Quotes of the day

White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed a GOP special committee tasked with investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack as illegitimate and accused conservatives of stoking “conspiracy theories” about the Obama administration’s reaction to the Sept. 11, 2012, strike.

“There is a problem when you have so many conspiracy theories that get knocked down by the facts and yet, the adherents to those theories only become more convinced that the facts aren’t what they so clearly are,” Carney said, calling the special committee “so partisan in nature.”

Carney went on to criticize the “information loop” on Benghazi, saying that Republicans and “certain media outlets” were fueling a false narrative on the attack that killed four Americans.


The anti-Islamic YouTube video the White House used to explain the origin of the attacks is “not the most important” of the questions about Benghazi, Will said. America’s presence in Libya, the security concerns in Benghazi, and the military response to the attacks, he said, all seem more important.

He doesn’t believe that Democrats will participate in the select committee on the issue that Speaker John Boehner announced this past week.

“By boycotting this, it just becomes a redundant, obviously partisan Republican exercise,” Will said. “It’s only a matter of time before Democrats raise the following question: Would there be a select committee if it didn’t want to have the power to subpoena the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for reasons obviously pertaining to presidential politics?”


The Rhodes email, in truth, did little but to lay out an unsurprising and fairly standard strategy for prepping Rice for her TV interviews later that week on Benghazi and other issues. But, innocuous as it was, that didn’t stop the Benghazi-Industrial Complex (call it the BIC, for short) from resurrecting its favorite term: “smoking gun.” “If this is not a smoking gun, proving beyond any doubt, the story told by the administration about Benghazi was politically motivated and fabricated, nothing will ever prove that,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has been eagerly trying to shore up his conservative credentials to fend off a Tea Party challenger. Rush Limbaugh declared on his radio show that “the memo shows that there was a massive cover-up.”

Let’s face it: The BIC is here to stay, fueled by a mania on the right to somehow, in some way, validate Issa’s declaration that Obama is the “one of the most corrupt presidents of modern times” and, above all, to tarnish Clinton ahead of 2016 by linking the former secretary of state directly to the deaths of Stevens and the others. “Which is Hillary Clinton’s worst scandal?” asked a Tea-Party affiliated site, TownHall.com, conveniently providing boxes to allow participants to check-mark an episode from “her shady history”: Benghazi, Vince Foster, Whitewater or Travelgate. Another Tea Party site went further still, headlining a recent thread, “Hillary Clinton: The Butcher of Benghazi?” and illustrating it with a photoshopped image of her holding up bloody hands. “Someone tweets about Benghazi every 12 seconds. Not every 12 days or every 12 minutes, but every 12 seconds,” National Journal recorded last week, citing the social-media tracking firm Topsy. In the past 30 days, Benghazi and Clinton have been mentioned almost in unison on Twitter, with the former earning 219,325 mentions to Hillary’s 219,163. Benghazi has, in effect, become Hillary’s social-media twin, at least among conservatives…

That doesn’t add up to much of a scandal. But it’s already too late for the truth. Benghazi has taken on a cultural life of its own on the right. It has become embedded in the Democratic demonology of the conservative base. It is now shorthand for a new generation of right-wing conspiracy-theorizing about the Clintons that Republican candidates know will excite conservative voters; Benghazi has become to the 2010s what Vince Foster and Whitewater were to the 1990s.


“I have evidence that, not only are they hiding it, there is an intent to hide it,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Greta van Susteren on FOX News. “I can’t disclose that evidence yet, but I have evidence that there was a systematic, intentional decision to withhold certain documents from Congress. And we’re just sick of it. So we’re gonna have him come explain why we’re getting documents 20 months late.”

“If you want to have Greg Hicks and the station chief from Tripoli and Hillary Clinton all sitting at the same table, you need to have a committee that has the power to do that. And a select committee would have that power,” Gowdy said on Friday.


Harman equated the Benghazi talking points to other absurd conspiracy theories, prompting a large eye roll from Hume.

“You’re right, there wasn’t a conspiracy in the United States to mount the Benghazi attack,” Hume said. ”That’s not the question. The question was whether in the aftermath of the attack, when the administration sent its U.N. ambassador out to explain it to everybody, and she did so falsely, that there wasn’t a conspiracy to create the false talking points that she used. I’m not talking about the CIA talking points, I’m talking about the talking points used on that program that day, which were monumentally misleading, that since have been shown to be false, and based on no intelligence of any consequence that we know of.”

Hume pressed Harman to name a single person in the administration who credibly believed that the Benghazi attack was connected to an anti-Islam video. Predictably, she could not do so.


The facts about Benghazi have been clear to anyone willing to see them, as those Autumn 2012 columns of mine illustrate. But the American people were disinclined to see them – like the dysfunctional rural family in that Sam Shepard play where everyone knows there’s a baby buried in the backyard but they’ve all agreed not to talk about it.

Well, Benghazi’s a long way away. Who cares? It’s not like Washington’s Libya policy makes any difference to the average guy in Des Moines, is it? Ah, but if you swallow Benghazi you’re not really in any position to complain about the IRS or if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-it or whatever’s next down the pike, are you? Healthy political cultures punish the first lie – because otherwise it never stops.

And this wasn’t a small lie. It was a bold, audacious lie on a date the American people are supposed to hold in sacred memory: 9/11. Nixon lied about a “third-rate burglary”. But, as I told Hugh Hewitt earlier today, nobody died at Watergate. There weren’t four bodies left on the floor. And the Administration didn’t attempt to pin the quadruple murder on some other fellow entirely.

But that’s exactly what the Obama crowd did.

Was it worth it? Silly question. For these guys, it’s always worth it.


“The key words they use, such as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘delusional,’ are in my opinion clearly designed to try to controversialize a story — a legitimate news story and a legitimate area of journalistic inquiry,” Attkisson submitted.

“To some degree, that’s successful,” she added. “But I think primarily among those that don’t want to look at this as a story in the first place.”


“Who cares? Who cares?” Beckel continued. “Average Americans today, they are not sitting there today and saying, ‘Gee, I wonder what happened with Benghazi.’” As the other hosts started to push back, he said, “We’ve overkilled this. The Republicans are using this purely and simply for political reasons.”


He cried, “Get the f*** outta here with Benghazi! It’s a tiny little f***ing thing, man! ‘Oh, they changed it from ‘attacks’ to ‘demonstrations.’ Who gives a f*** about that?! Move the f*** on already, man!”

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