CNN anchor Jake Tapper -- who interviewed Amb. Susan Rice on September 16, 2012 on ABC's This Week -- appeared on Hugh Hewitt's nationally-syndicated radio show last night to discuss the administration's response to newly-disclosed Benghazi emails. Asked about White House spokesman Jay Carney's dishonest and smug performance over the last few days, Tapper offers a cold assessment:
"The comments that are being made [by Carney] are dissembling, obfuscating, and often, you know, insulting.
Tapper's CNN program aired a relatively strong report from correspondent Dana Bash yesterday afternoon, laying out how the email revelations fuel Republicans' accusations of a cover-up, which the White House continues to dismiss as a "conspiracy theory." Click through to watch. I wrote a piece at Hot Air last evening reviewing Carney's most recent sparring match with journalists, in which he repeated specious talking points and fired churlish insults at skeptical reporters. In spite of his sanctimonious deception, Carney's afternoon showing was not the administration's most distasteful media event of the day. Former White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor appeared on Special Report with Bret Baier and truly outdid himself. Vietor somehow managed to make Carney look like a paragon of statesmanlike dignity:
"Dude," Vietor sneered, addressing Baier, "[the Benghazi controversy] was, like, two years ago." That disrespectful and flippant answer would look bad enough if it were simply a case of Vietor losing his cool. Not so. It appears as though it was a rehearsed line, judging by this pre-interview tweet:
Yeah, that terrorist attack that killed four Americans is so old. What a joke that anyone's still talking about it! Appalling. Also of note from the broadcast was Vietor's apparent confirmation that President Obama was not in the White House situation room during the multi-hour Benghazi raid, a previously open and lingering question. It is a matter of record that Obama skipped his daily security briefing the day after the deadly attacks, flying to Las Vegas for a political speech and fundraiser. As for the paramount talking points-related question of how the internet video became entangled with the White House's Benghazi narrative (the CIA says it never offered that assessment), Vietor claimed the faulty linkage came from media reports. What? The CIA says it didn't come from them, and the administration insists it didn't stem from Ben Rhodes' White House talking points that...specifically mentioned the video. No, according to Vietor, it came from obscure media interviews with people on the ground who supposedly mentioned the online video. He even held open the possibility that the attack was somehow rooted in the video, in spite of all the subsequent evidence. Problem: Even if there was some initial confusion and fog of war dissonance, the coordinated terrorism angle was confirmed within hours of the attack -- up and down the US intelligence, diplomatic, and military chains. How were unfounded rumors still embedded in White House talking points days later, after they'd been debunked by the facts?
Move along, paranoiacs, there's nothing to see here.