An important follow-up to my post yesterday summarizing Jay Carney's tussle with ABC News' Jonathan Karl about newly-released smoking gun emails on Benghazi: The White House spokesman's central claim was that the key document was not, in fact, about Benghazi. He repeated that claim again today, over and over again, while attacking Republicans for "conspiracy theories." The administration had previously stated that the White House and State Department had made zero substantive changes to Susan Rice's talking points, which she deployed on all five Sunday morning talk shows on September 16, 2012 -- five days after the deadly attacks. Remember, the CIA, the State Department, and other US officials knew with certainty that the raid had been a coordinated terrorist attack within hours of its conclusion. Yet Rice went on national television days later and spun the 'online video' yarn. Carney's assertion was that Rice's Benghazi guidance came from the CIA, not the White House. Problem: Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell testified definitively last month that the Agency never produced intelligence to that effect, while the freshly-unearthed Rhodes email points directly to White House interference along those exact lines. Caught in an obvious lie, Carney leaned on the preposterous claim mentioned above; that the Rhodes email was unrelated to Benghazi -- a statement we've picked apart.
We also noted that both President Obama and Secretary Clinton told victims' families that "the reason [the attacks] happened was the video." Those false explanations occurred at the September 14th memorial event, two days prior to Rice's testimony, and the same day that Rhodes sent his email. Clinton even referenced the video during her eulogy. Rhodes' missive went out later that evening. So tying the internet video to Benghazi -- which, again, didn't come from the CIA -- was quite plainly a core element of the White House's messaging strategy vis-a-vis the attacks. In fact, guess who else made that explicit connection on that very same day? Surprise (via @Morgen):
"These protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region...we have no information to suggest that it was a pre-planned attack."
Yes they did. They had loads of precisely that sort of information. See the links above. Nevertheless, Carney chose to go the video route, as did his boss. Now he's trying to say that citing the video, as laid out in Ben Rhodes' email, wasn't a White House talking point...even though he himself used it that same day. C'mon. I'll leave you with a mystified Bret Baier trying to articulate how ridiculous this new story is: