Ethics Quote of the Week: Bob Woodward

“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.


“Quick! Let’s hide it!”

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.”

Wow. Continue reading