Ben Rhodes at center of plan to whitewash White House on Benghazi
We finally know who orchestrated the phony story that an internet video was behind the Benghazi attack. From Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.” Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” a possible kidnap attempt.
Of course, the White House has stonewalled investigators for many months who thought there was a coordinated White House plan to lie to the American people regarding the Benghazi attack to reinforce the campaign narrative that Al Qaeda had been decimated. Instead of honestly depicting the attack on Benghazi as a terror attack, the White House came up with a story that it was an unplanned attack prompted by a video that barely anyone had ever seen.
When the video story was shown to be false, I speculated that Ben Rhodes, Obama’s speechwriter turned into Deputy National Security Adviser, likely played a key role in trying to convey a lie. He had a history of creating false narratives, as covered in “Ben Rhodes: Obama’s Fixer Behind the Benghazi Cover-up”.
The Judicial Watch report confirms that well-founded suspicion:
The Rhodes email was sent on sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 8:09 p.m. with the subject line: “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” The documents show that the “prep” was for Amb. Rice’s Sunday news show appearances to discuss the Benghazi attack.
The document lists as a “Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
Rhodes returns to the “Internet video” scenario later in the email, the first point in a section labeled “Top-lines”:
[W]e’ve made our views on this video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it. We reject its message and its contents. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence. And we are working to make sure that people around the globe hear that message.
Among the top administration PR personnel who received the Rhodes memo were White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, then-White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, then-White House Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, then-National Security Council Director of Communications Erin Pelton, Special Assistant to the Press Secretary Howli Ledbetter, and then-White House Senior Advisor and political strategist Davie Plouffe.
The Rhodes communications strategy email also instructs recipients to portray Obama as “steady and statesmanlike” throughout the crisis. Another of the “Goals” of the PR offensive, Rhodes says, is “[T]o reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.” He later includes as a PR “Top-line” talking point:
I think that people have come to trust that President Obama provides leadership that is steady and statesmanlike. There are always going to be challenges that emerge around the world, and time and again, he has shown that we can meet them.
For years I have wondered why Rhodes had achieved such influence with Obama-given a clear lack of qualification to serve any role in the upper reaches of government. Now we know it is not sycophancy alone that worked for him. Nor is it just the fact that his brother heads CBS News (which recently par ted company with Sharyl Attkisson following her persistent investigative reporting on Benghazi). It goes beyond those factors: he will do his boss’s bidding, hiding information, manipulating the facts, distract people: the truth and the American people be damned.
Undoubtedly he shared Hillary Clinton’s view: what difference, at this point, does it make?