There's an "open investigation" underway, you must understand, so they're "not going to be in a position" to talk to reporters about the who, what, where, when, or why of the disastrous security meltdown that left four US diplomats and two servicemen killed in Benghazi:
The State Department told reporters Friday afternoon that it won't answer any more questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans until the investigation into the incident is complete. "I'm going to frustrate all of you, infinitely, by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this this happened -- not who they were, not how it happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it -- until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that's its got," State Department spokeswoman Victorian Nuland told reporters late Friday afternoon. "So I'm going to send to the FBI for those kinds of questions and they're probably not going to talk to you about it," she said. All aspects of the attack, including what led up to it, its causes, the identity of the perpetrators, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and the other three Americans, are off limits for reporters.
No word on whether State Department officials will remain available to discuss their favorite type of chili peppers. I suppose the press -- and the American people -- will have to rely on national security leaks to ascertain any of this information now that the flow of information has been formally shut down. Given this White House's track record, those shouldn't be too hard to come by. Meanwhile, I'll simply point out a few ironies: In light of the revelation that Barack Obama has been skipping the majority of his daily intelligence briefings, the White House's go-to excuse has been essentially, "no worries, he gets all of the same information in written memos." What was the White House's excuse when we learned that Eric Holder received briefing memos on Fast & Furious long before the date he'd testified under oath that he first learned of the deadly operation? "Oh, come on, we don't actually read all of our memos." So memo briefings are sufficient, except when they're not. Finally, I've been meaning to post this clip all week. Now seems to be a good time to do so. The whole thing is fantastic, but considering the subject matter of this post, pay special attention to Obama's transparency preening:
So much for that "touchstone," huh? In fairness, not all sensitive information can or should be made public. The question we need to ask is whether the Obama State Department is freezing out media inquiries into the Benghazi massacre because the answers to such questions genuinely compromise national security interests, or because they're trying to insulate the White House from the political fallout of their lethal fumble.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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