Yesterday I wrote about the most significant email that the Obama administration produced in response to a FOIA request by Judicial Watch. It was sent by White House political operative Ben Rhodes to a variety of administration officials whose duties related to PR, not policy. Among the recipients were David Plouffe, Dan Pfeiffer, Dag Vega and Jay Carney. Sent on the Friday before Susan Rice made her infamous tour of the Sunday morning talk shows, it set the talking points for the prep session that the group had scheduled with Rice for Saturday afternoon. Here it is:
This email deals directly with the administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, and should have been produced long ago in response to requests by Congressional committees. Today reporter Jon Karl of ABC asked Carney why the Rhodes email is only now being made public. Carney squirmed painfully, and claimed that the email wasn’t produced because it isn’t about Benghazi, but rather about conditions in the Arab world generally:
Carney’s answer is ridiculous. Of course the email bears more broadly on conditions across the Middle East, but it relates most specifically to Benghazi. Why was Susan Rice appearing on every Sunday morning talk show? Because four Americans were killed in Benghazi. Why was the administration’s top political team gathering to prepare her for those appearances? Because four Americans were killed in Benghazi. Why does the email begin with the stated goal of conveying that the Obama administration is doing everything it can to protect its people abroad? Because four Americans were killed in Benghazi. Why is the group talking about “bringing people who harm Americans to justice”? The only place where Americans were harmed was Benghazi. Obviously, the email relates to Benghazi. And equally obviously, its reference to “underscor[ing] that these protests are rooted in an internet video, and not a broader failure of policy” was intended to deflect blame for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.
Shortly before Rhodes sent his email, Dag Vega circulated promos from the Sunday news shows indicating what would be discussed. These topics were the ones for which Rice needed to be prepared by the political team. This one is ABC’s, a screen shot from Vega’s email:
Which was it, a planned attack by terrorists, or a protest over an internet video? The administration’s top political team, including David Plouffe and Dan Pfeiffer–not to mention Jay Carney himself!–gathered in order to prepare Rice to lie in response to that question.
Carney’s claim that the Rhodes email did not need to be produced because it didn’t have to do with Benghazi is one more in a long series of desperate falsehoods dating back to September 11, 2012, when President Obama and his administration decided it was better to lie to the American people than to risk defeat in the upcoming election.