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May 17, 2013 08:04 AM UTC

Benghazi Scandal Upended By Falsified Emails?

  • by: Colorado Pols

As CBS News reported last night, a story that could dramatically change the narrative of Republican attacks on the Obama administration over handling of the attack on a consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

The Benghazi attack is a political controversy. Republicans claim the administration watered down the facts in talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for television appearances while Obama was running for re-election. Republicans on Capitol Hill claimed they found proof in White House emails that they leaked to reporters last week. It turns out some of the quotes were wrong… [Pols emphasis]

On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from [deputy national security adviser Ben] Rhodes: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation."

But it turns out that in the actual email, Rhodes did not mention the State Department.

It read: "We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation."

TPM's Josh Marshall comments on the journalistic significance of this:

Generally, once partisan, tendentious sources leak information that turns out to be wrong, nothing’s ever done about it. That’s for many reasons, some good or somewhat understandable, mostly bad. But on CBS Evening News tonight, Major Garrett did something I don’t feel like I’ve seen in a really long time or maybe ever on a network news cast. He basically said straight out: Republicans told us these were the quotes, that wasn’t true.

In another example cited by CBS News, Republican sources appear to have added references to Al Qaeda that didn't previously exist. The changes in question, once compared to the original emails released yesterday, significantly worsen the relevant quotes in terms of implying the GOP's desired frame of a "cover-up."

If Republicans really altered these emails before releasing them to the press to make them fit their accusations, it would be an astonishing new low point for their credibility. To be honest, this seems like such a brazenly deceptive act–and risky, given the existence of the original emails–that we'd like to see some further investigation of the facts before we start tossing around accusations of our own too freely.

But needless to say, not a positive development for the old second-term scandal factory.


10 thoughts on “Benghazi Scandal Upended By Falsified Emails?

  1. Guys, it's happened in Colorado too. In 2008, Republicans slipped a fake memo that referred to "educating the idiots" into a number of documents that were authentic leaks from Democratic 527s. When the facts aren't enough, they are NOT above embellishing them.

    Like Dudley Brown and Matt Arnold's resumes, and Scott McInnis's Musings on Water.

  2. Pretty clear GOP doesn't care about credibility.  They seem to have made the decision that they have no chance at the demos they need long term without losing out with the monster wacko fringe they've nurtured in the short term. That leaves them with nothing but a strategy that combines gerrymandering, complete obstructionism, energizing their wacko base as much as possible while doing everything they can to suppress the vote among the demos they know they can't get.

    In that context, easily exposed lies aren't all that risky.  Where Benghazi is concerned,  in particular, the general public isn't paying much attention but in their Fox/Limbaugh centric universe they can generate a lot of outrage and energy with this stuff among people who have no use for facts that interfere with their conspiracy theories anyway. Among those who do care about facts they lost any claim to credibility so long ago, that's water under the bridge. Pointless to worry about it at this late date.

    All of this makes blatant, easily exposed deception worth a shot from the GOP point of view.


    1. Rep Darrell Issa will probably launch an investigation into who in the Obama Administration foisted the faked memos onto unsuspecting Republican plumbers that then leaked them to the press.

  3. Hmm. I have a feeling that ArapaGOrP and his fellow sheep won't have any trouble with this. While it was a bad, terrible, awful thing that there was a faked fitness report on George W. Bush's service – so bad that it proved, proved I tells ya, that the liberal media bias is biased liberally – this faked email will just end up being the result of an overzealous underling, and that everything is STILL bad with Benghazi.

    When A-GOrP finally chimes in, he will ignore all our observations and comments and go full tilt boogie with the spin. Can't wait!

    1. Guppy will be here to do his job as soon as they tell him what to say.   My bet is that it'll be something akin to, "What's wrong with a little creative interpretation, when you're trying to get to the bottom of a scandal that took four innocent American Lives?" or some BS like that.

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