Last week, Fox News released e-mails pertaining to Susan Rice’s Sunday news appearances after the Benghazi attack in 2012. Fox News obtained the e-mails, written by White House aide Ben Rhodes (whose brother is CBS President David Rhodes), an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, from Conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch through a Freedom of Information Act claim.
The e-mails indicate that former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice was coached to focus on an obscure video called “The Innocents of the Muslims” to distract attention from Obama’s weak foreign police. They were retroactively designated as “SECRET” by the State Department in February
The same email, with the names of the sender and recipients redacted, that was released to the House Oversight Committee is marked “Confidential.” Both are marked to “DECLASSIFY” on Sept. 13, 2037 — 25 years after the terrorist attack which killed four Americans.
According to Fox News, “During those [Sunday talk show] interviews, Rice erroneously blamed the attack on protests over an anti-Islam film. New emails indicate a White House adviser helped prep her for those appearances and pushed the “video” explanation — and now, the White House is facing credibility questions after having downplayed their role in Rice’s “talking points.”
“The Rhodes e-mail, with the subject line: ‘RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET,’ was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Carney.
“In the e-mail, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.
“The email lists the following two goals, among others:
‘To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.’
‘To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.’
“Republican critics, who have long claimed the administration’s narrative was politically motivated, pointed to that email as a ‘smoking gun.’”
During a heated briefing with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly tried to claim that the so-called “prep call” with Rice — as it was described in one email — was not about Benghazi. The prep session, he said, was just about the demonstrations elsewhere in the Muslim world that week.
“It is not about Benghazi — it is about the protests around the Muslim world,” Carney claimed.
“The White House has said all along that Rice relied on the best available intelligence, from the intelligence community, when she discussed the Benghazi attack.
“But Carney insisted that the Rhodes email was distinct from the intelligence community talking points in that it referred to preparing Rice for questions about the protests elsewhere.
“’They were about the general situation in the Muslim world,’’ Carney said, going so far as to read headlines from stories at the time that highlighted those protests — underscoring that they were a big news story at the time.
“House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a statement Wednesday night saying, ‘Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi, and this White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to mislead, obstruct, and obscure what actually took place.
“During the week of the Benghazi attack, protests had broken out by U.S. embassies in several countries in Africa and the Middle East, including intense demonstrations in Cairo. But by the time of Rice’s Sunday show appearances, the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other
Americans in Benghazi was the dominant story — Carney faced skepticism in the briefing room in claiming that the Rhodes email was not referring, at least in large part, to that.
Further, the document sent to Judicial Watch was released in response to a request for records pertaining to Benghazi.
And the same memo was sent to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, likewise, following a subpoena seeking Benghazi documents.
“The ‘video’ explanation, though, was not only coming from the White House. Late on Sept. 11, 2012, when the attack was still going on, Hillary Clinton’s State Department issued a statement that read: ‘Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to an inflammatory material posted on the internet. … let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.’
That was last week. Yesterday, Fox News reported that there were difference between the e-mails released through the federal courts to Judicial Watch and to those released to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as part of its investigation into the attacks.
“The discrepancies are fueling allegations the administration is holding back documents to Congress.
“The emails published by Judicial Watch last week, which showed additional White House involvement in shaping the public explanation of what happened, helped trigger the announcement Friday by House Speaker John Boehner of a select committee to investigate.”
Was it that difficult for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to distinguish between a series of admittedly violent demonstrations and the murder of a U.S. ambassador and the firebombing of the Benghazi site? If they were already preparing press statements regarding the protests, why wasn’t the State Department securing its embassies and consulates in the Middle East, and particularly in Libya, where the main action was occurring?
A Jerusalem Post article quoted a local police chief with anti-American sentiments as saying that the protest he was leading was in response to this video. But the attack on the Benghazi property was a sophisticated operation, requiring premeditated surveillance of the building and prior knowledge of the ambassador’s movements. Surely, if anyone knew that Benghazi was dangerous and that violent protests were occurring, it was Ambassador Stevens?
We should not be surprised at anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Our own “leader” is anti-American. We’ve only uncovered the tip of the iceberg on Benghazi. According to Walid Shoebat, a guest on today’s Michael Savage program, suggested that the producer of the anti-Muslim video was either an FBI agent or informant and that Benghazi occurred with the full knowledge of the White House.
An investigation into Watergate, where no one was killed, didn’t take this long, and at the end, threatened with impeachment, Pres. Nixon resigned. That won’t happen in this case, not with a Democrat-controlled Senate and a press as willing to protect this president as the previous press was willing to excoriate the other.