In May, The Washington Post dismissed the conspiracy theories that President Obama has made a secret deal with Vladimir Putin after a hot mic moment with then-President Dimitry Medvedev as "another example of how facts no longer matter when it comes to politically sexy allegations." But that hasn't fazed Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. Embracing the kind of tactics you might see from the conspiratorial fringes of the right-wing blogosphere, the Ohio congressman and other Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have been slowly building the case that Americans are being kept dangerously in the dark on the country's proposed missile defense system in Europe. "This isn't a politically sexy allegation," Turner's communications director Tom Crosson tells The Atlantic Wire. "This is a fact."
What kind of facts are we talking about? The key one was the audio of the exchange between Obama and Medvedev captured at the March 26 global nuclear summit in South Korea:
Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . .”
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” meaning President Putin.
The exchange made a reasonably big splash (and launched a meme) in the press and forced the president to respond. “This is not a matter of hiding the ball," he said. “The only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations."