Ben Rhodes: Obama's Fixer behind the Benghazi Cover-Up
Barack Obama's "Tower of Fabrications," as Peter Wehner describes the Benghazi scandal, is beginning to crack. And that crack will soon reveal a central figure behind the cover-up, a man close to Barack Obama for years but generally unknown to the public: Ben Rhodes.
Rhodes has risen from being an obscure and failed fiction writer to formulating foreign and national security policy for Obama precisely because he is willing to his superiors' bidding regardless of facts. He has a history of using whatever talents he has with the pen to do so.
A few years ago he had drafted the Iraq Study Group report on the causes and mishaps of the Iraq War to focus on Israel -- despite the fact that Israel was not part of the scope of the mission the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group was given. Witnesses and experts called by the Committee were appalled. Why did Rhodes distort the record? He seemingly was doing the bidding of his masters who have a history of animus towards Israel. Rhodes had attended Rice University, where the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is housed; it was headed by Edward Djerejian. Both Baker and his friend Djerejian (a former Ambassador to Syria) have pro-Arab records; criticism of and pressure towards Israel have been hallmarks of their careers. Both Baker and Djerejian played key roles in choosing whom to hire for the Iraq Study Group and how the work was done.
Rhodes may also just be indulging his own pro-Muslim sympathies. He wrote Obama's infamous Cairo Speech. That paean to the Muslim world was filled with fulsome praise of Islam that were factually incorrect (Rhodes' post-graduate education, after all, was in fiction-writing and under Obama he seems to have finally found someone who will pay him for writing fiction). The speech avoided references to radical Islam and was filled with platitudes about Islam. The speech highlighted a tougher line towards Israel and "credited" that nation's founding as due to European guilt over the Holocaust (ignoring 5000 years of history).
Rhodes has gone from writing reports and drafting speeches to playing a key role in formulating foreign and national security policy, according to the New York Times. His closeness to Obama -- a man known for his aloofness ("he doesn't like people" says a former aide) has become well-known.
There is a reason Rhodes is close to Obama.
Everyone in power needs a fixer and, according to the latest revelations, Ben Rhodes is Obama's fixer.
Rhodes seems to be proud of his role. Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller notes that Rhodes "identifies himself first and foremost as a strategist and mouthpiece for the president's agenda" whose, quoting Rhodes, "main job, which has always been my job, is to be the person who represents the president's view on these issues"
When State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland requested changes to the original CIA talking points to eliminate reports regarding warnings of the upcoming attacks who responded positively to her wishes? Ben Rhodes.
Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard (The Benghazi Scandal Grows:
The CIA's talking points, the ones that went out that Friday evening, were distributed via email to a group of top Obama administration officials. Forty-five minutes after receiving them, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed concerns about their contents, particularly the likelihood that members of Congress would criticize the State Department for "not paying attention to Agency warnings." CIA officials responded with a new draft, stripped of all references to Ansar al Sharia.
In an email a short time later, Nuland wrote that the changes did not "resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership." She did not specify whom she meant by State Department "building leadership." Ben Rhodes, a top Obama foreign policy and national security adviser, responded to the group, explaining that Nuland had raised valid concerns and advising that the issues would be resolved at a meeting of the National Security Council's Deputies Committee the following morning.
As Charles Krauthammer noted, Rhodes had written in an email he wanted the revisions to reflect all the "equities" of the various departments involved in the Benghazi story -- not reflect the truth but the "equities" (a Washington euphemism for reputations). Truth ended up on the cutting room floor.
This report was backed up by other journalists.
As Kevin Robillard wrote at Politico,"Terror References removed from Benghazi talking points":
Nuland was backed up by 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," Rhodes wrote. "We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting."
After the meeting Rhodes mentioned, all references to Al Qaeda were deleted.
Hayes outlines what happened next:
Mike Morell, deputy director of the CIA, agreed to work with Jake Sullivan and Rhodes to edit the talking points. At the time, Sullivan was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department's director of policy planning; he is now the top national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.
It is highly doubtful that Morell, the deputy director of the CIA, a career official (not an Obama appointee), found this work comfortable or rewarding.
After all, he was being "asked" to distort the CIA's original report -- to eliminate references to Islamic terrorism, to delete warnings of an organized attack to come, to shield the Obama administration and cover-up the Benghazi disaster, a problem that would have plagued Barack Obama in the run-up to the election.
Then CIA-director David Petraeus was reportedly appalled at the revisions forced upon them by Team Obama (recall the constant references during the Bush era about the "politicizing of intelligence"?). He was particularly frustrated over the deleted references to terrorism.
So who pushed for such a radical alteration of the CIA talking points, who has a history of writing reports, drafting speeches, doing his bosses bidding regardless of ethics and fealty to facts, and who has a record of indulging in pro-Islam messaging? None other than Ben Rhodes.
Journalists have just begun to focus on his role.
James Rosen, the Fox News Washington correspondent, reported Friday night on the Bret Baier show, that the Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes at the White House was an early participant in the process of rewriting the CIA talking points and he lined up with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a "way that served to accelerate the scrubbing of the talking points".
Coincidentally (or not) Ben Rhodes's brother, David Rhodes, is the head of CBS News. One of the most dogged journalists trying to peel away the covers behind the Benghazi scandal has been CBS journalist Sharyl Atkinson. She has had to endure pressure from liberal journalistic colleagues to stop digging. Politico reports that "network sources" say that she "can't get some of her stories on the air."
The coercion may be going into overdrive as the investigations gets closer to fingering Ben Rhodes as the key player behind the Benghazi cover-up. According to Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller, CBS News may be on the verge of firing Atkinson.
Furthermore, Ben Rhodes is married to Ann Norris, senior foreign and defense advisor to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California). One might with some justification expect Sen. Boxer to run interference for Ben Rhodes should investigations begin to focus on his role in the Benghazi scandal.
Congress, or rather the Republican-held House since Harry Reid would never permit any truth-finding by the Democrat Senate, needs to step up the pace of their investigations, issue subpoenas, and call witnesses. America (and the wounded and dead victims and the family and friends who survive them) deserves to know the truth behind Benghazi.
And among those witnesses should be Ben Rhodes. Perhaps being forced to swear he will tell the truth will finally cause him to abandon fiction.