HILL: The White House, the FBI and the CIA — too close for comfort?

There have been many political scandals in American history. Teapot Dome under President Warren G. Harding was the one most people remember from childhood history books, before, of course, Watergate.

Are we witnessing a third great scandal to be known forever as “Obamagate”?

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Watergate was not the crime itself but the willful abuse of the CIA and FBI by the Nixon White House to coverup the crime. Remember: It was not the crime but the cover-up that brought down the Nixon White House.

We have to find a way to distance the FBI and the CIA from the political whims of the White House and build a protective wall to prevent future presidential abuse of our top law enforcement and intelligence-gathering systems. At the very least, America deserves independent directors to be appointed who have the integrity to resign when asked by the president to engage in any questionable activity not vital to the national security interest.

Former FBI Director Elliott Richardson and Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during Watergate. People who had any shred of dignity and personal integrity used to do such things on the behalf of the nation.

Watergate was a cover-up of a failed third-rate burglary during a political campaign. Perjury and obstruction of justice were the two most prominent charges brought against 69 government officials in the Nixon Administration. Forty-eight went to prison.

A team of former CIA operatives led by E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, specializing in campaign “dirty tricks,” tried to bug the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972. President Nixon was widely expected to trounce George McGovern in the election which makes the burglary attempt even more strange and idiotic.

When the “plumbers,” as they were called, were caught, a two-year drama played out on the national stage which proved that Nixon and his team in the White House did everything possible to cover-up the burglary. Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, after the “smoking gun” audio tape was released with Nixon discussing a plan with chief of staff H.R. Haldeman to get the CIA to interfere with the initial FBI investigation.

The fact that the Nixon White House was able to wield presidential power to force the directors of the FBI and CIA to help advance his personal political interests was, and still is, unconscionable.

We do not live in a Gestapo state. We do not want any elected official to have carte blanche power to use the highest levels of law enforcement to protect their political interests. Having different political opinions and strategies is not so crucial to our future that any administration should be able to appropriate the investigatory powers of the FBI and CIA to frustrate the other side during a campaign or a presidential transition.

With each new release of government documents, it is becoming crystal clear that the Obama Administration had the same level of control and power over the FBI and CIA as President Nixon did in 1972. They are on the record detailing efforts to attempt to undermine President-elect Trump and his team from the moment he was elected in November and reporting back to the White House with progress reports.

If proven to be true, as Watergate was proven to be true ultimately, the effort to subvert Trump’s incoming administration will make Watergate look like a food fight at a kindergarten picnic. Never before has an outgoing administration engaged in so many cloak and dagger strategies and tactics to frustrate the administration of the incoming president-elect, in essence, as part of “The Resistance.”

The Democrats and the liberal media have presented their side of the story that Trump is crooked like “Tricky Dick” Nixon and failed to remove him from office. It is now time to watch our judicial system and see if it can bring forth unassailable evidence and sworn testimony that the Obama White House, in conjunction with the full power of the CIA and FBI like Nixon before him, tried to subvert the peaceful transition of power to Donald Trump.

Obama Administration officials, James Comey, John Brennan and the rest of the crew could have apologized on Day One of the Trump Administration for deliberately following false leads and falsified information.

But they didn’t. Now America wants to see if there really was a cover-up that would make people forget there ever was a Teapot Dome or Watergate scandal in our history.