EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 2, 2013

Benghazi lies, deceptions and distortions

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

From AP’s Julia Pace, we have Susan Rice’s Sept. 16 deceptions characterized as “faulty explanations.” In a column by Scripps Howard’s Martin Schram, the IRS politically targeting groups, the USAG’s suggestion of criminal conspiracy against a reporter for doing his job and the Justice Department tapping AP telephones are minimized as “not major news that affects us all.”

Notwithstanding Pace’s euphemistic concoction dismissing the density or dishonesty of Ms. Rice, ignoring her duplicities amounts to enabling either dumbfounding incompetence or conscious, political deceit. As for Mr. Schram, political arm twisting by powerful government agencies and intimidation of a press that must act freely do affect us all. What astounds is the speed with which executive bullying and lying are being swept under an already overcrowded rug.

Some have hailed ABC’s piece on the editing of the CIA’s Benghazi talking points as long-overdue, real journalism. Maybe not. Claims that references to terrorist groups were removed through the interventions of the Obama Administration had traction well before ABC’s article.

The follow-up piece that concluded that Susan Rice got a bad rap for her five appearances on national television on Sept. 16 can be questioned. Assuming Rice used only the final version of the talking points, as intimated initially, and that Rice was hoodwinked by “spontaneously inspired” language in that version, Rice’s words on national television contain mention of 35-40 unsupported details. The best one might say about these are that they were real-time fabrications, advanced by Ms. Rice to support the Administration’s deceits. The worst is that they were imperious lies Rice came fully prepared to tell.

Even assuming the plausible, that Rice and company used all the C.I.A. had provided, there remain 25 to 30 statements unsupported by the totality of the talking points.

It appears that Rice was handed a laundry list by her White House handlers. Foremost was to blame the murders on a video. On national shows Rice mentioned this video sixteen times. Next was to mention unidentified “extremists.” This was done in all of her performances.

Introduction of heavy arms borne by the unidentified extremists was next. This was necessary to counteract Hillary Clinton’s colossal, albeit true, blunder hours after the attacks in describing attackers as “heavily armed militants.” That description and its context led almost all who think independently to conjecture that the murders followed well-planned terrorism. To lie and deny this conclusion were decisions made almost immediately by the administration. Rice referenced heavy weapons five times on Sept. 16.

Next was to explain the presence of heavy weapons by citing their ready availability in Libya. Rice mentioned this consistently and also stated on the most supportive shows that “we have decimated al-Qaida.”

What frightens us more? That the C.I.A. was given four days to determine a readily available truth and could not? Or that the C.I.A. knew there had been no crowd or demonstration in Benghazi and reported that there was?

What scares you more? That the Obama Administration missed that same truth after five days of inquiry? Or that the Obama administration knew that there had been no crowd or demonstration in Benghazi, but said there was?

Pick your poison, folks. Your choices are either mind-numbing inadequacy or arrogant deception in the CIA and Obama administration.

Your only consolation is that whatever choice you make, you will be correct.

Barry McCloskey