'Scrubbing the truth from Benghazi'
A headline from some rabid right wing site? A statement by a fringe conservative?
Wrong on both counts. One of the best political reporters in the country, Ron Fournier, writing in the respected National Journal, skewers the administration for "playing politics with Benghazi":
Politics: It would be naïve to expect any White House to ignore the political implications of a foreign policy crisis occurring two months before a presidential election. But there is a reason why no White House admits to finessing a tragedy: It's unseemly. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland injected politics into the U.S. response to Benghazi when she raised objections to draft "talking points" being prepared for Rice's television appearances.
One paragraph, drafted by the CIA, referenced the agency's warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months prior to the attack, as well as extremists linked to the al-Qaida affiliate Ansar al-Sharia. In an email to officials at the White House and intelligence agencies, Nuland said the information "could be abused by members (of Congress) to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned ..."
The paragraph was deleted. The truth was scrubbed.
Credibility: The White House has long maintained that the talking points were drafted almost exclusively by the CIA, a claim that gave cover to both President Obama and his potential successor, Clinton. "Those talking points originated from the intelligence community," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in November, adding that the only editing by the White House or the State Department was to change the word "consulate" to "diplomatic facility." The emails prove him wrong. Significant edits to the talking points were discussed at the White House the day before Rice's appearance on five Sunday shows, said the official familiar with Nuland's thinking, who added that she did not attend the meeting. As I wrote yesterday ("Why Benghazi is a Blow to Obama and Clinton"), Obama has earned the trust of most Americans but credibility is a fragile thing.
Founrier recommends that the administration take a "page from the scandal ridden Clinton administration" and release all documents on Benghazi before the GOP does. If they do, it will no doubt lead to other questions about the response to the attacks - questions that Obama may not want to be asked.
Read Fournier's entire piece.