Terry Paulson

Just what deserves coverage in the mainline media today? The hateful words of Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the courageous stand by NBA players and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver are top of mind on every channel. Let's add coverage of the deadly tornadoes and developments in Ukraine. But what of the new evidence of the Obama administration's involvement in a Benghazi cover-up? What cover-up you ask?

Only Fox News and a few dedicated journalists have been on top of the newly disclosed email by Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. The critical line in the declassified email was previously redacted in copies sent to the Congressional committees looking into the Benghazi attack.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham calls the Rhodes memo a “smoking gun” backing charges that the Obama administration covered up its security and policy failures by knowingly and falsely blaming the "spontaneous" attack on demonstrations over an offensive, low-budget YouTube video.

Thanks to the legal actions initiated by Judicial Watch using the Freedom of Information Act, the newly released declassified emails clearly suggest that top-ranking Obama administration officials coordinated the inaccurate talking points. The email dated September 14, 2012 with subject line stating “RE: PREP Call with Susan...." instructed Susan Rice on what to stress on the critical Sunday morning political talk shows--“underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

The Rhodes email was also sent to Jay Carney and is in obvious contradiction of the narrative the press secretary has consistently shared that the talking points came from the intelligence agencies and were not shaped by the Obama administration. His new claims that this email was not about Benghazi are laughable.

We know that the FBI and CIA immediately denied contributing to the talking points. The Congressional testimony of CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell confirmed that the CIA never brought up the video as a possible factor in the Benghazi attacks. In his public testimony, Morell revealed how he and others at CIA confirmed on Sept. 14th that there appeared to be no protest on the ground. A day later, the CIA's station chief sent an email reinforcing that the attack was not preceded by a protest.

If intelligence was not involved, the talking points in this email were inserted either by the state department or the White House staff. Due to the gravity of the situation and the loss of life, there is no way Ben Rhodes came up with this statement on his own without oversight from those higher up in the administration.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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