Turns out the press got played again by Republicans. Jake Tapper has the smoking gun of the original email from the Obama administration which differs significantly from the “leaked emails” ABC ran with.
In an exclusive for CNN, Tapper reveals that CNN has the original email sent by a top Obama aide, regarding the administration’s reaction to the Benghazi attacks. Tapper reported, “The actual email differs from how sources characterized it to two different media organizations.”
“The actual email from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes appears to show that whomever (sic) leaked it did so in a way that made it appear that the White House primarily concerned with the State Department’s desire to remove references and warnings about specific terrorist groups so as to not bring criticism to the department,” Tapper concludes (my bold).
The email was sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 9:34 p.m. and was obtained by CNN from a U.S. government source. Ironically, the email points out that there is a “ton of wrong information” coming from Congress and people who are not particularly informed (waving hello to Congressional Republicans and Mitt Romney):
“Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.
“We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.”
Read the full email here.
Tapper notes how ABC and the Weekly Standard covered the leaked emails, which were “paraphrased” “inaccurately” and “inventing the notion” that the White House tried to protect the State Department:
Whoever provided those quotes and paraphrases did so inaccurately, seemingly inventing the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment. Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department’s concerns.
Previous reporting also misquoted Rhodes as saying the group would work through the talking points at the deputies meeting on Saturday, September 15, when the talking points to Congress were finalized. While the previously written subject line of the email mentions talking points, Rhodes only addresses misinformation in a general sense.
Tapper condemned the leaker as having the agenda to make the White House look like they were protecting the State Department.
This is why we do not run with these stories when they first come out. Consistently over Obama’s first term, we found that when the facts come out later (as I pointed out in the new shiny ball IRS scandal story), it has turned out that the stories were being planted in the press. The information was wrong. There was an agenda afloat.
What is even worse for Republicans is that the real email expresses dismay at the uninformed spreading bullcrap. The only people screaming bullcrap about Benghazi were Republicans who sought to use it to win an election.
Another day, another conspiracy debunked. Now, when will the press stop falling for this crap? Note to the media, the next time a “Republican congressional aide” or unnamed source has a smoking gun OMG!!11!!! Nixon Bush scandal, you might want to find a back up source, and get the original documents before being Breitbarted by edited emails/videos/etc.
Will the media apologize to Obama and Clinton? Will the leaker be outed? Will an investigation be set up to find out who misled the public on such a serious matter? We await House Republicans investigating themselves to stop the misinformation leaks.
Update 7:44PM EST: Jonathan Karl, who wrote the original ABC story in which he claimed to have reviewed the actual emails, now admits that he did not read the actual emails, but rather was “quoting verbatim a source who reviewed the original documents and shared detailed notes.” As Media Matters notes, Karl’s original report read, “White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.” The emails were not actually reviewed by ABC News.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.