November 19, 2012

“Yes, the White House knows who changed Rice’s talking points”AEI

Marc Thiessen:

Fox News reports that intelligence officials told members of Congress they do not know who changed Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points on Benghazi to remove references to al Qaeda for her five Sunday show appearances:

Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.

“To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. … I’d say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out,” King told Fox News. “That, to me, has to be pursued.”

Indeed it does, and the identity of the individual (or individuals) who changed Rice’s talking points is entirely knowable. After spending five years in the White House, I can say with certainty that it is virtually impossible to anonymously edit official talking points.

When a document makes its way through the White House, there is a process for collecting and making suggested edits. When it is a White House generated document, it goes through a rigorous staffing process. The White House Staff Secretary sends the document out for comments, collects all the edits, and shares them with the speechwriters, who either make or do not make the changes. Every comment and edit to every draft is saved. When talking points or statements related to national security are generated outside the White House — especially when they are for a coordinated series of Sunday show appearances made at the request of the White House — the National Security Council runs a similar process, circulating the draft for comments and collecting all the edits and changes.

In other words, there is a trail of bread crumbs somewhere in the bowels of the Obama White House — a series of drafts with “tracked changes” and the names of those who made them. The Obama administration may choose not to share those drafts with Congress or the American people, but they exist. It is simply implausible that Rice’s talking points were mysteriously and anonymously changed.

Saxby Chambliss, Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee,  says the changes came directly from the White House.  But chances are the document trail is now tucked in a lock box with Obama’s school transcripts, his New Party membership info, and the master of the Khalidi tape.

To become the most transparent administration ever, in a post-structuralist, anti-foundationalist epistemological ethos, all one must do is repeatedly insist one is.  The proof is in the repetition, because the repetition creates the perception that in turn sets the reality.  And reality, we all know, is truth.  So. QED.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:18am

Comments (9)

  1. – Something that seems to be getting lost in the fog of all the back and forth should be repeated over and over so the weasles don’t pull a fast one as this plays out.

    – Its not just a matter of “removal”. Thats bullshit. They had to add the video and protest as the center piece to the propaganda.

    – Where did that come from, and who added it.

    – There’s a game going on here where the perps, and the party, and the media, will try to limit it to “removal” of certain terms, and then ckaim that was done for national security porposes.

    – Where did the video/protest story come from, and who added it and who authorised it.

  2. The Obama administration must have a definition of “transparency” that they are not sharing with the rest of us.

  3. We should marvel at what the White House knows. Why, just yesterday we saw the most amazing knowledge issue from Barack Obama himself:

    “If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable,” Obama said. “It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”

    I’ve never seen such raw genius before. Like, ever.

  4. – Yeh, that’s simply awesomer than anything.

    – What an incredible leaderer.

  5. Are we to believe that some part of our federal government aren’t under the control of the President.

    Are we supposed to believe that George W. Bush still (or some other unknown entity) runs the Departments of Defense and State, and only the White House is under the control of President Obama ?

  6. It seems that ol Obama has a great deal of chutzpa. First he says that Ms Rice was sent out on the talk show circuit at the behest of the White House (AND IT WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE!), then he has the White House claim that it didn’t change the talking points.

    I’d like to meet this White House and kick him in the junk to see if it hurts.

  7. Neo, Obama only controls — from minute to minute — what it is politically advantageous for him to control. He knew nothing about F&F yet was able to shield documents about it under executive privilege.

  8. Sources: DNI [Clapper] cut “al Qaeda” reference from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off

    Of course this was said a month ago by Sen. Feinstein, so really this news is just confirmation.

  9. After reading that CBS piece I can say that they, the administration, are trying to have their cake and eat it too.