Over a month ago U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor broke the story on U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's pricey trip to Paris, during which time taxpayers shelled out $585,000 and $322,000, respectively, for hotel rooms, limos, and other vehicles. VPOTUS Biden and his staff spent those taxpayer funds during his one-day Parisian journey to meet French President Francois Hollande.
CNN this past week reported on the trip -- using the same documents that the Monitor had discovered via painstaking database research -- and tooted its own horn on international TV as if that were its own discovery.
CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer talked about this "amazing, amazing discovery" (of theirs) and how shocked they were to have found these rare documents. Blitzer asked CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar about her unparalleled reporting skills in uncovering this rarity, and they both speculated that the government perhaps did not mean to upload the documents to the federal database.
From the broadcast:
“We’re getting an extremely, extremely rare glimpse at how much it costs when Vice President Joe Biden goes traveling,” Blitzer proclaimed. “Brianna we’ve covered a lot of presidential and vice presidential trips, but this is pretty amazing.”
“It kind of makes you wonder if this information was put out accidentally,” Keilar later says. “I did a search myself of the past 365 days where obviously the president and vice president have gone on other foreign trips and I could find no contracts in addition for any of those visits.”
Couldn't find any contracts, eh?
I went back into FedBizOpps to see if the White House or State Department has sanitized the site of any traces of such documents (similar to what was done to the controversial USAID/Kenya Strategic Communications Plan 2012-2013 I had reported on).
I figured that maybe she may have missed, for example, the documents I previously found specific to President Obama's and Biden's million-dollar stay in Colombia (the scandalous one when Secret Service agents were caught hanging out with hookers). In that instance I was smarter about my research, and had uploaded those contracting documents to the Monitor website rather than linking from my page to the government site (which I had done, not so coincidentally, to prevent other media from stealing my story!)
A quick search today of FedBizOpps reveals that Keilar was less than forthcoming about her supposed "research." The Colombia documents are indeed still publicly available. Here they are:
I would link to additional, existing procurement data, but I have other more productive things to do instead -- such as performing some good old-fashioned reporting without ripping off some professional blogger-journalist and claiming it's my own work. -- Steve Peacock