Monday, May 13, 2013

Benghazi and "Message Managing" ... Politics Over Safety and Security

Benghazi is a story that simply won't go away. It rivals the developing IRS story about using the levers of government for the benefit of government officials instead of in the service of We the People.

When government officials determine that the manner in which the political "message is managed" takes precedence over dealing objectively and effectively with the situation at hand, bad things can and do happen in our system of self governance.

And increasingly, it appears that "message managing" was job #1 in both the IRS case and the Benghazi debacle and tragedy during the most recent presidential election campaign.

Benghazi Disinformation Points is subtitled "Jay Carney seems to have forgotten the meaning of the word 'edit.'":

"Friday's revelation that the Obama Administration's talking points on Benghazi were revised a dozen times adds another reason not to trust the official story line. It also gives Congress new cause to keep digging.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News disclosed that the talking points evolved over time to exclude references to terrorists who might have participated in the attacks that killed four Americans last September in Libya. The first iteration on Friday September 14 prepared by the CIA said that "we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa'ida participated in the attack."

After the twelfth edit a day later, the report merely said that "there are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations." This change had the effect of underplaying potential terror involvement and made it easier for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to pitch the line that the attacks resulted from reaction to a YouTube video.

Mr. Karl also reported that the editing included substantial input from the State Department and others in government. This certainly contradicts the assurance from White House spokesman Jay Carney on November 28, 2012 that, "Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC's best assessments of what they thought had happened."

Mr. Carney added that, "The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two, of these two institutions were changing the word 'consulate' to 'diplomatic facility' because 'consulate' was inaccurate.". . .
White House spokesman Jay Carney

The upshot is that the Benghazi story has new legs, despite the best efforts of White House allies in the media to dismiss it. House intelligence committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Fox News Sunday that more "whistleblowers" with knowledge of what happened may come forward.

One issue worth more examination is which U.S. and NATO military assets were available in the region to respond to the attack, and why they didn't. The White House and Pentagon insist there was nothing within range that would have made a difference, but we also know that military officers respond to the political tone that civilian officials set at the top.

Did the well-known White House desire to retreat from Libya influence the ability and willingness of military officials to respond in real time? The lives of Americans around the world could hang on the answer."

Summing Up

This isn't a fun story, but it's absolutely necessary that the truth be told.

Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly clear that the White House and State Department don't want that story to be told to the American people.

With the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Benghazi case shedding light on the way the government knows best political game is played in Washington, we're going to get a great civics lesson in why the term "public service" in the middle of a presidential campaign is a meaningless phrase at best.

That said, the truth must and mostly will come out, so let's hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Thanks. Bob.

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