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There is heat generating around the idea that the Right Wing needs to develop an actual accusation relating to Benghazi-palooza.  

In response to this, there seems to be some crystallization forming around the now somewhat "infamous" talking points of Susan Rice on the Sunday morning talk show circuit: namely, that she repeatedly said that the attacks were spontaneous, when in fact, by that time, knowledge was coming together that the attacks were an actual terrorist action.  

Just recently on the Daily KOS front page, there was a diary describing the 12 email evolution of the talking points as released by ABC news, in which you can see the talking points changing.  A process that is enlightening, but not all that scandalous.  

But, the sense on the Right is that Talking Points issue is the crime / cover-up.  This is best expressed, perhaps, by this comment posted recently to an article on the issue:

7:54 AM PDT
The issue involved is whether the executive branch of the government, headed by an elected official, Barack Obama, purposely lied to the American people about the motivation for this attack in order to avoid negative political consequences two month prior to the election. That is what occurred and the defense offered by liberals is essentially, "so what"?

I ask those people that feel this is nothing more than a political witch hunt, why is it ok to LIE for purely political gain, but it is not ok to seek the TRUTH for the same reasons?

While the above quote has a lot of sizzle and the release from ABC about the talking points is interesting, even exciting possibly to those who are digging for evidence that the talking points were changed ...

The big questions remain.  What crime?  What cover-up?

It is not a crime to go on the Sunday Talk shows (all of them) and give bad information.  If that was indeed a crime, it's possible John McCain would be serving a life sentence by now.  

Even more so, as much as we find it unseemly, it's also not a crime to go on the Sunday Talk shows and LIE to the country about policy, decisions, etc.  The Sunday Talk shows are not a legal forum wherein interviewees are sworn to tell the truth lest they be held in contempt of court.

But, no one - aside from those on the Right - is even accusing the Obama administration of necessarily telling outright lies on the Sunday Shows.  Rather, they're just saying that Susan Rice participated in retelling bad information (at best) or spouting misinformation (at worst) that was quickly corrected by the administration itself.

Is it what we want as a public to have our officials parading bad information, misinformation or lies on television?  No.  

Is it a crime?  No.

The second issue is whether there was a cover-up.  Well, there are two rebuttals to this.  The first is that if a crime wasn't committed, by deductive reasoning, there cannot have been a cover-up.  

The second rebuttal is that cover-ups become crimes when the cover-up is achieved through undue or illegal influence.  Susan Rice and the administration weren't using undue or illegal influence by going on the Sunday Shows.  They were invited guests who repeated an outdated talking point.  

And since the administration quickly went out of its way to insure that once the facts were known to squash the talking point of the attack's links to outrage over an anti-islamic video, one has to squint incredibly hard to see a cover-up; much less a cover-up that broke the law.

In short: no one likes being lied to by their government, no matter their party affiliation.  But, suggesting that somehow the issue of the Sunday Talking Points after Benghazi amounted to anything more than a career road block for Susan Rice and a black mark on the CIA / State / admin is the pure definition of a "stretch of the imagination."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Administrations lie all the time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On matters big and small.  This is not a big matter.  If they did it, it was done as PR, not to cover up something that THEY did.  Unless you believe Obama orchestrated the attack.  Which some of the more far out of the far out claim.

    Keep the TVA public.

    by Paleo on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:18:50 AM PDT

  •  My question is, if the attack wasn't borne out of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the video demos around the Middle East, what is the current interpretation of the attack?  Have we heard anything?

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

  •  Any Republican (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dskoe, Val, SherwoodB

    or anyone else for that matter that seems all up in arms over this but didn't so much as raise an eyebrow over Iraq is so full of shit their eyes and ears are leaking crap. I would say pardon my French now but screw it, these people are assholes.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:34:37 AM PDT

  •  If lying on tv was a crime, FOX would be gone. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Val, myboo
  •  Get the transcripts from the shows where she (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Val, myboo, SherwoodB

    appeared and see for yourself what she said.  It isn't what the vile GOP'ers say she said.  They want to characterize the statements she gave that morning to fit their agenda.
    Get the transcripts.

    Susan Rice was pretty even-handed and equivocal about the attack.  She offered more than one possible explanation for what happened. She wasn't pushing any version more than another. She said there were multiple possible explanations and most importantly, there was an investigation that was just beginning.  There can be no conclusion until the investigation is done.

    I'm so tired of this story and Republicans who hear what they want to hear and understand it the way they want to understand it.  It's beyond tiresome.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:52:35 AM PDT

    •  But folks like David Gregory just pretend (0+ / 0-)

      she wasn't when they are on tv...

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:44:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also...... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman, just another vet

      ....while the investigation was ongoing, it would have been important to make sure that our sources on the ground were not in harm's way and that would have required that not everything we knew be released immediately and indiscriminately.  We wouldn't want to damage our conduits to useful information in the Middle East and obstruct our counter terrorism efforts, would we?  

      Maybe we should ask Valerie Plame about that.......

    •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

      She was emphasizing the video story. As was Clinton and Obama a week after they knew different. In Rice's defense she may have had only the edited talking points to rely upon.

      But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy----sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
  •  Looks to me like they were trying to cover (5+ / 0-)

    a CIA operation...and state didn't want to take the hit for a location they didn't control...

    typical media lack of context

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:43:40 AM PDT

  •  The progressive 2012 security downgrades and (0+ / 0-)

    lack of security planning re the 9/11 anniversary in Libya are the more interesting story. And lack of funding isn't flying.

    I'm sure the Administration would prefer to keep folk focused on the talking points story, which has just about run it's course.

  •  It appears that (0+ / 0-)

    they wanted to present an entirely different scenario than what actually occurred. So yeah it is a cover up. Not of a crime but of their political motives in handling a crisis.

    The "off record" today is telling.

  •  Think Progress has a story up that Victoria Nuland (0+ / 0-)

    who was a former Dick Cheney aide, was responsible for the changes because she was afraid that the CIA was trying to make it look like the State Dept. dropped the ball.

    This is probably going to unravel very fast for the gop, if Dems are just mildly competent.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 03:30:57 PM PDT

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