Major Garrett of CBS outed Republicans as the source behind the edited Benghazi emails that ABC News used to smear the Obama administration.
CBS summed it up:
Republicans have charged that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was trying to protect itself from criticism. The White House released the real emails late Wednesday. Here’s what we found when we compared them to the quotes that had been provided by Republicans.
One email was written by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.
On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes: “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
But it turns out that in the actual email, Rhodes did not mention the State Department.
It read: “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
Republicans also provided what they said was a quote from an email written by State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland.
The Republican version quotes Nuland discussing, “The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.”
The actual email from Nuland says: “The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
Sure, this is hardly a surprise, but there is a vast difference between suspecting something and having it established as fact. It’s worth noting, because it matters that Republicans were the lying leak.
The GOP had the original emails, as reported by Mother Jones on Monday. The Republican interim report included the correct version of the emails:
In that April interim report on Benghazi (which Buck noted)*, the House Republicans cited these emails (in footnotes 56 and 57) to note an important point: “State Department emails reveal senior officials had ‘serious concerns’ about the talking points, because Members of Congress might attack the State Department for ‘not paying attention to Agency warnings’ about the growing threat in Benghazi.”
(*Brendan Buck is John Boehner’s press secretary)
This means that Republicans altered the emails on purpose in order to fit their narrative.
Jason Easley pointed out for Politicus yesterday that Obama releasing the emails killed the GOP scandal. Yes, it sure did, because the emails never said what Republicans claimed they did. It may have opened a much more disturbing Republican scandal, though, since deliberately lying to the press in order to sell propaganda is a violation of the very principles of democracy.
Why are Republicans refusing to allow public testimony by the co-chairs of the Benghazi report? The answer is that their testimony does not fit the propaganda Republicans are selling. This should alarm the public. It is unacceptable.
Who is going to investigate Republicans to find the lying leak? We’ve wasted months on their lies, and untold amounts of taxpayer money. Still, the press never learns to exercise a wee bit of caution when a Republican comes calling with tall tales that somehow manage to paint Obama as being Bush and Nixon.
The press might want to ask to see the next briefing/email a Republican “describes” to them before reporting it as fact. Just a heads up.
The next time a Republican tells the press that they are on another witch hunt just to get to the “truth”, you might want to ask them why they aren’t trying to find the lying leaker or letting the public see the actual testimony of the experts on Benghazi.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
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 is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.