Honest, Earnest style

To rewrite history the Obama administration is toying with the devices that George Orwell depicted in 1984. The party line that Orwell attributed to Ingsoc provides this rationale: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

Today’s New York Post editorial comes up with another example, this one involving the oxymoronically named White House spokesman Josh Earnest. At the May 9 press briefing, Kevin Corke asked Earnest whether he could state categorically that no senior administration official ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran deal. The White House transcript of Earnest’s answer reads as follows:

Q Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?

MR. EARNEST: Kevin, I think the facts of this agreement and the benefits of this agreement make clear that the national security of the United States of America has been enhanced, and Iran’s effort to acquire a nuclear weapon has been set back. In fact, Iran has now committed to not seeking to acquire to a nuclear weapon, and we can now verify that they’re not able to acquire a nuclear weapon.

It is our critics who either falsely or just wrongly suggested that Iran would never go along with the agreement. They have. They falsely or wrongly suggested that we would never be able to verify through the international community that Iran would abide by the agreement. They have. It is our critics who have suggested that Iran would experience hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits — a financial windfall from this agreement. They have not. In fact, we have seen the Iran government complain about the fact that they haven’t gotten the kind of financial benefits that they expected.

So I recognize that there is an attempt by those who either lied or got it wrong to try to relitigate this fight. But the fact of the matter is, when you take a look at the concrete results of this agreement, Iran is not able to obtain a nuclear weapon; we can verify that their nuclear program is only focused on peaceful purposes; and we have succeeded in making the United States safer, in make Israel safer, and making our partners in the region safer because Iran is not able to obtain a nuclear weapon.

This wasn’t just a priority identified by President Obama. Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon was a priority that was identified by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders in the Gulf that work closely with the United States to advance our national security. That’s the crux of this argument. And the facts indicate that the strategy that the President laid out was remarkably successful.

Q I just want to make sure — I want to give you another run on it, because I’m not sure if you misspoke. I said, can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration ever lied publicly about any aspect of the deal.

MR. EARNEST: There is no evidence that that ever occurred. And what I would encourage you and other critics of the deal to do is to look at the facts and to look at the results. We can verify them now, and the facts are clear.

The White House, however, has sanitized the the transcript. Asked whether he could categorical state that any senior administration official had lied on behalf of the Iran deal, Earnest’s word cloud was preceded by the answer: “No, Kevin.” The Post editorial explains:

“No, Kevin,” Earnest replied, before adding a storm of words to fuzz the issue — including the bizarre claim that “there is no evidence” anyone lied.

Weirder still: Earnest’s original two-word response — “No, Kevin” — was omitted from the official White House transcript.

Asked about that this week, Earnest said it was because his response was inaudible.

But it isn’t: You can clearly hear the words on the official White House video. Earnest might as well have said, Who you gonna believe, me or your lying ears?

To make it all more surreal, Earnest is now refusing to give a direct answer to the same question. He hems, haws and switches subjects; the closest he’ll come is to insist the administration made a “fact-based, accurate, truthful case” about how everyone benefits from the deal.

Read between his lies — er, lines, and it’s plain he’s pretty sure his colleagues did lie.

Which may make him the closest thing to an honest guy to be found on Team Obama.

Earnest’s long-winded answers deserve no credit for honesty. At a time of its choosing the Iranian regime will acquire a nuclear weapon facilitated by funds obtained under the deal. This time will come at the latest when the terms of the deal expire. When the time comes, Iran will have perfected the ballistic missile delivery system that it is now testing with the tacit consent of the Obama administration. Indeed, Obama seems to think it’s a good idea.

In the news this week is the story of the eight-minute gap in the State Department video of Jen Psaki acknowledging the administration’s deception regarding the initiation of negotiations on the deal with the Iranian regime in 2011. This story is related by subject matter and makes an interesting companion to it.