“Sloppiness”? Via Fausta, NBC’s David Gregory elicited the presidential understatement of the year in his big interview with Barack Obama on Meet the Press yesterday. Amazingly — or really, not — Gregory let it pass:
GREGORY: Let me ask you about a couple of foreign policy notes. After the attack in Benghazi, is there a need for more accountability so that this doesn’t happen again? And do you know who was behind the attack at this point?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Two points. Number one, I think that Tom Pickering and Mike Mullen who headed up the– the review board did a very thorough job in identifying what were some severe problems in diplomatic security. And they provided us with a series of recommendations. Many of them were already starting to be implemented. Secretary Clinton has indicated that she is going to implement all of them.
What I’ve– my message to the State Department has been very simple. And that is we’re going to solve this. We’re not going to be defensive about it. We’re not going to pretend that this was not a problem. This was a huge problem. And we’re going to implement every single recommendation that’s been put forward.
Some individuals have been held accountable inside of the State Department and what I’ve said is that we are going to fix this to make sure that this does not happen again, because these are folks that I send into the field. We understand that there are dangers involved but, you know, when you read the report and it confirms what we had already seen, you know, based on some of our internal reviews; there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies. So we’re doing a thorough-going review. Not only will we implement all the recommendations that were made, but we’ll try to do more than that. You know, with respect to who carried it out, that’s an ongoing investigation. The FBI has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly. We have some very good leads, but this is not something that, you know, I’m going to be at liberty to talk about right now.
Ahem. Obama conducted an unauthorized war against Moammar Qaddafi that decapitated the regime the previous year, which gave free reign to networks of Islamist terrorists in eastern Libya. That was no secret; in fact, it was pretty well known that those “militias” participated in the uprising we enabled. There had been a series of attacks on Western interests by these networks in 2012 before the September 11th attack that killed four Americans, including a few attempts on Americans before that. Despite all this data, State deliberately dismissed military security for the consulate and insisted it could rely on local militias for security.
And this is “just some sloppiness, not intentional”? Thank goodness Obama had to face a real journalist when giving that answer. The follow-up to that must have been blistering, no? Er … no:
GREGORY: In the politics, in the back and forth in this, do you feel like you let your friend Susan Rice hang out there to dry a little bit?
I’m sure he followed up on it after the Susan Rice question, right? Right? Er … no:
GREGORY: You have another series of cabinet choices to make. Former Senator Chuck Hagel has come under criticism for some comments he’s made including about a former ambassador nominee during the Clinton years that being gay was an inhibiting factor to being gay to do an effective job. Is there anything about Chuck Hagel’s record or statements that’s disqualifying to you should you nominate him to run the Defense Department?
Is David Gregory a real journalist? YMMV.
Update: Jennifer Rubin wasn’t impressed, either:
David Gregory’s Sunday interview with President Obama was typical of the softball, ineffective mainstream media encounters with the president we’ve been seeing. We can argue whether media personalities are bad at their job or intentionally inept, but the result is the same.