz Signed House GOP Letter Urging Census Bureau To Cut Ties With ACORN. A letter from Chaffetz and the other Republican members of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives to U.S. Census Bureau acting director Thomas Mesenbourg stated:
[W]e write to request that the Census Bureau reconsider its inclusion of ACORN in the Planning Partnership Program for the 2010 Census. ACORN's involvement may compromise our shared commitment to an apolitical and accurate census count.
No one questions the desire of the Census Bureau to ensure the integrity of the census enumeration. However, if the Bureau believes that ACORN should remain a partner, we request written explanation of why its involvement is so essential that the credibility of the 2010 Census should be jeopardized. [GOP.gov, 5/11/09]
June 24, 2009: Chaffetz Announced Legislation To Encourage Census Bureau To Partner With Post Office, Not ACORN." From a Chaffetz press release:
Today Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced he will introduce legislation requiring the Commerce Department's execution of the 2010 Census to be conducted in partnership with the United States Post Office. The Census previously announced a need to hire in excess of 750,000 people to conduct the Census. The Post Office has 760,000 employees.
In a controversial approach, the Census previously announced it is partnering with a multitude of community organizations, including ACORN, to find people to hire to gather Census data. In committee hearings Rep. Chaffetz and others expressed serious reservations about the lack of standards offered by the Census to ensure nefarious organizations and individuals are excluded from gathering this sensitive data.
"It is imperative the American People have the utmost confidence in the collection of Census data. We should not rely upon ACORN to gather Census data. I don't trust ACORN and neither do the American people. [Press Release, Chaffetz.House.gov, 6/24/09]
June 24, 2009: Chaffetz Appeared On Beck's Radio Show To Discuss Proposed Legislation; Beck Called It "Total Common Sense." From Beck's June 24, 2009, radio show:
GLENN: We have Congressman Jason Chaffetz on the phone who I have to tell you has come up with, you want to talk about common sense, here's common sense. The census is a nightmare and the census should not be ACORN or its subsidiaries or anything like it, they should not be getting money to do the census. And he brought up an idea in congress, and are you introducing this bill today?
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Well, I'll be introducing it later this week but we just unveiled it today. Yeah, I'm excited about it.
GLENN: Okay. Explain what it is.
CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ: Well, on the one hand you have the census who is going to go out and hire some 750,000 people to count all Americans, and they are engaging with partners like ACORN to go out and find all these people to go and count everybody in America. But I also sit on the subcommittee that deals with the post office which is suffering from a huge financial crisis itself. Well, they happen to have 760,000 postal employees who are already charged with going to every home in America. So why would we be going out and getting, engaging ourselves with the likes of ACORN when we already have federal workers who already go to all these homes?
GLENN: May I [say,] total common sense. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 6/24/09, via GlennBeck.com]
Beck: Chaffetz Is One Of The "Good Republicans"
Beck Named Chaffetz As One Of The "Good Republicans Out There." From Beck's Fox News program:
BECK: Now, there are good Republicans out there. Obviously, DeMint is one. I think Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is one -- Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Ted Poe and John Culberson of Texas. I'm sorry -- and the more I name, the more I keep thinking, I'm sorry guys for calling you out like this because -- now there is just a hate on you. Mike Pence of Indiana. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/25/10, via Nexis]
L.A. Times: Chaffetz Endorsed Romney In July 2011 Over Former Boss Huntsman. From the Los Angeles Times:
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who worked for two years as a top aide to then-Gov. Jon Huntsman in Utah, is passing over his onetime boss to endorse former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
In an interview, Chaffetz said he broke the news last week to Huntsman, who he said "will be very formidable in the future."
"It was a little difficult," Chaffetz said. "Jon Huntsman is a good man, but when your goal is to beat Barack Obama I just think Mitt Romney is in a much better position to do that. He's laid this foundation for years. He's got a wonderful organization, the ability to raise the type of money [needed]. And I just think he's going to make a great president. I think we need that type business background to get our economy back in shape." [Los Angeles Times, 7/5/11]
ABC News Described Chaffetz As Romney's "Close GOP Surrogate." From an ABCNews.com blog post titled "Romney Surrogate Rep. Chaffetz Says 'No More Excuses' for GOP Nominee":
With the clock counting down towards Election Day, Mitt Romney needs now to begin aggressively courting independent voters to break the dead heat in which he finds himself currently locked with President Obama, a close GOP surrogate said today.
Asked why Romney finds himself neck and neck with the president despite polls that favor the presumptive GOP candidate's position on the economy, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said the calendar still favors Romney but that he could no longer make "excuses" for not pulling ahead. [ABCNews.com, 8/27/12]
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- Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, Martha MacCallum
- Glenn Beck Program, Your World w/ Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck show, America's Newsroom