Allahpundit included this in last night’s QOTD post, but it’s worth a separate look. If you’ve already watched this once, try this thought experiment the second time through. Pretend that the topic isn’t the terrorist attack on Benghazi in 2012, but the WMD case in Iraq in 2003-4. Suddenly, this sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
PIERS MORGAN: The really important horse that should be flogged is the behavior and the statements of those who were in positions of responsibility and, we would assume, knowledge. And it’s pretty un-American, pretty un-American to be putting out completely false statements before you know the facts. Isn’t it?
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Piers, it is not, it is not OK for you to be saying that the administration was putting out completely false statements. They put out information that they had at the time based on the intelligence they were given and then as the days wore on and more…
MORGAN: That turned out to be completely wrong.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, that doesn’t mean it was false.
MORGAN: What??? Now wait a minute. If you put out a false statement, then it’s false, it’s wrong. It’s both of those things.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But you’re suggesting that it’s … Piers, what you’re suggesting is that it was somehow deliberate. It was not deliberate. What they did was it was important to get information out that they had at the time. And they did that. And as they learned more information, they corrected the original information that they put out. But there was nothing sinister here. This was simply the president of the United States and the administration making sure that we did a careful investigation, gave the American people the information that they needed at the time that we had based on our best intelligence and then as more intelligence was gathered we gave the updated information. There is nothing sinister about that.
What’s terrible unfortunate though, is that you do — there’s no around these investigations that Republicans in Congress and Mitt Romney have left to go after the administration questioning whether or not there was any deliberate attempt to mislead. We should be closing ranks, working together to prevent this from happening again.
MORGAN: Well the answer to that Debbie, is — the answer to that is to make sure that the original statements that were made are accurate.
Morgan captures the attack from Democrats in 2003-4 pretty well, right down to the accusations of being “un-American.” There are a couple of differences, though. First, Piers Morgan didn’t actually accuse the White House of lying, just of rushing out with a story that turned out to be undeniably false, which also means wrong. As Jeff Dunetz points out, those two words mean the same thing. It’s the DNC chair who leaps to that conclusion, which might be a Freudian slip.
The other difference is in the timing. The WMD case was made with the best intelligence available before the invasion. This time, the White House pushed the false narrative out for more than a week after the attack, despite the fact that the Obama administration designated it a terrorist attack within the first 24 hours. There is also a 50-minute video taken from the compound that State was watching in real time, a fact noted specifically in yesterday’s hearings, that apparently makes pretty clear the nature of the “spontaneous protest” that UN Ambassador Susan Rice insisted five days later was the catalyst for the attack. State has yet to share that with anyone.
Democrats like Wasserman Schultz were certainly quick to equate wrong with lie in 2003-4. In this case, it’s revealing that she leapt to that same connection before Morgan did.
Update: Guy Benson e-mails me to explain the “un-American” reference from Morgan, which puzzled me.
FYI, the reason Piers Morgan brought up “un-American” is that a few seconds before that clip starts, DWS was calling Republicans un-American for asking tough questions about the Benghazi attack. She started the patriotism games…Morgan was just hoisting her by her own petard.
That makes it much more clear. And even better.