Saturday, May 11, 2013

Talk Is Cheap, And Talking Points Are Even Cheaper

"The White Washing" did not go well

Jay Carney certainly earned his pay yesterday. He must have been dizzy from all that spinning he did for the White House press corps.

"Those were Intelligence Community talking points ... the only edits made by anyone here at the White House were stylistic and nonsubstantive ... this all has been discussed and reviewed and provided in enormous levels of detail by the administration to Congressional investigators ... And if you look at the issue here, the efforts to politicize it were always about, you know, were we trying to play down the fact that there was an act of terror and an attack on the embassy ... I appreciate the question [by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, but] the things you’re talking about don’t go to the fundamental issues.”

I suppose that depends on what you think the fundamental issues are. Now that the mainstream press has discovered the twelve drafts of the Benghazi talking points, they seem to think it is a fundamental issue that Carney has been lying to them telling them untruthitudes for several months.

You can read all 12 drafts here.

From ABC News, Benghazi Talking Points Underwent 12 Revisions:
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.

That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.

“Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened,” Carney told reporters at the White House press briefing on November 28, 2012. “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 institutions were [sic] changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”

Parse that Official Spokesman language and you'll see that Carney can claim to not be lying, even as he does not tell the truth. To say "the White House and the State Department have made clear" that only a single change was made to those talking points is not the same as saying that, in truth, only a single change was made. If somebody else has been lying, that isn't Carney's concern.

Carney took offense at some impudent questions from the press corps and pointed the finger of blame back at them:
"This is an effort to accuse the administration of hiding something we did not hide - well, at least we aren't hiding it anymore, ever since the talking point drafts were published by ABC News yesterday" Carney said.

I made up that last part about 'we aren't hiding it anymore.' That is, I made a non-substantive factual correction to what Carney actually said. And I advise that you not get all wrapped up in the queston of what I may or may not have changed about what he said, because that would just be a distraction from the fundamental issue here.

The best seven minutes of yesterday's press conference are embedded below.


Anonymous said...

TSB: This is a real good post. gwb

This story shows why I object to the US having no real policy regarding Syria.

Somebody is keeping Turkey from responding to their towns being car bombed repeatedly with hundreds killed or maimed. Am I right in assuming it is the USA? I would be telling Turkey to do whatever you need to do to protect innocent
people. Also notice there is no mention of people injured.

TSB said...

I'm not sure Turkey has to be restrained by the U.S. They just might not want to engage with Syria. Who would want to fight a big opponent who has nothing to lose?

James said...

I think Turkey just can't decide which way to jump and Assad is trying to help them.