A new twist in the “bombshell” Benghzai emails ABC News reported on last week, emails leaked that seemed to be at varience with the White House account of what occurred. This story now gets notably smellier: According to CNN, it now seems as if these emails were edited — and the White House is pointing the finger at Republicans in Congress for not just leaking emails, but doing a bit of (ahem) creative packaging on them to maximize the damage to the White House. CNN’s Jake Tapper:
White House emails obtained by ABC News and other organizations last week that purportedly detailed extensive editing of talking points Obama officials used in the aftermath of the Bengahzi, Libya attacks appear to have been misquoted or mischaracterized to emphasize the administration’s focus on those talking points, according to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Tapper documents how these emails were manipulated then adds:
CNN speculates that whoever leaked the White House emails “seemingly invented the notion” that Rhodes, a White House official, wanted State’s concerns specifically addressed. Asked about the ABC report on Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the only edit the administration made to the talking points was to a “non-substantive correction,” changing the word “consulate” to “diplomatic post.”
Carney on Tuesday accused Republicans of editing the emails in order to to serve a political agenda.
“I think the entire e-mail, the report I read showed the entire e-mail, and what it showed is Republicans who were leaking these press, these e-mails that had been shared with Congress didn’t just do that, they decided to fabricate portions of an e-mail and make up portions of an e-mail in order to fit a political narrative,” he said at a White House press conference.
If so, you will soon see a political boomerang at work.
SOME REACTION TO THIS STORY:
—Crooks and Liars:
If we assume that ABC and the Weekly Standard were given paraphrases of the emails rather than the actual text, it would appear as though the leaker took great pains to alter the meaning and words Rhodes actually wrote in order to invent scandal where none existed.
Gosh, who would do a thing like that?
Was ABC News used by someone with an ax to grind against the State Department? It looks possible. A key email in its “scoop” that the administration’s “talking points” on Benghazi had been changed a dozen times came from White House national security communications adviser Ben Rhodes. It seemed to confirm that the White House wanted the talking points changed to protect all agencies’ interests, “including those of the State Department,” in the words of the email allegedly sent by Rhodes.
But CNN’s Jake Tapper reveals that Rhodes’ email didn’t mention the State Department, and doesn’t even seem to implicitly reference it. The email as published by Karl differs significantly from the original obtained by Tapper….
….Significantly, the Rhodes email doesn’t even mention the controversial Benghazi talking points. Reporting by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard paraphrased Rhodes’ email the same way – to depict him jumping in behind Nuland and protecting the interests of the State Department. Some on the right have suggested Karl and Tapper might be talking about two different emails, but in the ABC and CNN stories, the emails are dated identically, 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. Tapper provides the original; Karl did not.
Presumably, someone changed Rhodes’ email before leaking it to Karl, but ABC News hasn’t replied to the scoop by Tapper (who used to work there). ABC’s story added fuel to the Benghazi fire; we’ll see if CNN’s helps put it out.
So, let me get this straight. Someone — we don’t know who — leaked misleading information to ABC and the Weekly Standard, they ran it, other news organizations embraced it, we’ve had several days of “scandal” based on it, and the information wasn’t true?
Tapper put it this way: “Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed.”
In other words, we’re not dealing with a mistake, so much as we’re dealing with a political actor deliberately misrepresenting key details to journalists, who in turn misled other journalists, who in turn created a controversy where none existed.
….Republicans have spent quite a bit of time recently insisting there are important, unanswered questions surrounding the Benghazi story. I’ve got one: who misled ABC and the Weekly Standard as part of this effort to smear the White House?
UPDATE: And, given these developments which smell so bad I think I’m going to run down to CostCo and get a triplepack of Glade, Andrew Sullivan nails it:
Just an early, failing attempt to smear Hillary for 2016. Because the GOP has no relevant policies for our times, just politics.
Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice