The story that Ryan Lochte told four days ago was frightening and detailed, the Olympic gold medalist recalling a late-night robbery and a pistol pressed against his head. On Thursday, Brazilian authorities presented evidence they say contradicts that account and could turn what at first had been a deeply embarrassing incident for the Summer Games’ host country into a different kind of international incident.
The head of Rio de Janeiro’s civil police, Fernando Veloso, said the version of the events told by Lochte and three U.S. swimming teammates was fabricated. The athletes, he said, damaged a gas station bathroom early Sunday morning and were involved in a confrontation with armed security before paying about $50 to resolve the matter.
“We can confirm that there was no robbery as they described, and they were not victims as they presented themselves,” Veloso told a packed news conference, alleging the athletes had given “a fantastical version of events.”
The State Department conceded for the first time on Thursday that it delayed making a $400 million payment to Iran for several hours in January “to retain maximum leverage” and ensure that three American prisoners were released the same day.
For months the Obama administration had maintained that the payment was part of a settlement over an old dispute and did not amount to a “ransom” for the release of the Americans. Instead, administration officials said, it was the first installment of the $1.7 billion that the United States intends to pay Iran to reimburse it for military equipment it bought before the Iranian revolution that the United States never delivered.
But at a briefing on Thursday, John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said the United States “took advantage of the leverage” it felt it had that weekend in mid-January to obtain the release of the hostages and “to make sure they got out safely and efficiently.”
There is little doubt as to which of the two lies the U.S. public is being informed about most thoroughly today: It’s #1. After all, Ryan Lochte is a reality TV star, and a celebrity, and an athlete, and this is the Olympics! Up close and personal! Bread! Circuses!
The second story? Meh.What’s the big deal? So the Obama Administration paid ransom for hostages, endangering U.S. citizens all over the world, and repeatedly lied to the press and the public about it over the past two week, issuing unequivocal denials that the 400 million dollar payment and the hostage release were related in any way. So what?
On CNN this morning, the stupid, stupid, stupid story about how a group of boorish Olympic athletes (‘USA! USA!”) peed on the walls of a Rio bathroom and made up a robbery —at gun point!—story to cover up their vandalism was the subject of a full panel discussion. If the Obama version of Iran-Contra was covered at all, it wasn’t in the hour I saw.
Google News search, “Ryan Lochte”…nearly 10 million results.
Google News search, “Iran ransom”…about 220,000 results.
No wonder the public is significantly unaware of what an incompetent, dishonest, manipulative administration we have endured for eight years. The news media intentionally buries the facts to support administration narratives and propaganda. The story of how the Obama State Department handed over40% of a billion dollars to Iran as a reward for capturing and holding, illegally, U.S. citizens is a bona fide foreign policy scandal, one which if it occurred in a Republican Administration would have every editorial page screaming. The news media, however, is now fully engaged in slanting its coverage to ensure that Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump, the prime directive. More than ever, the utter failure of the current Democratic administration must be obscured.
Thank goodness the GOP lacks a candidate with the focus and degree of articulateness of the average closed head injury victim. Besides, he’d pay the ransom too. It’s just another deal, after all.
“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future.” That was Barack Obama’s official statement on the matter, when he was asked about the $400,000,000 a couple of weeks ago. It belongs in the same category as “I am not a crook,” “I did not have sex with that woman,” and, oh yeah, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” This is why Democrats literally (that’s literally literally, not Sean Hannity’s version of literally, recently displayed in his statement that “The news media literally kiss Hillary Clinton’s and Obama’s asses every day!”) don’t care that their current heiress-apparent is, as William Safire famously said almost two decades ago, ” a congenital liar.” The current Democrat in the White House lies repeatedly, routinely, shamelessly and with no consequences whatsoever. Who cares? We love the Big Brother, currently vacationing while Louisiana swims for its life.
Fortunately the most reliable of the so-called conservative media, the Wall Street Journal, continued to pursue the embarrassing story that the other news organizations regarded as an annoying distraction while they were concentrating on destroying Donald Trump. Finally, Obama had to admit that yes, the US paid ransom for hostages…to Iran, an importer of terror that is dedicated to turning Israel into a parking lot.
All right, all right, but how about that Ryan Lochte?
We knew Ryan Lochte was an idiot during the last Olympics. The second, the very second, I read that Lochte and his buddies claimed to be robbed while the local police denied it, I guessed this outcome. To once again borrow from George S. Kaufman: 0n Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the development and construction of the Mount Palomar telescope. The Mount Palomar telescope is an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope.If you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn’t be able to see my interest in anything Ryan Lochte has done or will do for the rest of his life, because he is a blasted idiot, and so is anyone who wastes a minute of their limited time on earth caring about him.
What the President of the United States does, however, the precedents he sets, the lies he tells and the conduct he models as a leader matter.
UPDATE: This just in…