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USA Today Reporter Susan Davis gets a bad rap

Susan Davis

Many of us have been aware of the travails of former CBS reporter Sharyl Atkisson who had her reporting on Fast & Furious suppressed by her employer because it got perilously close to the truth of the matter. A new batch of documents turned over to Judicial Watch pursuant to a court order shows us the extent to which Atkisson was drawing blood at the upper levels of the lawless Department of Justice. For instance, this response to one of Atkisson’s reports:

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This makes it obvious that the administration’s lackeys in Justice were not content to simply press their case with a reporter, if a reporter displeased them then they went after your livelihood. This, of course, goes hand-in-glove with what we know of how GE’s Jeffrey Immelt used his power to ruin the careers of reporters at NBC and CNBC to make them go easy on Obama and Obamacare.

As part of this document dump another name came to light: Susan Davis, who at the time covered Congress for National Journal and now works for USA Today:

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Here we see that Justice is prepping Davis with derogatory information on Republican Congressman Darrell Issa who chaired the committee investigating Fast & Furious. The linkage between Fast & Furious coverage and a intended planted media hit on Mr. Issa is pretty obvious when the context of the email exchange is examined.

A lot of people have jumped, justifiably to the conclusion that Davis was a willing ally of the administration in its long running attempt to protect Holder by discrediting Issa. This perception is bolstered by the fact that Davis’s profile of Issa has disappeared from the internet. (more on that in a bit)

So what did Susan Davis write about Darrell Issa? Let’s go to T. Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner:

A USA Today reporter on Friday pushed back on suggestions she coordinated with White House and Justice Department officials in 2011 to “target” House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., challenging comments made earlier this week by the president of right-leaning watchdog group.

Susan Davis, who reported for National Journal at the time of the supposed “targeting,” told the Washington Examiner: “In 2011, I was assigned a profile by my then employer National Journal. I spoke to many sources in the course of reporting the story, including Darrell Issa. Neither the White House nor DOJ approached me about this story, rather I contacted them in the course of my own reporting.”

Using the cache of Davis’s personal blog he was able to retrieve a copy of the profile. The issue the administration was pimping was alleged leaks of Fast & Furious documents from Issa’s committee. Allegedly one or more of these “leaks” compromised an ongoing investigation. Which raises a couple of questions. Like why wasn’t the information redacted before giving access to a House committee? And, given the general lawlessness of Holder’s Justice Department, why was this a bad thing?

On the leaks, which is the issue that the administration was furiously pimping at the time, she writes:

But the House chairman’s flamboyant tactics raised questions about his judgment. To bolster the case against ATF, his staff released an insufficiently redacted bureau report that revealed confidential information about a person still under investigation and about court-approved wiretaps and surveillance efforts.

How much damage the breach did to the ongoing criminal investigation is unclear. But Justice Department officials pounced on the goof, implying that Issa’s investigation was jeopardizing their work.

“The committee’s oversight activities in this matter have already risked undermining, albeit unintentionally, the independence, integrity, and effectiveness of the department’s criminal investigations,” Assistant Attorney Ronald Welch charged at a hearing in June.

Issa didn’t back down. “Some [critics], which are Democrats, are disingenuous,” he asserted, noting that only one gunrunner had been charged with a significant crime, everyone else was out on bail, and many of them would serve no more than one year if convicted. “You can’t call that a serious ongoing [criminal] investigation in that sense, and that’s pretty clear,” Issa toldNJ.

Hardly an unfair characterization of the issue.

So, if the administration was counting on Davis to harm Issa, they were certainly disappointed. And it is a testament to the degree to which Obama and Holder have poisoned the discourse that virtually no one on our side felt the need to actually review Davis’s story. Her name appearing in the emails was sufficient to convict.

The memory-holing of Davis’s story is more troubling. Davis, in her interview with the Washington says:

Davis’ Issa profile is not readily available online, she told the Washington Examiner, because it is behind a paywall. A Lexis search for the article successfully produced the profile in its entirety.

Charitably, this is bull****

When you follow from any of the number of stories on the Judicial Watch emails to Davis’s story you get:

 

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This is Davis’s personal site and hardly paywalled. It is also the site where Adams found his copy of the article.

So you can Google Davis and the name of the article “The Overseer” and you find this

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But the link dead ends and a search for the exact text string comes up empty, too.

Well, okay, if it isn’t at the link it is undoubtedly in the National Journal archives. Davis left NJ for USA Today in November, 2011, so a quick look finds: Nothing. And, I have to note that the article in question was written for National Journal and its archives are not paywalled. You can access any of Davis’s pieces from that time for free.

It is unfortunate, because one is led to the inescapable conclusion that someone did try to delete the article from the internet and that gave the illusion that Davis’s critics were right, that she was a hired gun for the administration.

 

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