It turns out there was, in fact, a cover-up surrounding the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. But it's not what you think.
Meanwhile, the inquisition continues. Late last week, Republican chairmen from five separate House committees met in private with speaker and hilarious crier John Boehner to discuss the party's investigative strategy on Benghazi. Five committees. Five chairmen. Each is ensconced in an investigation of the administration's response to the attack, obviously desperate to uncover the Benghazi-Gate conspiracy and cover-up that several other investigations apparently missed.
Crazy Caucus member Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said on Friday, "The Obama administration's cover-up of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack surpasses Watergate." No one really knows what the cover-up is all about, least of all the Republicans who, I think, just like to say "cover-up." (I do not think it means what you think it means.)
On the same day as King's remarks, Watergate reporter and apparent senile-dementia sufferer Bob Woodward compared the edited Benghazi talking points with the edited White House tapes during the Watergate investigation. Throughout the wingnutosphere, the chant continues: "Obama lied. People died." I'm still not sure they understand how the line is supposed to work since no one is really saying Obama lied before Benghazi about Benghazi. The line is about causality and it's -- ah, hell, never mind. Anyone who repeats that line is an idiot, full stop.
As for King, Woodward and the Republicans, they clearly didn't watch CBS News the night before -- last Thursday evening -- when Major Garrett, a former Fox News reporter by the way, broke the news that Republicans had leaked the summaries of the CIA/State Department emails published by ABC News. Whoa, wait. What? So not only did ABC News and Jonathan Karl (who claimed his own report "rocked the political world") mislead the nation about whether he actually had copies of the emails -- he didn't, just summaries provided by an unnamed source -- we now know that it was the congressional Republicans who leaked selectively edited versions of the emails to ABC News.
Among other details, Garrett reported:
Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation."
But it turns out that in the actual email, Rhodes did not mention the State Department. [...]
Republicans also provided what they said was a quote from an email written by State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland.
Right off the bat, I have to echo what Chez Pazienza wrote on Friday: CBS News and Major Garrett should be applauded for being so explicit about the deceptive emails and how the Republicans were behind it all. Secondly and more importantly, I can't underscore enough: this is an absolutely remarkable turn of events in the so-called Benghazi scandal.
Republican members of Congress endeavored to indict the Obama administration in the court of public opinion by releasing deliberately misleading versions of the emails via an obvious exploitation of the weak journalistic standards of Jon Karl and ABC News. This is the only substantive "bombshell" and "cover-up" in the Benghazi aftermath: the Republican plot to cover up how the administration and CIA performed during and immediately following the September 11 attack. They conspired with ABC News to deceive the public with what can only be described as a cynical attempt to score political points on the backs of four dead American officials.
It's not the first time the Republicans have marketed in deceptively edited material. The entire Republican National Convention was constructed around a theme, "We Built That," which was drawn from a selectively and deceptively edited video of the president talking about small businesses. As I'm sure you recall, the president was remarking that small businesses didn't build the surrounding roads and infrastructure. But the Republicans didn't include that distinction and made it seem as if the president said that business owners didn't build their own businesses. They also used selectively edited videos provided by professional clown-wrangler Andrew Breitbart and flimflam artist James O'Keefe as convenient yet artificial excuses to destroy ACORN and de-fund Planned Parenthood.
But this is actually worse because it's not just selectively edited -- the Republicans literally added words that weren't in the emails, such as the addition of "State Department" noted above. To repeat: they added new and false content to the emails and claimed that administration officials like Victoria Nuland wrote things they actually hadn't written.
In lieu of ideas and policy substance, this is what they do now. The Republicans, more than anyone else, are genetically tied to the dirty tricks and "ratfucking" of the Nixon era, and it's clearly continuing today. It was popularized with Nixon's Plumbers and the tradition has been perpetuated and enhanced by Lee Atwater under Reagan and Bush 41, and Karl Rove under Bush 43 who gave us, among other things, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame for no other reason other than political retribution.
So the irony here is that the leaks of erroneous email by congressional Republicans is more reminiscent of Watergate than anything else pertaining to Benghazi.
We should demand to know who lied about the content of the emails and why Jon Karl was so willing to not only accept it as fact but why he didn't make it clear in his report for ABC News that the emails had been summarized by a Republican (or several Republicans) on the Hill. Who leaked the edited content of the emails, and who altered the key language as a means of fabricating a cover-up? I want answers. I also want to know how one of the two major political parties in this country can repeatedly get away with this treachery and still be taken seriously in the press and by voters. They clearly don't deserve it.