“You’re talking about government not working, but who’s in charge of the Executive Branch? You go to the Constitution, and the President has sole responsibility for the Executive Branch. This rests on him.
You were talking earlier about kind of dismissing the Benghazi issue as one that’s just political, and the President recently said it’s ‘a sideshow.’ But if you read through all these emails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al-Qaida. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings…’ One of the documents with the editing [shows] that one of the people in the State Department said, ‘Oh, let’s not let these things out.’ And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate, when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations, and he personally went through them and said ‘Let’s not tell this,’ ‘Let’s not show this.’
“I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed. You look at the hydraulic pressure that was in the system to not tell the truth, and, you know, we use this term and the government uses this term ‘talking points.’ Talking points, as we know, are like legal briefs. They’re an argument on one side. What we need to do is get rid of talking point, and they need to put out statements or papers that are truth documents. ‘OK, this is all we know.’”
–—Bob Woodward, Watergate legend, on MSNBC, making the case that the altering of the Benghazi “talking points” and subsequent use of misleading statements about the origins of the attack is not, as the President has said, ” a side-show,” but rather a serious and disturbing event worthy of criticism and attention.
One reason I like this quote is that I feel that in the long run the Benghazi talking points scandal—for that’s what it is, a scandal—may be the most significant, if not the most egregious, of the three scandals now rocking the Obama Administration. For the reason this is true, we only have to consult Jay Carney, who incredibly told Piers Morgan yesterday that in referring to the I.R.S. targeting of conservative groups for obstructive treatment, the Justice Department’s intrusion on AP phone records and the false “anti-Muslim video” narrative, the CNN host was “concocting scandals that don’t exist…especially with regard to the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and, I think, has fallen apart largely this week.”
You see, to Carney, his bosses, and the culture that has been nurtured in the Obama Administration and before, transparency and honesty to the American people is just something you pretend to care about, before you lie, obscure, and hid the truth anyway. In fact, lying to the American people and even Congress is just taken for granted as something those in power do, especially when it involves elections. Because the media is used to being lied to, reporters are jaded and tend to shrug the practice off, and when the lies help politicians they like and agree with, well, it’s all for a good cause.
Jay Carney, at this point a pathetic tool and hack, said in public that the White House only made one “stylistic” change to the C.I.A. talking points, which the released e-mails have proven was a ridiculous lie. Hillary Clinton, before Congress, asserted that all the State Department was passing on to the public was the assessment of the intelligence agencies, which was another lie. The CIA talking points suggested nothing about any video, yet there it was, being given top billing by Obama, Clinton, Carney, and Susan Rice. All of this may have been done to preserve the over-played Obama campaign theme that he had vanquished al Qaeda (indeed, even many liberal columnists state flat out that this was the motive), which is horrifying: an American government in power intentionally obscuring the cause of an attack that killed an ambassador and others..so that it could keep voters in the dark about the real accomplishments, or lack of them, of the man running for re-election. Yet Carney and others, apparently even the President himself, reacts to this by saying, “So? What’s the big deal?”
Today on Capital Hill, Steven Miller, acting head of the I.R.S., was asked in a House hearing why he withheld from the body his knowledge that his agency’s practice of singling out conservative groups for time-consuming scrutiny was under investigation when he testified before the election. Miller refused to answer candidly, essentially saying that he wasn’t asked. Again and again, he was then asked if he believed Congress, and hence the American public, had a right to know that his agency had engaged in such misconduct. All Miller would say is, “I answered the questions truthfully”….”I answered the questions truthfully”….”I answered the questions truthfully.” Translation: No, he doesn’t think the public or Congress has a right to know….not when the truth might make it harder to stay in power. That is what he has been taught in the Obama Administration culture, which has only intensified the already dangerous culture metastasizing throughout the Clinton and Bush years.
The fact that our leaders not only lie to us, but that they think they are right to do so, is a real and terrifying scandal, and Benghazi illustrates it and vividly as anything since Watergate. Bob Woodward, not surprisingly, gets it.
“What we need to do is get rid of talking points, and they need to put out statements or papers that are truth documents. ‘OK, this is all we know.’”
What a revolutionary concept!